On April 7, I participated in my first Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) board of directors meeting at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.
It was an exciting time and gave me the opportunity to share a little bit about my vision for the ABN.
I was pleased to be able to share that the ABN is publishing more news and information about Arkansas Baptists. After all, that should always be our strength – telling the story of Arkansas Baptists to Arkansas Baptists.
Additionally, the ABN has added several new pages – including the Arkansas Baptist State Convention page and the Church Tech page.
We are working hard to expand our advertising and add numerous special sections of interest to Arkansas Baptists – like our Feb. 24 Christian Education section and our March 24 Student Ministry section. In the future, we are planning for other special sections on topics such as health, church and facilities, senior living and much more.
The ABN has a new logo and slogan, both of which were unveiled in our April 7 issue. Our new logo includes a star/cross effect designed to reflect Arkansas Baptists’ Great Commission focus and reach. Our new slogan, “Telling the story of Arkansas Baptists since 1901,” helps communicate the ABN’s long history and historic connection and support of Arkansas Baptists, their churches and state convention ministries.
One of the things I emphasized at the meeting was the dramatic shift in publishing and why it is essential for the ABN to embrace new media and methods of dissemination of news and information.
In fact, I emphasized that every newspaper or magazine published today will have to deal with what I call the “digital shift” in publishing.
While the ABN still prints and distributes newspapers, we are aware that our traditional model – the printed newspaper that is mailed to subscribers – is changing rapidly and we must be ready in the coming years with new and innovative ways of distribution.
Already, we are responding with the ABN Now, our digital edition, which has about 250 subscribers. However, we can’t stop there. Without a doubt, the future of all printed publications is somehow tied to the Web.
In the months and years to come, the ABN hopes to build a Web site that is much more than a “static newspaper content” Web site. I want our future ABN Web site to become a resource and reference destination for Arkansas Baptists of all ages, offering things such as:
•Forums for discussion of ministry topics, tactics and challenges;
•Sharing of ministry information, such as “how to” guides for ministry and case studies;
•Pastors’ sermons, articles and blogs;
•Links to church Web sites and other ministries;
•Enhanced multimedia packages that include video, audio and photos;
•Social media destinations, such as Facebook and Twitter;
•Podcasts about current ministries and feature stories;
•ABN archives (digitized copies of our past newspapers), and much more!
I shared with the board that I believe the future of the ABN is bright, as long as we change with the times and embrace new paradigms. That way, we’ll continue to be relevant to Arkansas Baptists both today and tomorrow.
After all, the ABN isn’t about just publishing a newspaper, but about supporting the work of Arkansas Baptists as they seek to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.
We can’t afford to fail.
After all, we are on a mission from God!
Tim Yarbrough is editor of the Arkansas Baptist News