Editor’s note: Following is the Arkansas Baptist News report delivered to the 165th annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Oct. 23 at Central Baptist Church Jonesboro.
Good morning! I bring greetings on behalf of the Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) team and board of directors.
As you know The Baptist Advance – the original name of the Arkansas Baptist News – was established by messengers just like you in the 1901 meeting in Paragould – literally a few miles from where we sit today.
The action taken by messengers all those many years ago read in part “We believe that the State Mission Board should arrange to publish a Missionary bulletin to give information and quicken interest in the work.”
The stated charge of the bulletin upon its establishment was simply: “For Christ The Churches and Cooperation.”
Today in a time when much of the mainstream media misrepresent the truth and are hostile to Christianity it is imperative that Baptists support an independent vehicle to help tell the story of how God is using Baptists in Arkansas as they seek to be Jesus’ hands and feet to a lost and dying world.
The ABN is committed to providing timely fair and accurate information of interest to Arkansas Baptists with the purpose of informing inspiring and involving Arkansas Baptists in kingdom work.
The ABN staff works dilligently to produce a quality publication that strives for journalistic integrity fairness and balance in its reporting of Baptist news.
Additionally the ABN plays a watchdog role serving as the eyes and ears of Baptists informing readers of whatever is happening in Baptist life and trusting Baptists to make wise decisions.
A brochure “Communication: A Family Tradition” which was published in 1984 I believe aptly summed up the journey the Arkansas Baptist newspaper has traveled during the years of its existence.
It stated this: “Communication through the state paper in the present was made possible by the struggles and day-to-day labor of some far-sighted Baptists in Arkansas. The past was not always easy and the future is not guaranteed. Challenges lie ahead and economic ones are among them. Yet Arkansas Baptists have shown they can meet such challenges.”
Jon Stubblefield the first president of the ABN board of directors acknowledged the challenge of continuing an independent medium of communication for Arkansas Baptists concluding: “We must maintain a responsible free channel of communication with grassroots Baptists.”
The ABN reaches tens of thousands in both print and electronic means today due to the faithful support of Arkansas Baptists throughout the generations – just like you.
And it is important to remember this …
When this annual meeting is said and done and all the work by Arkansas Baptists in 2018 has been completed future generations of Baptists will read about our activities our triumphs our challenges and our victories for Christ – not on an archive of a Facebook page through a Twitter post or Instagram photo feed – but in the printed or digital archives of your state Baptist newspaper!
While not all churches or members subscribe to the newspaper (unfortunately) all ABSC-member churches are impacted through the news and information it provides and support its cause with gifts given through the Cooperative Program which make its work possible.
I would like to thank all Arkansas Baptists for their unwavering support and for the role they will play today and for many years to come as the ABN continues to strive to tell the story of how God is working among His people known as Arkansas Baptists.
Tim Yarbrough is editor/executive director of the Arkansas Baptist News. Read more Pressing On columns at arkansasbaptist.org/columns.