By John D. Pierce

This follows yesterday’s blog about giving away most of my personal library recently.

Sometimes when asked what I do for a living my first response is, “I make up stuff.”

Most writers don’t use such a line that might imply not telling the truth.

For me, however, to “make up stuff” means not only to write opinion pieces and feature stories, but to envision something and name it. I like naming things — like “Nurturing Faith,” “Judson-Rice Award” and “Jesus Worldview Initiative.”

At Callaway Gardens a few years ago I submitted the selected name of retreat leader Babs Baugh’s tall penguin made of would-be trash. “Curbie” was the given name — since all the parts would have been taken to the curb to be discarded.

I’m glad Curbie abides in Babs’ San Antonio home to inspire us to make good out of whatever we have.

However, I don’t trust many of my made-up names and ideas, so I’m grateful to work with a team and a board and other wiser persons to shape new ideas into better ones — and to tell me honestly when bad ones need to be abandoned.

Recently, I was inspired by a typo. Someone, in a social media posting, referred to a thoughtful action as a “kind jester” rather than “gesture.”

Hmm. I liked the idea of a “kind jester” — one who does good and laughs. So I grabbed the kindjester.com web domain. That’s probably one of those made-up things to discard unless some entrepreneur has a better idea in exchange for a big cut.

One idea cooked up in collaboration with friend David Cassady — that proved to be a good one — was an innovative approach to book publishing. It started with coffee and conversation in, where else, a bookstore.

With the wise counsel and upstart funding that followed, we moved boldly into this venture and have never slowed down.

One reason I gave away a big chunk of my person library was to make more room in my office for displaying some of the many books we now publish with the Nurturing Faith imprint, often in collaboration with wonderful authors and friendly organizations.

At the recent celebration of Babs Baugh and the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation, hosted by Baptist News Global, it dawned on me that our expanded publishing effort was launched in Babs’ home when she hosted the Baptists Today/Nurturing Faith board of directors in 2012.

So I dug up the coverage of that evening that included presenting the Baugh family with our annual Judson-Rice Award and presenting the inaugural John F. Baugh Laity Award to Patricia Ayres of Austin, Texas.

After enjoying a wonderful dinner and the award presentations, we announced that “following the recent success of the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies in the center of the news journal” our organization has formed Nurturing Faith, Inc., as a subsidiary, to publish books and church resources “using the latest publishing technology and marketing strategies.”

Over these five years Nurturing Faith has published some 70 books with a steady stream always in the pipeline.

Our innovative and experienced team of editors and designers works with authors and sponsors to ensure the best results possible.

An important value from the outset has been to always “play well with others.”

So we collaborate whenever possible — with the Center for Healthy Churches, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, CBF of North Carolina, Alliance of Baptists, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Mercer University’s Baugh Center for Leadership and Central Seminary to date.

Also we benefit from individual book sponsors (donors) as well as cooperative congregations. And we publish tabletop, commemorative histories for churches and other organizations.

Nurturing Faith collaborates with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for both books and practical congregational resources. And, thanks to individual sponsors and the excellent writing of Tony Cartledge, we offer the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies Series that keeps expanding.

It would be impossible to express appreciation to everyone who had made this new venture so worthwhile.

But thanks to a great team (Jackie, Vickie, Jean, Lex, David, Julie, Amy et al), supportive directors, generous donors, trusted collaborators, talented authors and — the key to everything — engaging readers.

Making up stuff is fun. Making up better stuff with others is even better.

P.S. Nurturing Faith Books make good Christmas gifts.

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