Journalism plays a key role in Southern Baptist life. Yet, like most secular press outlets today, our news agencies appear to be caught in a struggle for relevance.
Do Southern Baptists believe reliable information and inspiring stories add any value to our partnerships and missions efforts? That’s the question we must answer.
Many people in our pulpits and pews are not aware of the value – sometimes even the existence – of Southern Baptist news outlets at the state or national levels.
Here are four reasons why I think it is important for pastors and lay people to stay informed by Baptist journalism:
1) Seeing the big picture cultivates a spirit of partnership
The primary role of Southern Baptist journalism is to promote the cooperative work of our local churches. We tell the Southern Baptist story, and that makes churches more likely to work together to make disciples of all nations. We are here to inform and inspire with news about churches and entities that have locked arms together with a Great Commission vision.
2) Missions stories inspire missions efforts
Most Southern Baptist journalists say their favorite stories to report are those that inspire others to make the gospel known. It is a joy to research, interview, and write about congregations that deploy creative strategies for sharing the gospel with their neighbors. We hope that others will read those stories and begin thinking about how they, too, might develop creative and unique ways to reach their communities for Christ.
3) Accountability is important
News agencies provide a level of transparency in Southern Baptist life as they report accurate information about our missions and ministries. Journalism is not the only light that shines on our efforts, however. Trustee boards, committees, entity reports, and other organizational tools provide accountability as well. Yet, news reporting is the primary way to distributevital information to as many Southern Baptists as possible.
4) An abundance of news is at your fingertips
News outlets serve as a supermarket for information about Southern Baptists. The communications departments in our state and national entities do a wonderful job of providing news about their ministries. But it is unreasonable to think the average reader will pore over numerous websites and publications to stay informed about each organization. The reporting process enables our news teams to cover press releases, announcements, and updates – in addition to enterprising and investigative stories – making them available through convenient print and digital formats.
Our family of churches is diverse, and that means our people have a wide variety of preferences when it comes to news consumption. At the Biblical Recorder, we try to make information accessible for the largest number of readers. We publish news in print and many digital platforms.
Text messaging is a popular platform across older and younger generations, so we recently launched a new service called “BR Connect” that’s meant to keep you up to date. It also gives you the ability to text our news team directly with questions or story tips.
BR Connect can help Southern Baptists get the information they need right on their phone. We believe that’s a win for all of us because informed Baptists are better Baptists.
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