By John D. Pierce
Most of my time is spent looking ahead to an approaching deadline or planning the next event that is part of the expanding ministry of Nurturing Faith.
However, I have taken some moments to reflect on what has happened in and through these efforts in 2018.
Here are just a few of the many ways the publishing ministry of Baptists Today, Inc., now well branded as Nurturing Faith, has sought to stir the mind and heart:
>With editorial freedom, our signature publication, Nurturing Faith Journal, continued to address real and relevant issues impacting Christian living and congregational health through a variety of stories and columns — with an emphasis on original content found nowhere else.
>Veteran scholar/writer Tony Cartledge keeps churning out superb Bible studies that are insightful and applicable — and never dumbed downed.
These weekly lessons are enhanced by online resources for teachers including Tony’s video overviews. (Also, we now offer six stand-alone volumes known as the Nurturing Faith Bible Series.)
>Our independent, volunteer Board of Directors presented the annual Judson-Rice Award to religious liberty advocate Melissa Rogers at a dinner event at Wake Forest University in April 2018.
An insightful interview with Melissa, as part of the dinner, was adapted into a feature story for a larger audience.
>Other features included author Christian Miller on virtues and vices; Judge Albert Kirby’s faith-lined path from poverty to the bench; writer Jonathan Merritt on spiritual conversations; testimonies from the decades-long impact of student missions; Dick Atkins’ faithfulness as the world’s best-prepared Sunday school teacher; and playwright Ragan Courtney’s continuing and creative ways of celebrating life.
>A panel discussion with journalism faculty from the University of Georgia provided stimulating insights into trends impacting the delivery and consumption of news and other information.
>Bruce Gourley’s popular series, “Religion and the American Presidents,” continued to provide historical insights — while other regular columnists offered humor, understanding and inspiration.
>In collaboration with the Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership at Mercer University, Nurturing Faith released a book in tribute to Eula Mae Baugh titled, Lessons For Living: From 60 Years of Faithful Bible Teaching.
Many United Methodist leaders, particularly, found the book to be very helpful.
>Readers and editors got acquainted on a personal level through small-group Nurturing Faith Experiences to Israel and Montana/Wyoming.
And astrophysicist/theologian Paul Wallace took readers to the intersection of faith and science in each issue of the journal — as well as in person for participants in the Nurturing Faith Experience to the Big Island of Hawaii.
>The emerging Jesus Worldview Initiative continued to gain traction with presentations at churches and conferences across the nation and a retreat for pastors.
Leroy Spinks’ book, The Jesus Lens: Bringing the Bible’s Story into Focus (Nurturing Faith), grew out of this emphasis.
>For many, the Nurturing Faith website remained the go-to place for the latest religion news on a daily basis — along with blogs, teaching resources, bookstore, subscription and donor pages, event registration and other timely information.
>Voluntary partnerships with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, CBF of North Carolina, Center for Healthy Churches, Alliance of Baptists, Mercer University, Campbell University Divinity School, Faithlab, BaptistLife.com, the Baugh Foundation and others continued to provide trusting, mutually beneficial collaborative efforts — all designed to serve faithful individuals and congregations.
>Nurturing Faith continued — period — because of those who value this ministry enough to invest in it.
Thanks, and much hope for this new year!