The Oct. 27 print issue of Word&Way carries a section of annual reports from institutions whose services have traditionally been utilized and who have been supported by our readers and supporters.
Read about the work of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Hannibal-Lagrange University, Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University, Southwest Baptist University, The Baptist Home, William Jewell College and Windermere Baptist Conference Center. The Children's Home report appears online.
The report of the 10th institution, Word&Way, appears in this column.
Word&Way began under the present name in 1896, but it represents a merger of publications dating back to 1865.
In many ways, the purpose of Word&Way has remained the same. It continues to be a mirror for what is going on in churches, local associations, state conventions, national conventions and fellowships, and international Baptist bodies. It undergirds the work of modern missions and ministry efforts domestically and internationally.
Just as it always has, the organization tells the story of Baptists in Missouri, including their successes and their foibles, noting their agreements and acknowledging their disagreements. As such, it has been from the start and remains today a "warts-and-all" operation, reliable in its reporting.
On the other hand, Word&Way is not your father's Baptist news publication. Early staffs would hardly recognize the full-color print publication that goes into the homes of thousands of Baptists across Missouri, the United States and several foreign countries. It is rich in news, promotion, inspiration and opinion presented in an award-winning package.
Our coverage includes not only the Missouri Baptist Convention and Southern Baptist Convention and their work but also the efforts of organizations like the Baptist General Convention of Missouri (Churchnet), the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri and national CBF. Coverage is driven from the local church on down. Each entity has adherents from across the Baptist landscape in Missouri.
While various annual reports appear in our pull-out section this week, Word&Way seeks to provide news coverage of each institution and decisions of each governing board throughout the year. We help tell the story of what each entity attempts and accomplishes in its service to God, Baptists and others.
In every issue, we provide "helps" pages in the areas of family, senior adults, finance and media, including exclusive first-person columns to complement these emphases.
Today, our venerable print publication is not the only pony in the Word&Way stable. Our staff continues to develop and distribute a newsletter — Between the Lines — emailed every other week between issues of the printed Word&Way. Circulation to this complimentary service has grown to more than 1,100.
For several years, Word&Way also has maintained an online presence with its website — www.wordandway.org, which is updated regularly to include news, features and editorials. Today, the site is in the process of being updated to make it even more valuable to our constituents.
At present, Word&Way helps seven churches, one association and another interest group that use newsletter editions — sometimes referred to as back-page editions — to create a one-stop Baptist information source for their members. We also sell space that enables BGCM to run a newsletter page in every issue, The Baptist Home to do the same in every other issue, and Windermere to run a quarterly newsletter.
Word&Way has continued a partnership with three other Baptist communications entities: Associated Baptist Press, the Baptist Standard of Texas and the Religious Herald in Virginia in a venture we call New Voice Media. This partnership involves shared design and advertising services, collaborative production of writing packages, and individual but integrated websites. Our emphasis is on being more responsible stewards and improving each partner's ministry.
Word&Way is in the midst of its first-ever capital campaign, called Truth Matters, launched to increase actual donor gifts to $500,000 a year for five years. Success will help ensure Word&Way thrives now and will be positioned to serve the children and grandchildren of current advocates of the news organization.
Through all it is doing, Word&Way maintains a focus on its mission to "provide Baptists with accurate, timely, relevant information with balanced reporting" and its vision to "inspire and challenge our readers to grow in Christ-likeness and to a deeper involvement in Baptist life."
We're grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.