Yes, this is the final edition of The Southeast Outlook.
We’d like to thank everyone who has made The Outlook possible these last 26 years.
The Outlook wouldn’t have existed without the support of Southeast Christian Church, advertisers, financial contributors, volunteers, a dedicated staff and—most importantly—tens of thousands of readers and those who shared their stories.
The Outlook has always been a rarity as the largest weekly Christian newspaper in the country. To be honest, a Christian newspaper thriving in the age of technology never quite made sense to me. But it made sense to God, and I believe He blessed this endeavor.
As editor of The Southeast Outlook, I always feel a sense of relief when I send another edition of The Outlook off to the printer at 2 p.m. each Tuesday. Even after 10 years and more than 500 papers, I still get a little nervous when I hit the send button—hoping I didn’t miss a glaring error (and I have!) and praying the stories connect with our readers and connect them to Jesus.
This one feels a little different. It’s the end of an era dating back to 1995.
The Outlook has been a huge part of my life this last decade. I’ve worked through the birth of my four children, through sleepless nights with a sick newborn, through breaking news like the Henryville tornado (and this week the Mayfield tornado) and through a pandemic.
But I would be wrong to say that I worked through all of these things, because it has been a pleasure to serve at The Outlook knowing that what we print makes a difference in our readers’ lives. I think every member of our eight-person staff and our team of 30-plus volunteers would agree.
Earlier this year, Southeast Christian Church’s elders made the decision to end production of The Outlook and to launch a bimonthly (six times per year) magazine that will be available on racks in businesses and organizations throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana beginning in January. The new magazine will continue to share stories of lives changed by Christ because we know how important stories are. They have the power to shape who we are.
Last year, I got a letter from a man who picked up a copy of The Outlook at Chick-fil-A. He was struggling with a chemical addiction, but a brief article in the paper encouraged him to attend an addiction recovery group at Southeast. He’s been clean since then.
That’s one story of who knows how many. But we don’t take any credit for how God has used a little bit of ink on a bunch of paper. It’s all Him.
I know not getting a weekly Outlook might be disappointing to you, but the elders have prayed over this decision and believe it’s best for the church moving forward.
I’m writing this column just a day before The Outlook flies off the press for the last time, so I need to wrap up because there’s still work to be done. But I wanted to leave you with one final thought.
There’s a scene in the movie “Field of Dreams” where the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson finishes playing a baseball game and asks Kevin Costner, “Is this heaven?”
“No … it’s Iowa,” he replies.
My first week working at The Outlook in 2011, I had the same thought: “Is this heaven?”
The answer: “No … it’s a newspaper.”
But to me, The Outlook always will be a little piece of heaven—a piece of heaven stuffed in mailboxes and stacked on racks in cities near and far.