Forty years ago the editorial department at IVP consisted of Jim Sire and me with Linda Doll working half time. We put out about twenty-four books a year. Today the editorial department consists of seventeen people and we do about a hundred and ten books a year.
Forty years ago IVP had not published any LifeGuides and had not originated any major reference books. There was no IVP Academic and no Formatio. Since then we’ve sold 15 million LifeGuides, have produced over a dozen dictionaries and other major reference works as well as four commentary series, over a hundred Formatio titles and have a robust academic imprint.
Forty years ago IVP
was housed in a former Buick dealership in Downers Grove. Offices were upstairs with shipping and warehousing downstairs. Brown paper covered the dealership show windows to hide the steel racking of books and other supplies from public view. Today we work in an office three miles away built specifically for our operation, efficiently laid out. Two warehouses on the same site holding two million books.
Forty years ago I had just previously been working with InterVarsity on campus in St. Louis for two years. I had brown hair, no beard and was twenty pounds lighter. OK, I was twenty-five pounds lighter. But forty years ago today I didn’t run five miles. Today I did.
Forty years ago Gerald Ford was president and the Vietnam War had just ended the month before with the fall of Saigon. There were no cell phones, no internet, no ebooks and no reality television (some things were better in those days).
Forty years ago John Alexander was president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Jim Nyquist was head of IVP. We edited manuscripts with, yes, blue pencil, and used carbon paper to make copies of letters we sent.
Forty years ago people actually went to bookstores to buy our books. IVP had no marketing department, just a sales team and a marketing consultant. We were perhaps best known for books of cultural analysis written by a knicker-wearing American living in Switzerland–Francis Schaeffer. Our bestseller that year was How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little. This year our bestseller is Called by Mark Labberton.
Forty years ago I did not expect to spend my career at IVP.
Forty years ago today was my first day on the job at IVP. Now I see the grace in it.