History - Word&Way



When Word&Way launched in 1896, the founders declared the mission: “We contend for the word and show the way.”

The founding co-editors, Sanford M. Brown and Robert K. Maiden, started Word&Way as a weekly newspaper. As an independent publication, Word&Way covered news of Baptists in the Midwest region across denominational lines.

Brown served on the national committee that created the first Baptist Faith & Message for the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925. Word&Way made a cameo in Sinclair Lewis’s 1927 novel Elmer Gantry (though, thankfully, as the news source of choice by a deacon in the story, not a paper endorsed by Gantry).

The two led the paper together until Maiden retired in 1929. Brown’s son, Joseph, then joined as co-editor along with his father until the elder Brown died in 1938. The younger Brown led Word&Way as sole editor until 1945 when the Missouri Baptist General Association (now Missouri Baptist Convention) purchased the publication. When the new ownership came a new editor, Lewis A. Myers. He started in 1946 and left the next year to edit a newspaper in New Mexico.

Word&Way’s fifth editor, H.H. McGinty, stayed for 20 years, retiring in 1967. He was followed by Ross Edwards, who served until his resignation in 1975.

Bob S. Terry then arrived as editor and stayed for 20 years. He left in 1995 to lead The Alabama Baptist for another two decades. During his tenure, Terry helped start the Associated Baptist Press (now Baptist News Global).

Another long tenure started in Word&Way’s centennial year as Bill Webb followed Terry as editor in 1996. He stayed until retiring in 2016. During Webb’s tenure, Word&Way returned in 2001 to the initial status as an independent publication covering news of Baptists and others across the region and beyond denominational lines. Webb also led the transition to a monthly magazine publication in 2015.

In 2016, Brian Kaylor started as Word&Way’s ninth editor. Since then, Word&Way launched a podcast “Baptist Without An Adjective” and continued to expand this website and other digital offerings.

Since 1978, Word&Way has won more than 200 awards from Associated Church Press, Baptist Communicators Association, Evangelical Press Association, Religious Communicators Council, and Religion News Association. Learn more about our awards here.

Now in 2021, Word&Way celebrates 125 years of sharing real news on the Good News!