And a word about Baptist Press

Regular readers of the TEXAN see several stories attributed to Baptist Press in each issue of our convention newspaper. Some of our writers also write for BP and the news service frequently uses articles we’ve prepared for the TEXAN. BP is the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. Its director is a vice president at the SBC Executive Committee and BP’s staff is comprised of world-class journalist Christians. In my role as editor of two state papers since 1989, I’ve supported Baptist Press and depended on their work to provide coverage of national and international Baptist ministry.

Continued, even enhanced success on the part of a denominational news service is important to the work of our national and state convention. I see the work as unifying, not necessarily in the sense of “can’t we all get along” but rather reminding us of the needs, issues, successes, and challenges that define our reasons for cooperating in the first place. Reading the stories, having the facts, will motivate us in our Great Commission work and help us make good decisions in the oversight of that work. Nothing I can think of can effectively take the place of a news service that serves our mission by getting the story from places where Southern Baptists work, near and far. The partnership between state conventions and the Baptist Press office benefits your ministry and that of people in places you’ve never been. We need Baptist Press.

During the Southern Baptist Convention this June I supported a motion that was offered by a colleague asking that the Executive Committee study the governance structure for our convention news service. Our hope is that some way can be found to place at least one level of separation between Baptist Press and the back and forth that sometimes goes on between SBC entities. If, as happened a few years back when New Orleans Seminary questioned the recommendation of the Executive Committee to change their governing documents, two entity heads disagree with one another, it’s hard to escape the plain fact that one of those entity heads supervises the convention news service staff and the other does not. That kind of disagreement has happened more than once or twice in the past 20 years. I don’t lament the fact of such disagreements but do believe that Southern Baptists generally, including all 12 entity heads, need to believe that Baptist Press is positioned to do its job unhindered, regardless of the parties involved in the debate. That is my goal in supporting the motion and I hope the Executive Committee will give the idea fair consideration.

In the midst of the discussion I’d like to see happen, I want to emphasize my gratitude for the quality of the work produced each weekday by the BP staff. I personally know the effort they exert to get things right. I also know personally the amazing pressure they get toward one viewpoint or another from their millions of constituents. They are pros and devoted Christians no matter what challenges come along. Alterations to their chain of command could very well give them advantages in the conduct of their important work.

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