Dalrymple ’98 Is New President of Christianity Today
By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
As he settles into his new role as president and chief executive officer, a Stanford University alumnus has expansive dreams for Christianity Today. In May, Timothy Dalrymple ’98 assumed the helm of the global media organization founded by the late evangelist Billy Graham. Among his aspirations for the magazine are commitments to rich storytelling and thought leadership.
Dalrymple envisions Christianity Today sharing the “most powerful stories of our age” while expanding its global reach and better reflecting the diversity of the American church. Dalrymple described the legacy of the publication as extraordinary, but the future as even more dynamic.
“Christianity Today possesses the legacy, the credibility, the resources, and the worldwide reach to tell the story of the global church in ways it has never been told before,” Dalrymple said upon the announcement of his appointment.
Dalrymple succeeded Harold Smith, who retired after 35 years with Christianity Today, including a dozen as president. Under Smith’s leadership, the organization reduced its print offerings and beefed up its digital content. It also implemented a process to diversify its staff and expand its interaction with the global church.
As for Dalrymple, the one-time national champion gymnast grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, where his father served in ministerial roles. At Stanford, Dalrymple was active in campus ministry and even served as president of the university’s Campus Crusade (Cru) chapter and ventured on overseas missionary trips.
Dalrymple described his undergraduate days at Stanford as “profoundly transformative” to his core spirituality. “I found myself in a college fellowship surrounded by other believers passionate about faith. It was the first time I felt fully at home in a faith community.”
Not only were they remarkably devout, many of Dalrymple’s Christian peers also were extraordinarily talented, ambitious, and intellectual. “The relationships I have made have been absolutely critical,” he said.
Dalrymple even met his wife Joyce ’99 at Stanford, and the pair helped to shepherd a Christian unity movement across campus. The couple recently settled near Wheaton College, where they reside with their daughters, ages 10, 7, and 4. Joyce Dalrymple, an Atlanta native who has spent much of her career as an attorney focused upon immigration, is transitioning to full-time vocational ministry.
As for Tim Dalrymple, the former Olympic hopeful earned a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a doctoral degree (’09) in Modern Western Religious Thought at Harvard University. While in Massachusetts, he served in graduate and faculty ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
In 2013, Dalrymple established Polymath, a marketing and communications agency that supports clients such as the Museum of the Bible and the American Enterprise Institute. During a term from 2008 to 2014 at Patheos.com, Dalrymple served as managing editor of the evangelical division, director of content, and vice president of business development.
Given Dalrymple’s background in campus ministry, it comes as little surprise that the seasoned believer desires to cultivate deeper relationships with Christian leaders at research universities and showcase talent from such institutions.
“We believe God has given us an expansive vision of storytelling for the global church,” he said. “The next generation of writers and thinkers will be part of helping us to achieve this mission.”
Christianity Today published its inaugural issue in 1956, several years after God planted a vision for the magazine inside the heart of Rev. Graham. Today, the organization offers a variety of Web sites and publications. Its flagship magazine, a leading evangelical publication for news and opinion, reaches millions of believers every month. The Illinois-based ministry’s mission is summed up in the phrase beautiful orthodoxy: “In a world in desperate need of truth, goodness, and beauty, Christianity Today strengthens the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel.”
In February, Christianity Today’s board voted to appoint Dalrymple as president after a nine-month nationwide search. In a ministry video, Dalrymple reflected upon his life-altering decision to join the organization and relocate his family from Georgia after sensing a powerful divine calling.
Dalrymple was well-versed in Christianity Today’s “extraordinary legacy,” but his young family was comfortably settled in metro Atlanta. During a solo nighttime prayer session, Dalrymple sensed the Lord saying, “My bride is beautiful, and she needs a storyteller.”
With that, he seized a commitment to share the accounts of men and women across the globe who are “following the call of Jesus and doing self-sacrificial, world-changing things.”
Fast-forward to summer 2019, Dalrymple is excited about opportunities to “tell the most powerful stories of our age” in a variety of formats. While Christianity Today is rooted in print and online text, the media powerhouse wants to expand its reach via audio and video.
“I believe God is calling us to a soaring, historic vision,” he said.
Shortly after joining Christianity Today, Dalrymple reflected upon the poignant memory of hearing America’s pastor preach in San Francisco in 1997. Graham offered a straightforward Gospel presentation, one that was “unembarrassed, unapologetic, unadorned,” Dalrymple wrote for the magazine in June. During an altar call, hundreds of individuals came forward to embrace Christ as personal savior.
“The work of God is not about the fireworks of human talent,” Dalrymple noted. “It’s about faithfulness to a divine call.”