What is a regular activity for most Baptist institutions is new territory for Word&Way, now in its 115th year. We publicly launched the Truth Matters financial campaign on Sept. 30. It is our first bona fide capital campaign.
Why a capital campaign?
For the past nine years, Word&Way has relied upon its traditional funding avenues of subscription and advertising sales. But in lieu of a Cooperative Program allocation from the Missouri Baptist Convention, which was denied beginning in 2002, our operation has been augmented by generous gifts from churches who still sought to lend their support, other supportive Baptist organizations and a small army of individual donors.
Except for a short period of time that we were able to employ a development officer, our appeals for assistance have come in the form of quarterly correspondence with our readers. Our friends have responded faithfully and generously, even in hard economic times.
For Word&Way’s part, we have delayed upgrading aging technology, asked a smaller staff to do even more work and have done our best to live within our means. We have partnered with two other Baptist newspapers and a news service to conserve resources while improving our products. We believe we have been responsible stewards.
Despite significant challenges, our ministry has grown in Importance and quality. That being said, we recognize the need to be more forthright in sharing our needs and bolder in inviting friends to help us. Hence, the Truth Matters capital campaign.
Why the “Truth Matters” campaign?
Throughout its history, Word&Way has tried to live up to its name. Founder Sanford Brown back in 1896 intended that his little paper would contend for the Word and point readers in what the New Testament calls the Way. Word&Way would help readers understand God’s will and challenge them to faithful Christ-like living.
Biblical truth mattered to the first editor and his staff, and that tradition and commitment have not been forgotten. In every generation, people have struggled with the temptation to make truth relative. By contrast, Word&Way has demonstrated that truth really does matter to believers, and this quality has characterized the operation’s work.
Truth mattered in 1896, it matters today and it will matter in the future.
What are the campaign’s goals?
Word&Way hopes to increase donor income, or special gifts, to $500,000 each year for a period of five years. If we are successful, we anticipate about $100,000 each year could be invested in an endowment to help secure Word&Way not only for our generation but for generations to come.
The financial goal is challenging. It calls for an increase of about 65 percent over current donor giving levels. It will enable more adequate staffing, capital needs upgrades and the development of adequate reserves. It will place Word&Way on a firmer financial footing.
We want our constituents to know that our staff and trustees were among the first to make Truth Matters commitments.
We seek an opportunity to sit down with friends who would like to learn more about various ways they might help Word&Way.
Financially, we hope those who have been providing support will continue. We will invite them to consider increasing their support or formalizing their giving into a pledge to help us better anticipate future resources. We hope many will consider support through estate plans and tools like gift annuities.
What else do we hope will happen?
Our trustees and staff believe this campaign will also create energy for the ministry and call renewed attention to its outstanding products — an award-winning print edition, an engaging website and an attractive every-other-week e-newsletter, Between the Lines. Literally, Word&Way is no longer your grandfather’s state Baptist newspaper. It is even more, and it must be to meet the needs of current and future Baptist believers in Missouri.
With the Truth Matters theme, we are renewing our ongoing commitment to accurate and truthful reporting, calls to Christian living and the provision of challenging resources to help undergird Baptist work in our state.
You will be hearing and reading more about Truth Matters. If this cause resonates with you, we ask you to consider our invitation to participate with the rest of the Word&Way family.
Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.