EDITOR’S NOTE — The first day Cynthia Watts walked into the office, she and I almost forgot to go home that night. We brainstormed about all the upcoming projects and ideas yet to be fleshed out. She listened as I dreamed, and she encouraged me to dream even more. And before long, Cynthia was the muscle behind making many of those initial projects come to life. Read her account of those projects below. I will always be grateful for her diligence, hard work and care for me personally. —Jennifer Davis Rash
Jennifer Rash officially began her role as the president/editor-in-chief of The Alabama Baptist on Jan. 1, 2019. That was my first day too. Timing is everything.
She began her leadership with a staff retreat filled with training, games, meals, speakers and brainstorming. The rules of the brainstorming were that all ideas were welcomed. Everyone on staff was encouraged to participate. And everyone did.
Ideas from the staff flew faster than they could be written down: brighten the building; get new office furniture; create opportunities to participate in missions; pray together during the week; engage younger readers; partner with other Alabama Baptist entities. Then one idea was mentioned I thought would be impossible — publish a paper for all of the United States.
Activity began immediately and continues even now. The glass wall came down in the entry, and the receptionist’s area became a museum honoring former editors and The Alabama Baptist legacy.
The antique brass sconces were replaced with new light fixtures. The walls were painted a brighter color. Heavy draperies were replaced with attractive blinds. The front door was painted red.
The longtime board room was transformed into a community room, furnished with tables, chairs, coffee maker and a coffee cart selected from Facebook Marketplace, a smart budgetary decision. The room now welcomes outside guests, staff lunches, meetings, board members and events.
A former office is now a small conference room available to local pastors or others needing a place to meet. The storage room is now a podcast studio.
The former business office is a state-of-the-art training room with tables, chairs and audiovisual equipment for virtual meetings. This room has already hosted an Alzheimer’s conference, writing workshops and several other events.
TAB staff members are encouraged to train as Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, and many have served in Alabama and other states.
The staff has provided Christmas presents for children at the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes. Several staff members also have relationships with our Baptist colleges, the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, Shocco Springs Conference Center and The Baptist Foundation of Alabama.
An online offering, The Rope, is written for college students and young professionals.
We enjoy relationships with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, state and national WMU and ALCAP. The flow of information with the local churches and associations is daily.
And now, the pièce de résistance, The Baptist Paper — our new 28-page, full-color print edition which will be delivered every other week. Several pastors have called this “a brilliant idea,” and it is. The brainstorming idea I thought was impossible was mailed out last week.
All this and more have happened since January 2019, and I have gotten to watch these incredible people make it happen. I will miss the magic of TAB when I retire May 19. However, we know that timing — God’s timing — is everything.