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Writers Guidelines

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How to write for Outreach magazine

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Outreach magazine is the gathering place of ideas, insights and stories for Christian churches focused on reaching out to their community—locally and globally—with the love of Christ. Our primary readers are senior pastors and church leadership, as well as laity who are passionate about outreach. Outreach magazine is published bi-monthly by leading church communications company Outreach Inc. For more information or to request a sample issue » .

 

Who writes for Outreach?

Freelance writers must be experienced professionals who understand the magazine’s mission and editorial philosophy. While most articles are assigned, we do accept queries and manuscripts on spec. Please don’t query us until you’ve studied at least one issue of Outreach.

 

Outreach magazine is always on the lookout for ideas and stories, as well as experienced writers and interviewers. The magazine is divided into sections that convey diverse tones (inspirational, practical, academic, etc.). Below is a rundown of several section and the kinds of stories we’re looking for in these sections.

 

Features

Average word count: 1,500-2,500 words

Outreach magazine’s features run the gamut from profiles to trend pieces to practical how-to pieces. All of our features answer the question: “What does this mean for me and my local church, and the Church at large?” In large features, this question is answered through the collective use of stories, ideas, statistics and interviews with experts. Since stories inspire people to action, we rely heavily on storytelling and anecdotes. Most features in Outreach magazine require numerous interview sources. Be prepared to do several interviews to tell all sides of the story—from the pastor to the volunteer to the person(s) helped by the church.

 

Some past feature subjects: church growth in America; community transformation; the Hispanic Church; how churches are engaging culture through the arts; small group ministry; church planting; the Church’s response to the global AIDS pandemic, etc.

 

 

 

Pulse

Average word count: 200-350 words

This is the “grazing” section at the front of the magazine. The stories in Pulse are designed to help readers keep their “pulse” on what’s happening in the Church—from a story about a 50-member church feeding hungry children in its community to a parachurch organization that travels to college campuses, educating students about the dangers of pornography. We’re looking for “tight and bright” writing that tells an inspiring story and communicates a wealth of information in an extremely concise format. The tone is practical and inspirational. We are always on the lookout for Pulse stories.

 

Ideas

Average word count: 300 words

This section is very practical and offers innovative, transferable ideas and how-to’s that all churches can implement. In this section, we give readers step-by-step instructions for organizing and executing an outreach event or idea.

 

Examples: church initiates a gas buy-down that offers gas at a lower price to motorists; an after-school tutoring program and job care center at a church; a Thanksgiving dinner for internationals.

 

Soulfires

Average word count: 600 words

This article is an as-told-to interview/profile with someone who is passionate about reaching others for Christ. Through the telling of heartfelt and inspiring stories, this first-person article answers two primary questions: What birthed your passion for outreach? What continues to fuel that passion in you? This article should show readers where someone was before he/she began to develop a passion or calling for evangelism; explain how he/she was awakened to the need to be personally involved in sharing his or her faith in Christ; describe the process (stories of struggles, challenging adjustments, victories) of transformation; and explain what he/she is doing now to reach people for Christ. We’re looking for well-known personalities.

 

 

WRITING STYLE

Whether your article is a 200-word Pulse piece or a 2,500-word cover story, please follow these interviewing and writing guidelines:

 

Interview thoroughly

For “as told to” stories, tape a thorough interview with your subject. During the conversation, probe for details that will add life and color to your story. Please do not do interviews by e-mail.

 

Show, don’t tell

It’s all about the story. Appeal to the five senses through strong descriptive writing that offers examples, anecdotes and specific stories.

 

Focus on the best scenes

Don’t try to tell it all. Pick scenes that are relevant and develop those to the fullest.

 

Verb usage

Pay attention to your verb usage. Use active verbs and refrain from repeatedly using being verbs (are, there are, am, is). Refrain from starting sentences with “There are… .”

 

Active voice

Stay away from using the passive voice in your sentences (Instead of “The story was presented”—“The pastor presented the story”).

 

Quote usage

Do not write with running quotes. A quote should be short and colorful, and should not include information you could paraphrase or convey in some other way.

 

Submissions

All articles must be outreach-related. If your query or manuscript is seasonal or event-related, keep in mind we work on a six-month lead time. With any submission, please submit published writing samples. Submissions without previously published writing samples will not be considered. Allow eight weeks for a response to any submissions.

 

Manuscript queries

Include in your submission a query letter explaining the article idea, who you plan to interview; how it will be organized; and what readers will learn or take away from the article; resumé; published clips (feature articles with at least three outside sources interviewed and quoted) and if mailing it, an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).

  

Unsolicited manuscript

Include a cover letter explaining the article and what readers will learn or take away from the article; typed manuscript; resumé; published writing samples and if mailing it, an SASE. If the manuscript has been published previously, tell us when and where it appeared.

 

Writing queries

If you’re interested in writing on assignment, submit a cover letter; published writing samples; resumé; and a list of topics you specialize in or are interested in covering. We keep these on file and do not respond to all writing queries or return writing samples.

 

Mail submissions to Story Ideas, Outreach Magazine, 5550 Tech Center Dr., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80919. Email submissions to TellUs@OutreachMagazine.com. No phone calls, please.

 

 

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