1) Come prepared.
We don’t enjoy spoon-feeding article topics to potential writers. Trust us, we get plenty of requests to help out Aunt Suzie’s brother-in-law who’s “got some things that must be said to church leaders but just needs a little direction.” (And yes, those are the ones that go straight to our “Deleted E-mails” folder.)
So how can you avoid this? If you haven’t written your article yet, make sure you’ve thought through every angle of it—your main points, the article’s takeaway value, its sources, your conclusion, etc. In most cases, the more specific your topic, the better. For instance, although an article on five ways to grow your ministry sounds good, a piece on five ways to grow your ministry to non-English speakers sounds even better.
2) Know our stuff.
It’s obvious when writers have done their research and know the kinds of articles Ministry Today is looking for. That heartfelt story that ran in your church bulletin honoring Bro. Jimmy and his 30 years of ministry service? Sounds touching—but it probably won’t work for Ministry Today. Save yourself some time and do a little homework on what fits our format. (For instance, we don’t publish sermons, poetry or fiction.)
Departments: More than 80 percent of the articles we accept end up as department pieces. These are the “nuts and bolts” of our magazine and run no longer than 700 words. If you’re wondering exactly what department topics we cover, spend some time browsing around this Web site. Better yet, grab a copy of our most current print issue at your local bookstore to get an overall feel for Ministry Today. Both our print and online departments are divided into four major areas—Ministry Life, Ministry Leadership, Ministry Outreach and Ministry Facilities. Each of these pillars contains an ever-growing catalog of topics. If your idea doesn’t exactly fit into one, that doesn’t mean it won’t work; it just means you may have to sell your idea a bit more than usual.
Features: A small percentage of freelance writers come up with such great article ideas that we give them more editorial space to develop their ideas. These are feature stories that are lengthier (2,500 words or fewer), more in-depth (they almost always include interviews and research) and run the gamut on subject matter—anything from ministry trend analysis to a pastor profile to a more in-depth “how-to” article. If you’d like to write a feature story for us, you’ll first have to prove your writing ability. Along with your article pitch (which we’ll discuss next), send us some writing samples of your published work.
Our Readers: The majority of our readers are senior pastors, but almost all of our other readers serve their churches in other pastoral roles—from youth ministers to finance directors to administrative pastors. Our goal is to help both Christian leaders and those with a desire to become such. Although the magazine has historically served a largely charismatic/Pentecostal readership, through the years it has expanded to engage a broader readership within the evangelical Christian community.
3) Pitch it.
Once you’ve thought through your article idea and are convinced we’ll be fawning over it (think: Ralphie’s classroom daydream in The Christmas Story), it’s time to make a pitch. If you haven’t written your article, send us a standard query—complete with an outline of your piece, approximate word count and possible sources. If you’ve already written the entire article, you’re welcome to submit it to us at one of the addresses below. (Keep in mind, if it’s a 7,000 word thesis, we probably won’t read it—this is a magazine.) Either way, here’s a major tip that will automatically improve your chances: Keep it short. The longer your pitch, the more opportunity we have to catch up on some valuable sleep as our eyes start to gloss over your words. (Not that we’d do that or anything. We’re just saying …)
Mail articles or queries to …
Mail: Editor, Ministry Today, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746
4) Wait. Then wait some more.
The editors of Ministry Today wear a lot of hats—which means as much as we’d like to respond to every email or letter, unfortunately we don’t have the time or the ability to clone ourselves. So if you don’t hear back from us within a couple weeks, it probably means your idea wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. That’s not the end of it—you’re welcome to submit as many article ideas as you want. Just keep in mind that we’re not obligated to respond to unsolicited queries, articles or entire manuscripts.
If, on the other hand, we really liked your idea, we’ll be in touch and start the process of ironing out the details—payment, exact word count, changes to the article, etc. Ministry Today magazine buys all rights, so if that’s a problem, we’ll need to know that early in the discussion.
Good luck, and we hope to work with you in the future!