2019 celebrates the 10th year of the young writer ministry with 250 young people having been young writers or continue as young writers.
Press Service International in conjunction with Christian Today developed the young writer program way back in 2009 recognising that the emphasis on ‘young people’ meant a transitory of young writers.
Over these 10 years there have been numerous young people who have written for anything from 1-2 years, or 3-4 years, or more, and at some time moved on.
Some returned to the program filling various roles such as Week Editors, Week Coordinators, Panellists and the like.
I had been writing Christian articles for various Christian media over many years as I wrote “field hockey” for The Australian newspaper for 24 years including Olympics, World Cups and Champions Trophies. Ramon Williams played a part in this as he regularly distributed my Christian articles to Christian media around the world.
In 2008 the then editor of Christian Today Szeleng Chan rang me requesting I write a daily article for the on-line Christian Today. Szeleng Chan explained the nature of who Christian Today was and its Australian edition connection. The Christian Today network came out of London with the Christian Today UK on-line publication.
I was pleased to do this as it gave my Christian articles a base publication and other Christian publications could republish them.
In 2009 David Chang in Sydney became the new editor of Christian Today Australia and we arranged to meet at the Rydges in North Sydney where I was visiting my eldest daughter and her husband who lived in that suburb.
David Chang asked, at that afternoon tea, knowing of my sports background as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years and then Life After Cricket and founding the sport chaplaincy ministry way back in 1982, would I write a second daily article, this one on sport.
The idea was to provide Christian Today readers a legitimate sport article to broaden the appeal to readers and when I considered the work load involved, upon discussing this, I suggested 5 young people could write the sport articles, one young person per day and I had numerous such connections.
The first 5 sport writers
Almost immediately I found 5 young people to write these sport articles. I already had a substantial network. The five were –
Jeremy Dover - Melbourne
Rosie Timmins - Melbourne
Josh Hinds - Gold Coast
Wes Tronson - England
Clayton Hinds - Gold Coast
In June 2010 we held a day conference on the Gold Coast with these sport writers and David Chang discussing various aspects of writing Sport for Christian Today - which they loved doing.
The question came up whether they were supposed to be pseudo theologians in their sport articles. David Chang sent that question to London and the answer came back, no, they are writing sport. We need our readers to feel that they are not being ripped- off when opening a sport article, expecting to read a sport article and then finding they were duped into reading a theological piece.
When Clayton Hinds moved on Adam Schoenmaker of Brisbane wrote sport for four years and later Rosie Timmins too moved after five years – but the others have stayed writing sport – Jeremy, Wes and Josh. Today, the other two sport writers are David Goodwin of Melbourne (4 years) and Phil Hall of Melbourne (three years).
Meanwhile by 2010 Jeremy Dover from Melbourne was keen to write more than sport and this initiated our expansion into Comment writing. Today there are 105 young people writing for Christian Today in a quite massive increase with an army of volunteers in back-ground roles.
In 2012 New Zealand young people were incorporated as had international young people and in 2013 Mr Basil Sellers AM sponsored annual awards and this necessitated Panellists to mark the articles.
As a member of ARPA (Australasian Religious Press Association) I initiated right from the start the daily PSI email to Christian media inviting them to republish the young writer articles so as to gain ‘by-line’ recognition for the young people. Today, the Christian Times, China (Chinese language version) is republishing a growing number of our young writers, which takes 1-2 weeks to convert into Chinese for each article.
This has been an amazing story - 10 years of the young writer ministry. I celebrate David Chang and together our input into this astonishing ministry.
Young people interested in becoming a young writer with their own international column please connect with Dr Mark Tronson email@example.com 0419 917 713
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html