Angelic Magazine: An Interview with Jesse Anaya

Recently my wife was featured in Angelic Magazine’s January Issue.

Piggy-backing off my wife’s success, I asked if I might be able to write something for their first international issue. If you can’t tell, I’m trying to be like Kate.

Angelic Magazine‘s tagline is Jesus. Music. Fashion.

“It is our purpose to stand boldly as a witness for Christ.  We exist to blend bold creativity in Jesus’ name. Using the Bible as our guide, we seek to proclaim a message of love, faith and boldness. Every month we get to work with and feature real people from around the world who are pursuing the callings God has put on their heart.”

Yes please! I’m a sucker for some testimony and calling.

Seeing as these are my kind of people, I asked the one and only Jesse Anaya, editor of Angelic Mag, if he wouldn’t mind me interviewing him for this blog. He graciously agreed.

So Jesse…

How did Angelic Magazine all start?

At 16 I started DJ’ing. In college I began shooting fashion photography and writing for my college newspaper.  I discovered most people assumed I was a either a womanizer because I photographed women, gay because I liked fashion or was a party guy because I liked that kind of music.

But from a young age, I just wanted to pursue Jesus. I questioned if my creative interests were wrong since house music and fashion photo-shoots didn’t align with the standard-male-Christian-stereotype.

At 25, I was a part of a young adult ministry that decided to hold a fashion show at my church. I used all my contacts through fashion photography and DJ’d that night.

For the first time God showed me I could use music and fashion to proclaim Him. My creative interests weren’t wrong or something needing to be change. The church building was packed that night. Friends invited friends and I realized the so called ‘worldly’ tools of music and fashion could be used to draw people to Jesus.

A few months later, using my journalism background, Angelica Magazine went live and the idea of creating a magazine that blended Jesus, Music and Fashion was born.

Describe the range in testimonies you receive. And what happens when people engage with testimony?

Initially when we started out, people’s testimonies were kind of vanilla. There was a lot of sugar coating going on and no one wanted to be too transparent. About a year into the mag, a girl was very honest in sharing her testimony of being raped.

She was vulnerable in writing her fears, her brokenness and how from the trauma she now hated men. And if she hated men how could she love Jesus? Her testimony was raw and real – in the following issues people began letting their guard down.

The very next issue I remember a makeup artist sharing how she cut her wrists (but not too deep) as a coping mechanism to deal with her strained relationship with her mom. I assume when people know their testimony will be featured they read past issues to get an idea for how others have shared.

The transparency carried over to the next issue.

The first guy featured for our cover was a drummer. It was decided prior to ever reading his testimony to use one of his photos for the cover. I had no idea his testimony involved battling a severe pornography addiction from a young age.

Christians aren’t supposed to admit their blemishes openly. I realized by him revealing his – it was a part of the healing process. I think people find healing from sharing their story.

Their story is no longer something they have to keep in the dark anymore. By stepping out of the dark they can come into His light.

Angelic Magazine desires to plant a church. Can you share your heart around why the local church still matters?

Our desire to plant a church is a grassroots type vision. We’re not looking to create a brand – we’re literally going to call the church we plant – “The Church”. And it’s to cultivate a space where people can experience Jesus together – where authentic community, love and worship are the tenants.

The local church matters because it’s what connects us to each other and ultimately to God.

The local church isn’t a mere building – but community. And we desire to be a part of cultivating a community that isn’t commercialized, but genuinely authentic, raw and passionate. Where the arts are celebrated in unique and bold ways. And where people have the freedom to be dreamers running fearlessly after Jesus, chasing the desires He placed on our hearts.

Most magazines have a Customer Service page. Instead, Angelic Magazine has a Prayer Request page stating. I’ve never heard of a magazine praying for it’s readers. Why pray for your readers?

I believe in the power of prayer but so often people have an insecurity to ask someone to pray for them. It’s been a great experience to have people trust us with their prayer requests and to be given the opportunity to actually pray for them. People can submit their prayer requests online anonymously, or share their name and email address.

I’ve learned so often in the world there’s isolation and loneliness, and although we’re a magazine – we don’t do it to be a brand – but a resource to connect people with God. By providing a space for prayer requests we are here to be a friend.

If Angelic Magazine featured you in their next issue, what story would you tell?

We just had our March 2017 selected as a featured issue on the ISSUU website which is the digital platform for magazines. The exposure from this has led to the March issue having over 300,000 in digital hits from around the world,  leading us closer to nearly 1 million digital hits for Angelica Magazine since January 2014.

The story I would tell is to not give up on the pursuit to proclaim Jesus.

I see a lot of people start ministries or websites to share their faith, but get discouraged and often give up when they don’t receive the attention they want on social media or from their peers. They give up when the money or the financial means doesn’t come to support the idea they had.

Although Angelic Magazine is reaching people around the world, my bank account hasn’t changed. My life hasn’t drastically changed in any way. My day to day is the same. I drive the same car I did 10 years ago.

But what’s different is somebody, somewhere had an opportunity to hear more about Jesus.

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