Emerging from more than a year of communications challenges and innovations as a result of the global pandemic, leaders of Southern Baptist media outlets gathered April 19 for the 2021 annual meeting of the Association of State Baptist Publications.
During the meeting, held virtually for the first time in ASBP’s 125-year history, members discussed the past, present and future of the historic organization. Led by 2020–2021 ASBP President Jennifer Davis Rash, editor-in-chief of The Alabama Baptist, participants voted to appoint a study committee to review the organization’s purpose and develop a proposal for how that purpose can best be realized in today’s changing communications landscape.
In her role as immediate past president, Rash will serve as a resource for the study committee, which will be named in the coming days by incoming ASBP President Brian Hobbs, editor of Oklahoma’s The Baptist Messenger.
“What an important role this family of peers from across the nation plays in my life and in the lives of a majority of the membership,” Rash said. “Leading the group during the pandemic wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was not being able to visit with them in person.
“Our roles vary from state to state and entity to entity, but we all serve in some form of Baptist media, and the work we do intersects from time to time,” she said. “We share ideas and help keep each other sharp, and we know we have a group of peers available to process information, decisions, obstacles and sometimes other life issues.
“The members of ASBP are professionals, called to serve in media ministry to Baptists and desire to be faithful to the task for which they are responsible. It has been an honor to serve as president, and I look forward to continuing to serve as an active member of the group going forward,” Rash said.
In other business, participants approved a nominating committee report, brought by Cameron Crabtree, editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness, to elect Shannon Baker, editor of Pennsylvania/South Jersey’s BRN United, as president-elect, to serve 2022–2023.
Serving on the 2020–2021 nominating committee with Crabtree were Eric Reed, editor of the Illinois Baptist, and committee chair Seth Brown, editor of North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder.
Serving on the 2020–2021 resolutions committee were Baker; Gary Ledbetter, editor of the TEXAN; and committee chair Brandon Pickett, editor of Virginia’s Proclaimer.
New members to the group’s two committees also will be named by Hobbs soon.
Editors are set to meet for dinner on Monday, June 14, in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.