An Unusual Back-to-School Story: How Katy Christian Magazine Came to Be
This year, “back-to-school” has a bittersweet meaning for Joe Menslage. As the busy publisher of Katy Christian Magazine, he is also the widowed father of four children—two daughters and two sons. This year his firstborn is heading to college, a milestone event that has Joe shaking his head in amazement. Like any parent of a college-bound teen, his role has changed from parent to mentor. It takes some getting used to.
Although his eldest has spread his wings, Joe’s 12-, 14- and 16-year-olds are still under the roof. Preparing for a new school year without his departed wife Nicole is never easy, but his children are older now and able to help. They often handle their own back-to-school shopping for school supplies and clothes. It’s taken nearly five years to adjust, but with the Lord’s help the family has overcome an earth-shaking event and managed to move forward.
Joe has a compelling testimony dating back to when he first met Nicole. He’ll be the first to say he’s traveled some peaks and valleys before giving his life fully to Christ. His story is relatable and mirrored by so many Christians who were once lost, and then found. “The ‘80s were filled with some crazy years of partying and carousing. I was hopelessly roped into the world… or so I thought,” says Joe. God had other plans.
As is often the case with Christian spouses, Nicole’s influence turned his life around. Soon Joe fully committed to Christ and it totally changed his perspective. His long publishing career in the sports magazine realm lost its luster. He began dreaming of other publishing opportunities “geared for the Kingdom” and wondered if a Christian audience would be receptive. Surely a community of believers would embrace a wholesome Christian magazine? With the seed planted, he followed his true calling and launched Houston Christian Magazine, a premier publication in Harris County.
Joe and his family attend Second Baptist Katy, which has served the community since 1999. The vibe of the Katy area appealed to him. After all, Katy was dubbed “the city of churches” many years ago. As he learned more about the people and historic background, he realized Katy was the perfect location for a Christian publication, especially because it spans three counties. Katy Christian Magazine was born and has steadily attracted advertiser and readers over the years.
When Nicole was tragically killed in a car accident, it turned the Menslage family upside down. “It was a complete shock and something we could never have imagined. I’m not sure how we survived that terrible time,” says Joe. He had to hold himself together—and more importantly, hold his young children together. On top of that he had a magazine to publish. It wasn’t easy. “If not for God’s grace, everything would have unraveled,” he adds.
He is grateful that his children have sprouted into young people of Christ, and that Katy Christian Magazine is a vibrant presence in the community. He loves reader feedback, which greatly affects the articles he publishes. Student profiles and pastor profiles are popular, as are features on Christians in the workplace. He’s also added an “arts” component and enjoys interviews with local authors, singers and those who undertake mission trips. “With every Christian comes a story,” he says, and is honored to be able to share glimpses into those journeys.
So with another school year underway, Joe continues with his own mission, which is to offer “family friendly news with an eternal purpose.” He encourages us all to support local Christian businesses, which are the foundation of Katy. “Check out our Christian advertisers,” he invites. These good people offer products and services you can count on, especially with a new school year ahead.