Making Disciples As We Go With Christian Publishing's John Herring

Making Disciples As We Go With Christian Publishing's John Herring

John Herring is CEO of Iron Stream Media, whose mission is "Making Disciples As We Go." John shares how his company is doing just that through books for adults and children as well as Bible studies and other resources for churches. Host Chris Johnson interviews John about his passion for equipping believers to make disciples in their own lives.

17 Minutes • 13 days ago

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

With Chris Johnson

Guest: John Herring

John Herring is CEO of Iron Stream Media, whose mission is "Making Disciples as We Go." John shares how his company is doing just that through books for adults and children as well as Bible studies and other resources for churches.

Host Chris Johnson interviews John about his passion for equipping believers to make disciples in their own lives.

Introduction

Chris Johnson: This is Charisma Connection. I'm Chris Johnson. Today we have a guest in-studio from Iron Stream Media. Dr. John Herring is joining us as he happens to be in town here in Orlando, Florida. John Herring is president and CEO of Iron Stream Media, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama. John has been with Iron Stream Media for a couple of years and that's because it only recently started. He’s going to tell us the history. He's had leadership roles for about eight years in Christian publishing. He's been part of Nav press as well. Some people may know Nav press. He served as executive pastor at Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham. He's also a church consultant. He's also highly educated and has a doctorate in educational ministry. So, I imagine that comes in handy at work. Please share with us first of all, Iron Stream Media. Where does that name come from?

 

·         Tune in to the Iron Stream Podcast

 

John Herring: It comes from Proverbs 27:17, as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. It was really our desire in the name to describe who we wanted to be. We wanted to be disciple makers. So, our tagline is making disciples as we go. Our full purpose is we want to produce and provide Christian materials for churches and others, and make disciples as we go. So, we don't want to just give out product or be behind the scenes, we really want to be involved in that disciple making process, too, if we can.

 

Iron Stream Media Imprints

·         Iron Stream Books

·         Life Bible Study

·         New Hope Publishers

·         New Hope Kidz

·         Ascender Books

 

Chris Johnson: Well, that's excellent. Making disciples as you go. It's just such a simple phrase, but it's power-packed. Tell us a little bit about the history of your company and how you got involved in all this?

John Herring: It’s really a marriage of two companies. We started as a part of Student Life about 14 years ago. Student life started a curriculum for students called Student Life Bible Study. I came on board as a consultant to help them produce Life Bible Study, which is an online curriculum for adults. And that particular piece, the curriculum piece, was sold to Nav Press for a very short time. Then, a couple of gentlemen bought that piece away from Nav press when they sold their publishing rights to Tyndale. So, I've been with it since then. I was actually a part of it with Nav press and now I followed it. And now I'm in the leadership chair. And so, Life Bible Study is a curriculum that we offer direct to churches, and other ministries, and missionaries use it around the world because it's housed online and you can actually craft lessons based on the lifestyle or the learning style of the individuals in their life stage. So, it's a cool way to do Bible studies.

Chris Johnson: Sounds like it's very tailor made for the person.

John Herring: It can be. So, it's really designed for the teacher so the teacher can craft lessons specifically for the class, the age group, the demographic of the group that they're teaching. So, there's a lot of bells and whistles in there that sounds really complicated. But ultimately, you can click a couple of buttons and produce a lesson that's just what you need for your class. The other side of the company was New Hope Publishers. New Hope has 25 years of publishing. Two years ago, the women's missionary union who owned New Hope asked if we were interested in acquiring them and adding them to Life Bible study. When we did, we knew we had to come up with a new name. So just to complicate everything one more time, we started Iron Stream Media. So, it's really the marriage of New Hope Publishers, which was a trade book company and Iron Stream Media, which is a direct to church company. We put the two together and now we're just seeing God do some incredible things.

Chris Johnson: New Hope Publishers is your flagship imprint, right?

John Herring: That's correct. It’s the flagship because it's the oldest and was the first. We've not given up on New Hope in any way. We're continuing to add new titles in New Hope, but its primary focus in the past has been women's studies, missional studies. We've had a few men's offerings, but we felt like we needed to add some imprints that would give us some weight in some other areas. We started Iron Stream Books as another imprint for Iron Stream Media so that we could do some leadership books. Some nonfiction, leadership-type books, men studies, things like that. That’s why Iron Stream Books was started. We've started a new line for kids called New Hope Kidz. We've never had a kids or children's book before. So, our first children's book comes out this fall. It's called Rivers Overseas. It’s about Rivers the dog, and how Rivers was adopted by his father. So, there are a lot of parallels to our Heavenly Father in that particular book.

Chris Johnson: That sounds fun. So, what is the age group for the children's books? Who are you addressing there?

John Herring: Primarily preteen, five to 11.

Chris Johnson: Very good. So, have we covered all the imprints?

John Herring: There's one more called Ascender. Ascender Books is for our grace-inspired churches, for those spirit filled churches. It's giving us a voice that we haven't had in the past for some writers who wanted to be a part of who we are, but they didn't quite fit the other imprints. This gives us a real clear and direct way to share with those churches and people that are in that in that grace-inspired, spirit-filled church world.

Chris Johnson: Excellent. So, you are covering the body of Christ, it sounds like. Could you give us an example of some of the exciting projects that your divisions are working on?

John Herring: We just launched a new book last week by Mary Tutterow. She's has written a book called The Heart of the Caregiver. In this book, she talks about the role of the caregiver in the family. Mery herself as a caregiver. She takes care of her daughter who is at home with her and has special needs, obviously, and can't be transported. So, Mary knows what it's like to live the life of a caregiver and has started a ministry from her home, sharing with others who are in that similar situation. And today, so many folks want to stay home, as opposed to going to a nursing facility. They want to stay home as much as possible. So, it's added an extra level of burden to folks who've never had to care for others the way we're having to now because more folks are staying home are choosing that as their as their option. You have spouses or parents who are staying and caring for their loved ones. This book really speaks to the heart of those individuals. They need some encouragement. They need someone to that understands the stresses of what that means. And so, The Heart of the Caregiver addresses that. It just released last week.

Chris Johnson: That's an important book. Any other exciting projects?

John Herring: We've got Soul Hunger, which comes out next week. That's by Dr. Otis Ledbetter. He's a pastor in California. Soul Hunger is really for that person who doesn't understand that longing in their spirit. What is that hole in my spirit? What is that God-shaped vacuum that needs to be filled and how does that get filled? Otis’ book launches next Monday. Then, Tina Yeager has done one, Beautiful Warrior. It's a women's Bible study. Tina is a counselor and she is just an incredible woman. She has a huge online following with YouTube videos where you can go and actually go through the study with her online. That's another important one. And there are a host of others that we're working on behind the scenes right now.

Chris Johnson: How many titles for each imprint are you projecting?

John Herring: At this point, we haven't put a target goal per imprint, but we do about 30 titles a year. That's who we are, about 30 titles a year, in addition to the Bible studies that we're producing for Life Bible Study on the other side.

Chris Johnson: Here's a broad question. How does your company measure success if you're making disciples as you go?

John Herring: Well, it’s letters that we receive that we read in staff meetings of those who've been touched by some of the work of our authors, and getting to share just the joy of someone who received one of our evangelism Bibles in prison last week. He's just so overjoyed that he received a Bible, that's just incredible. Or, we hear of how churches are being changed through one of our discipleship programs and how pastors are getting handles on how to walk new believers into this walk of faith with Christ and understanding the disciplines of discipleship. That's what gives us the most joy. Margins are thin in publishing these days, and anyone who is listening to this podcast or reads the magazine knows that. But if you can't find joy in the ministry that God has given us, then you're in the wrong business anyway.

Chris Johnson: So, some of your products are online, and some of them, I'm sure, in Christian retail stores. Now, the Christian retail industry and the publishing industry has been going through some seed change lately. Would you like to talk about that and its future? What do you think? Which direction are we headed?

John Herring: I think millennials and Gen X and Gen Y, they're all searching. We all have the same search. Trends and statistics are telling us now that we're not reading less, we're actually reading more. It's just how they consume what we offer them. I don't even like to say we're repackaging because that sounds like you're trying to manipulate their thoughts or you are trying to coerce the reader to come to you. I'd rather say we want to give them what they're looking for in a way that they receive it automatically. So, there's this trend toward those as opposed to being religious. They say they're spiritual. We know what being spiritual means. So, why can't we give them the spirit that they're looking for? Directly accessing their deepest need … if they're seeking to be spiritual, and we know who the Holy Spirit is, why don't we just give them what they're looking for? So, give it directly and don't try to package it in some way that can be confusing or give them a false idea of who God is. Go directly to, here's who the Holy Spirit is. Here's how God wants to respond to you. He loves you. And He has this incredible life plan for you if you'll just receive it.

 

Connect with Iron Stream Media

·         At ironstreammedia.com

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

With Chris Johnson

Guest: John Herring

John Herring is CEO of Iron Stream Media, whose mission is "Making Disciples as We Go." John shares how his company is doing just that through books for adults and children as well as Bible studies and other resources for churches.

Host Chris Johnson interviews John about his passion for equipping believers to make disciples in their own lives.

Introduction

Chris Johnson: This is Charisma Connection. I'm Chris Johnson. Today we have a guest in-studio from Iron Stream Media. Dr. John Herring is joining us as he happens to be in town here in Orlando, Florida. John Herring is president and CEO of Iron Stream Media, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama. John has been with Iron Stream Media for a couple of years and that's because it only recently started. He’s going to tell us the history. He's had leadership roles for about eight years in Christian publishing. He's been part of Nav press as well. Some people may know Nav press. He served as executive pastor at Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham. He's also a church consultant. He's also highly educated and has a doctorate in educational ministry. So, I imagine that comes in handy at work. Please share with us first of all, Iron Stream Media. Where does that name come from?

 

·         Tune in to the Iron Stream Podcast

 

John Herring: It comes from Proverbs 27:17, as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. It was really our desire in the name to describe who we wanted to be. We wanted to be disciple makers. So, our tagline is making disciples as we go. Our full purpose is we want to produce and provide Christian materials for churches and others, and make disciples as we go. So, we don't want to just give out product or be behind the scenes, we really want to be involved in that disciple making process, too, if we can.

 

Iron Stream Media Imprints

·         Iron Stream Books

·         Life Bible Study

·         New Hope Publishers

·         New Hope Kidz

·         Ascender Books

 

Chris Johnson: Well, that's excellent. Making disciples as you go. It's just such a simple phrase, but it's power-packed. Tell us a little bit about the history of your company and how you got involved in all this?

John Herring: It’s really a marriage of two companies. We started as a part of Student Life about 14 years ago. Student life started a curriculum for students called Student Life Bible Study. I came on board as a consultant to help them produce Life Bible Study, which is an online curriculum for adults. And that particular piece, the curriculum piece, was sold to Nav Press for a very short time. Then, a couple of gentlemen bought that piece away from Nav press when they sold their publishing rights to Tyndale. So, I've been with it since then. I was actually a part of it with Nav press and now I followed it. And now I'm in the leadership chair. And so, Life Bible Study is a curriculum that we offer direct to churches, and other ministries, and missionaries use it around the world because it's housed online and you can actually craft lessons based on the lifestyle or the learning style of the individuals in their life stage. So, it's a cool way to do Bible studies.

Chris Johnson: Sounds like it's very tailor made for the person.

John Herring: It can be. So, it's really designed for the teacher so the teacher can craft lessons specifically for the class, the age group, the demographic of the group that they're teaching. So, there's a lot of bells and whistles in there that sounds really complicated. But ultimately, you can click a couple of buttons and produce a lesson that's just what you need for your class. The other side of the company was New Hope Publishers. New Hope has 25 years of publishing. Two years ago, the women's missionary union who owned New Hope asked if we were interested in acquiring them and adding them to Life Bible study. When we did, we knew we had to come up with a new name. So just to complicate everything one more time, we started Iron Stream Media. So, it's really the marriage of New Hope Publishers, which was a trade book company and Iron Stream Media, which is a direct to church company. We put the two together and now we're just seeing God do some incredible things.

Chris Johnson: New Hope Publishers is your flagship imprint, right?

John Herring: That's correct. It’s the flagship because it's the oldest and was the first. We've not given up on New Hope in any way. We're continuing to add new titles in New Hope, but its primary focus in the past has been women's studies, missional studies. We've had a few men's offerings, but we felt like we needed to add some imprints that would give us some weight in some other areas. We started Iron Stream Books as another imprint for Iron Stream Media so that we could do some leadership books. Some nonfiction, leadership-type books, men studies, things like that. That’s why Iron Stream Books was started. We've started a new line for kids called New Hope Kidz. We've never had a kids or children's book before. So, our first children's book comes out this fall. It's called Rivers Overseas. It’s about Rivers the dog, and how Rivers was adopted by his father. So, there are a lot of parallels to our Heavenly Father in that particular book.

Chris Johnson: That sounds fun. So, what is the age group for the children's books? Who are you addressing there?

John Herring: Primarily preteen, five to 11.

Chris Johnson: Very good. So, have we covered all the imprints?

John Herring: There's one more called Ascender. Ascender Books is for our grace-inspired churches, for those spirit filled churches. It's giving us a voice that we haven't had in the past for some writers who wanted to be a part of who we are, but they didn't quite fit the other imprints. This gives us a real clear and direct way to share with those churches and people that are in that in that grace-inspired, spirit-filled church world.

Chris Johnson: Excellent. So, you are covering the body of Christ, it sounds like. Could you give us an example of some of the exciting projects that your divisions are working on?

John Herring: We just launched a new book last week by Mary Tutterow. She's has written a book called The Heart of the Caregiver. In this book, she talks about the role of the caregiver in the family. Mery herself as a caregiver. She takes care of her daughter who is at home with her and has special needs, obviously, and can't be transported. So, Mary knows what it's like to live the life of a caregiver and has started a ministry from her home, sharing with others who are in that similar situation. And today, so many folks want to stay home, as opposed to going to a nursing facility. They want to stay home as much as possible. So, it's added an extra level of burden to folks who've never had to care for others the way we're having to now because more folks are staying home are choosing that as their as their option. You have spouses or parents who are staying and caring for their loved ones. This book really speaks to the heart of those individuals. They need some encouragement. They need someone to that understands the stresses of what that means. And so, The Heart of the Caregiver addresses that. It just released last week.

Chris Johnson: That's an important book. Any other exciting projects?

John Herring: We've got Soul Hunger, which comes out next week. That's by Dr. Otis Ledbetter. He's a pastor in California. Soul Hunger is really for that person who doesn't understand that longing in their spirit. What is that hole in my spirit? What is that God-shaped vacuum that needs to be filled and how does that get filled? Otis’ book launches next Monday. Then, Tina Yeager has done one, Beautiful Warrior. It's a women's Bible study. Tina is a counselor and she is just an incredible woman. She has a huge online following with YouTube videos where you can go and actually go through the study with her online. That's another important one. And there are a host of others that we're working on behind the scenes right now.

Chris Johnson: How many titles for each imprint are you projecting?

John Herring: At this point, we haven't put a target goal per imprint, but we do about 30 titles a year. That's who we are, about 30 titles a year, in addition to the Bible studies that we're producing for Life Bible Study on the other side.

Chris Johnson: Here's a broad question. How does your company measure success if you're making disciples as you go?

John Herring: Well, it’s letters that we receive that we read in staff meetings of those who've been touched by some of the work of our authors, and getting to share just the joy of someone who received one of our evangelism Bibles in prison last week. He's just so overjoyed that he received a Bible, that's just incredible. Or, we hear of how churches are being changed through one of our discipleship programs and how pastors are getting handles on how to walk new believers into this walk of faith with Christ and understanding the disciplines of discipleship. That's what gives us the most joy. Margins are thin in publishing these days, and anyone who is listening to this podcast or reads the magazine knows that. But if you can't find joy in the ministry that God has given us, then you're in the wrong business anyway.

Chris Johnson: So, some of your products are online, and some of them, I'm sure, in Christian retail stores. Now, the Christian retail industry and the publishing industry has been going through some seed change lately. Would you like to talk about that and its future? What do you think? Which direction are we headed?

John Herring: I think millennials and Gen X and Gen Y, they're all searching. We all have the same search. Trends and statistics are telling us now that we're not reading less, we're actually reading more. It's just how they consume what we offer them. I don't even like to say we're repackaging because that sounds like you're trying to manipulate their thoughts or you are trying to coerce the reader to come to you. I'd rather say we want to give them what they're looking for in a way that they receive it automatically. So, there's this trend toward those as opposed to being religious. They say they're spiritual. We know what being spiritual means. So, why can't we give them the spirit that they're looking for? Directly accessing their deepest need … if they're seeking to be spiritual, and we know who the Holy Spirit is, why don't we just give them what they're looking for? So, give it directly and don't try to package it in some way that can be confusing or give them a false idea of who God is. Go directly to, here's who the Holy Spirit is. Here's how God wants to respond to you. He loves you. And He has this incredible life plan for you if you'll just receive it.

 

Connect with Iron Stream Media

·         At ironstreammedia.com

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

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Making Disciples As We Go With Christian Publishing's John Herring