Worthy of Your Supportcomment (0)
June 7, 2012
By Bob Terry
Please allow me to say this plainly. The Alabama Baptist newspaper is worthy of your support and the state Baptist paper needs your support.
During the past year, circumstances demonstrated the valuable contributions the state Baptist paper provides Alabama Baptists. In the weeks that followed the April 27, 2011, tornadoes, the state Baptist paper provided stories that captured the heart, reports that lifted the spirit, articles that challenged the mind and information that built up the body of Christ known as Alabama Baptists.
The paper’s award-winning reporting kept Alabama Baptists informed about the 45-plus Alabama Baptist churches destroyed or severely damaged in the storms. The paper played a key role in keeping Alabama Baptists connected during recovery and rebuilding efforts. Articles told of God’s care in crises, of God’s comfort in tragedy, of Alabama Baptists sharing God’s love in ways ranging from a hug or prayer from a volunteer chaplain to rebuilding homes by Baptist construction volunteers.
What coverage of the tornadoes illustrated is what The Alabama Baptist does week in and week out, what it has done for the 170 years of its ministry. The news, information and understandings gleaned from the pages of the state Baptist paper help make it possible for Alabama Baptists to work together in the cause of Christ.
Numerous studies prove that no volunteer organization, not even a local church, can long survive without a common source of trusted, reliable information. For Alabama Baptists, that source is the state Baptist paper. That is why churches that provide the state Baptist paper to active resident families give more to missions and participate more in denominational life than churches that do not provide the paper.
The state Baptist paper is the primary source of missionary information. It is the major outlet for news and information about all that Baptists do together in the state and around the world. It is a key instructor about what Baptists believe and how Baptists work together. The state Baptist paper promotes Baptist work and also provides a forum for views about that work. The paper remains the foremost channel of communications for the state convention.
That is why the paper has been a trusted voice and a welcome friend in the homes of Alabama Baptists since its earliest days.
A church that fails to furnish the paper to its active families has begun to draw back into itself and away from its larger Baptist family. The only question is how long the process will take.
Because of what the state Baptist paper does for readers, for local Baptist churches and for the state and national conventions, the paper is worthy of your support.
And the paper needs your support in order to continue making a difference in Baptist life. The Alabama Baptist needs your prayer support. It needs your subscription and your goodwill as you tell others about stories and articles you read each week. And the paper needs your financial support.
When I began working in state Baptist papers, I was handed a notepad and a camera. Today a reporter carries a laptop computer, a video camera, a still camera and a smartphone. The reporter writes the story, takes pictures and makes a video. Before leaving the site, a tweet teases the story through Twitter. A Facebook posting shares a story highlight along with a photo. Sometimes a summary goes directly to the Breaking News website (thealabamabaptist.wordpress.com).
Back in the office the story is fleshed out for print. Multiple photos are selected for a slide show to accompany the story on the online edition. The video is uploaded and relevant websites to the story are selected and posted for readers to use as resources.
Covering a story takes a lot more work than a generation ago and is a lot more expensive.
Computers used to be for word processing. Now computers are used for enhancing photos, for making videos, for designing pages, for story research and writing, for managing the business of the publication and every other aspect of keeping readers up to date about what God is doing through Alabama Baptists at home and around the world.
Equipment is expensive. Software is expensive. Training to keep editors and writers up-to-date on how to use them is expensive.
For decades, training future Baptist journalists has been a part of the ministry of The Alabama Baptist. Some student interns have been added to this staff. Others have gone to serve on other state Baptist paper staffs or in communication positions for Southern Baptist Convention entities. Some work as Christian communicators in the public marketplace.
Endowment for the Hudson Baggett Intern Program at The Alabama Baptist is less than $30,000. Earnings are not enough to pay an intern minimum wage for one semester. Much more is needed to make it possible for God-called men and women to get on-the-job training as religious journalists and communicators.
Baptist colleges regularly campaign to endow important teaching positions. These are called endowed chairs. Likewise the state Baptist paper has key positions such as the editor and the managing editor which need to be endowed to ensure adequate support for God-called individuals who are trained both in communications and in theology. After all, the editor must be versed in the “how” part of communications as well as trained in the work of the church about which the editor writes.
Careful management through the years has resulted in a small reserve fund which functions as endowment for The Alabama Baptist. Earnings from these funds are used to subsidize the cost of the state Baptist paper for local Baptist churches. That saves each church about $1 per subscription. Being able to keep the state Baptist paper affordable for every church is one of the goals of an endowment fund as outlined by the directors of The Alabama Baptist.
Underwriting these programs financially is not likely to happen with a single gift. It more likely will happen when readers agree that The Alabama Baptist is worthy of their support and, in addition to their prayers and subscriptions, begin to include the state Baptist paper in their wills and estate plans.
I have concluded that The Alabama Baptist is worthy of my support. I ask you to join me by concluding the paper is worthy of your support, too.
Pray for The Alabama Baptist. Subscribe to The Alabama Baptist. Give to The Alabama Baptist.
For more information, visit www.thealabamabaptist.org or call 1-800-803-5201.