By Bill Webb
About a week ago, we mailed an "I Care About Word&Way" message to those who subscribe and to those who have given us direct financial support in the past. The letter was our annual holiday greeting and appeal for help to continue our century-old ministry.
We cannot help but feel a strong sense of gratitude, even as we encourage readers and previous donors to continue above-and-beyond support. We continue to ask because we feel God is not yet finished with Word&Way and its undergirding work among Missouri Baptists. Many of you obviously agree.
Word&Way is highly visible, but it admittedly is not the kind of ministry that automatically tugs at your heartstrings. That is to say that our ministry cannot produce compelling photographs and passionate stories about our cause. We are a newspaper, and most newspapers do not rely upon donations — we call them special gifts — to fund a portion of their work.
It is our work of information-sharing and inspiration that set us apart. And it is our ministry of undergirding that brings us particular satisfaction:
* Our primary responsibility is not the care of Missouri Baptists' elderly and ministry to their families, but we undergird an agency that does those things — The Baptist Home.
* Our unique assignment is not to minister to troubled families and children or to help people with foster care and adoption, but we undergird a benevolent agency that does — The Missouri Baptist Children's Home.
* Word&Way does not engage in formal higher education with a Christian distinctive. Nor do we prepare young collegians to incorporate a Christian worldview into their lives as they make career decisions and choices of mates, but we strongly support four Missouri institutions that do — Missouri Baptist University, William Jewell College, Hannibal-LaGrange College and Southwest Baptist University.
* We do not provide Christian retreat, camping and meeting opportunities in an area where God's creative beauty abounds year round, but we lend our support to an entity that does — Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
* We at Word&Way would relish the opportunity of helping Missouri Baptist people invest their lives through their financial resources in helping others in missions, ministry, benevolence and education. That is not our task. However, we do undergird an entity among Missouri Baptists that has an exemplary track record in doing just that — The Missouri Baptist Foundation.
There are many other missions and ministry endeavors in which Missouri Baptists are involved that we continue to undergird. Fittingly, we feel a part of all of those efforts, whether they are sponsored by churches that relate to the Missouri Baptist Convention, the Baptist General Convention of Missouri and/or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri. We try to undergird the missionaries those entities support, both stateside and overseas.
We trust that our readers are fully aware of our high regard for the local church, its leadership and its members. We are proud to serve all Missouri Baptists.
We hope that just as our friends lend their support to the ministries mentioned, they will think of Word&Way. Like the others, our need is very real.
During this season of thanksgiving, we are especially grateful for our "special givers." Your gifts have ranged from less than a dollar to thousands of dollars. We lament that we have not quite gotten where we want to be with a system that will help us say "thank you" as quickly and as frequently as we want. But we are getting there!
Please accept our gratitude for all that you have done for Word&Way. We hope that as you read each issue, you will realize the significant part you have played. God bless you for being our partners.