It’s WORLDkids’ 40th birthday!

It’s WORLDkids’ 40th birthday!

Joel Belz helped start It’s God’s World magazine. This picture of him was taken sometime in the 1980s. (GWN Archive)

Joel Belz helped start It’s God’s World magazine. This picture of him was taken sometime in the 1980s. (GWN Archive)

Norm Bomer and his wife Carol presented the magazine at a conference in 1983. (GWN Archive)

Norm Bomer and his wife Carol presented the magazine at a conference in 1983. (GWN Archive)

These are some of the very first It’s God’s World magazines. (GWN Archive)

These are some of the very first It’s God’s World magazines. (GWN Archive)

These are some of the most recent God’s World News magazines. The design may have changed over the years, but the mission is the same: to help young people see God at work in the world. (GWN Archive)

These are some of the most recent God’s World News magazines. The design may have changed over the years, but the mission is the same: to help young people see God at work in the world. (GWN Archive)

Happy Birthday, WORLDkids!

Posted: September 1, 2021

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Hear the printer sounds? Smell the ink? See the pages rolling off the presses? Behold! WORLDkids magazine is born!

But it isn’t called WORLDkids yet. Not by a long shot. It’s called It’s God’s World (IGW). It’s printed in two colors and has only eight pages. Read through and you’ll see . . .

  • stories about workers’ strikes
  • decisions made by then-President Ronald Reagan
  • news of the newest Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor.

Wow! That’s old news! And it should be. It’s God’s World premiered 40 years ago in 1981. That was six U.S. presidents ago!

So . . . how did it all get started?

Two men named Joel Belz and Norm Bomer had some very big ideas. Christian journalists love God and love people, they thought. They want to help people understand and appreciate truth. Christian journalists want readers to see God at work in His world.

Mr. Belz had publishing experience. Mr. Bomer was a teacher. They decided to publish a weekly newspaper for young people. The paper would report on news. But “the important purpose,” says Mr. Bomer, “was to teach Christian worldview” to the glory of God.

Mr. Bomer was IGW’s first writer and editor. He was known for his quick wit, ready laugh, and eagle eye. (This means he was good at catching mistakes in writing.) He would continue as editor for 30 years. Mr. Bomer wrote every article in the first issue of IGW—and he used a typewriter! The internet wouldn’t come along for another year and a half. Someone re-entered Mr. Bomer’s words into a computer, and then put the information on a floppy disk. (What’s that? Ask you parents if they remember.) The disk traveled by snail mail to a printing company. Meanwhile, Mr. Belz encouraged people to pray and give money to the brand-new newspaper.

Each story reported the facts. Each also included biblical worldview. Some stories had editorials alongside. Those are opinion pieces. They helped readers grasp how to think about the news—not just to know what the news was about. The first issue also included a recipe for egg-in-a-hole, a word search, and a Bible reading schedule.

Readers liked the paper. Why? It explained complex topics in a way kids could understand. It also revealed to readers the God behind the facts of the news.

Soon adults began asking, “Why don’t you publish a magazine for us?”

Mr. Belz and Mr. Bomer listened. Five years later, WORLD Magazine was born. But that’s a story for another day.

The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. — Psalm 24:1