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ECPA Wire: Industry Issues

From My Chair by Cris Doornbos

Monday, November 01, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: ECPA
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From My Chair

Cris H. Doornbos - Chairman of the Board of ECPA
President and CEO, David C Cook

E-Link, November 2010



1983 was the 'Year of the Bible' as instituted by Ronald Reagan and it was my first year in what we know as Christian publishing. By 1986 the independent company I worked for was in the midst of a hostile takeover, until a New York publisher came to our 'rescue.' Suddenly, we were part of a global communications company. I remember the four things we were hoping to accomplish as part of this global communications entity. Yet years later, we were pleased to know that what we trusted God to accomplish, was in fact, accomplished by His grace.

In retrospect, it was good for our Christian publishing company and, I would suggest, good for Christian publishing. (Though it may be easy to be critical of that situation, and more difficult to be constructive about it.)

"As we all migrate from a Gutenberg to Google publishing model, we finally find our content more accessible to more people around the world, than in any other time in human history. (Really!) Yet most of us are struggling to monetize this migration. We can see global markets, but perhaps no profitability from them."

I have just returned from the Lausanne Conference on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, where their slogan was 'God is on the Move.' We studied Ephesians, and chapter 3 says: "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known."

As Christian publishers our chief aim can be seen in verse 12: "To equip his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach the unity of the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God." We see it, too, in Romans 12: "to be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

So, as Christian publishers, we are building the body by renewing the mind.

Then how does our ECPA trade association help us toward God's agenda for 'building the body' and 'renewing the minds' of people around the world?

Today we all face many new challenges and opportunities. I believe God is currently giving us the insight, understanding and wisdom that will lead us as the new generation of 'body builders.'

The ECPA Board of Directors is creating a set of goals that you, the membership, have the opportunity to shape. This is the time for all of us to be constructively critical, not just critical, of our present and future circumstances. "All brains on deck," as the Chairman of David C Cook likes to say.

These overarching goals were developed by the ECPA Board and its staff; and are now being shaped by the ECPA Executive Committee and staff. As a Board, we are revisiting these goals at the November CEO Symposium and empowering the staff to articulate and document the detail for consistent long- and short-term strategies. These strategies will then become part of the annual 2011 ECPA budget and strategic plan that will also direct the documentation of the three-year plan.

There are three overarching goals that the staff and Board have agreed are the most important:

  • NETWORKING: ECPA will create opportunities for our members to connect and engage with each other in meaningful ways utilizing a number of formats and venues.
  • INFORMATION: ECPA will provide a wide array of avenues to access expertise, data and information about publishing in general, our industry specifically, developing technologies, vendors, legal issues and global opportunities.
  • ADVOCACY: ECPA will serve as an advocate to encourage the awareness and distribution of Christian resources, preserve the rights and licenses of our member's content, and support legislation and industry standards that benefit our members.

The Board of ECPA believes these goals are core to our mission and consistent with the Associations' strategic direction and intent. The detailed goals, objectives, strategies and monitoring metrics will come from the CEO and his staff to the Board of Directors. The Board will monitor levels of accomplishment, and compensation will be tied to the achievement of these goals.

We really are all in the same boat moving through the same storm. As members of ECPA, I trust that you will invest some time to grab an ore and take a pull or two to get us and keep us on the course that provides the greatest value to you, with the best possible journey toward a more effective accomplishment of our respective missions as Christian organizations.

Please feel confident to contact Mark Kuyper, me, or any of the ECPA Board members to constructively help us build a better body to the glory of God!


Cris Doornbos is the President and CEO of David C Cook.  He assumed responsibilities in September 2005.  Before joining Cook, Mr. Doornbos invested 22 years of his career with Zondervan Christian Communications Company serving as an Executive Vice President for the past 10 years. 
Mr. Doornbos holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in Leadership and Organizational Development from Calvin College.  Mr. Doornbos and his wife, Trudy, have two adult children; their daughter recently graduated from his alma mater and their son attends the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.  Mr. Doornbos is an avid reader, enjoys movies, is a certified scuba diver and a serious slalom water skier.



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