Features

Goodbye YS, Hello Peer

Peer is Here—the New Magazine for 16 to 22 Year-olds!

After much prayer, research, planning, conceptualizing, designing and collaborating since the release of the last issue of Young Salvationist, the brand new magazine for 16 to 22 year-olds has launched this month. Peer is here!

A Long Tradition

In unveiling Peer, The Salvation Army continues its long tradition of bringing youth to Christ. That tradition began in Blyth, England, in 1880. One evening, as crowds crammed through the doors of a Wesleyan chapel, a little girl gazed helplessly—there was no room for her. Captain John Roberts’ heart was moved as he came over to reassure her that there would be a special meeting for her and her friends the following Friday. July 30, 1880, marked the beginning of children’s ministry in The Salvation Army. As a result of that meeting, the War Cry received many stories of the lives of children being transformed—enough stories to fill their pages. That’s what led General Booth to create a children’s paper, and Captain John Roberts was to be the editor. 

In the decades since, The Salvation Army’s efforts to ignite faith in the hearts of young people has evolved. In 1895, the weekly Young Soldier newspaper carried stories that brought American children closer to Christ. Young Salvationist became a teen/young adult insert within Young Soldier in 1984. Seven years later, the Army published the first full copy of the Young Salvationist magazine. 

New Magazine for a New Audience

While we feel blessed to know that YS has been widely read by young audiences for three decades, we recognize that in these rapidly changing and uncertain times, an update and upgrade is desperately needed. Currently, the percentage of teens that identify as “atheist” is double that of the general population. A new type of publication is needed if we are to reach readers between the ages of 16 and 22—members of “Generation Z.” From this realization came Peer.

Everything about Peer is fresh and new, including our circulation strategy. Our aim is to reach young Salvationists while remaining relevant to young people outside of our church buildings. Peer in this context refers to an equal or a dependable companion during the journey through high school and college. 

Our mission will be unwavering: “To ignite a faith conversation that will deepen Biblical perspective, faith and holy living.” Our tagline is simple: “Faith. Community. Culture.” We have put faith first for a reason. Everything printed on Peer’s pages will be written through the lens of Christianity and Salvationist doctrine. We invite readers to join the Peer community by highlighting the amazing accomplishments of Generation Z’ers in Salvation Army communities across the nation. Furthermore, we will strive to make our readers aware of everything going on in the culture of the Christian Generation Z’er.

New Content

In our efforts to attract both those youth who are part of our church and those who are not, we have developed exciting new content for Peer.

In Remix, Sarah Micula of the Central Territory provides readers with unisex fashion and decorating tips from Salvation Army Thrift Store finds. Remix features colorful images of thrift store items along with a link that will allow each reader to learn more about the mission of our Thrift Stores. Monthly videos filmed at Thrift Stores will feature additional tips.

Wise Up brings to life the stories of trailblazers from Church history and our Salvationist history. Captain David Kelly of the Eastern Territory will be introducing our young readers to a variety of fascinating figures, including: W.T. Stead, Frederick Booth, General Albert Orsborn, Charles Wesley, Athanasius, Colonel James Barker and more! Each article will encourage readers to ask, “What can we learn from their lives?”

Peer Editor, Captain Pamela Maynor, will ask 10 Questions to some of Generation Z’s favorite actors and musicians. January’s issue features an interview with Mike Manning, who appears in God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

Profile will provide readers with inspirational stories about their “peers” across the nation. We start off by introducing readers to Morgan Hulteen, a soldier of the Montclair, NJ Corps who won two gold medals for gymnastics at the 2018 Special Olympics. 

Panorama provides a “panoramic view” of what’s happening among young people in Salvation Army corps across the country. The first destination is Pasadena, CA, where The Salvation Army marches in the Tournament of Roses Parade for the 100th consecutive year! The January edition also includes a special message from General Brian Peddle.

We encourage our young readers to submit a question relating to faith, community or culture. Each month, three of their questions will be answered by officers from around the world in a magazine department entitled, Ask an Officer. Readers will be directed online to discover what it means to be an officer.

The ongoing Zeitgeist section features reviews of video games, movies, music and podcasts by contributors Chris Clark, Micah Trimmer and Devonte Lawson.

Bringing Thousands into the Light

In his diary entry on January 17, 1881, Captain Roberts could not hold back his optimism. Having written the first article for The Little Soldier, he wrote, “God give me wisdom, and may The Little Soldier bring thousands into the light.” Times have certainly changed 137 years later, but we hold that same hope in our hearts. We are confident that Peer will spark in the hearts of a new generation a love of Christ and a desire to help others in His name.  

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