Baptists Today to become bimonthly Nurturing Faith Journal

There is a slight change in this issue of Baptists Today. There will be significant change in the next one that will hit mailboxes by mid-February.

Perhaps you noticed the slight change: the simple dating of this issue as “January-February 2016.” That small change helps us reset the publication schedule for some major changes that have been cooking for a while and will be implemented soon.

Last fall, an effort by directors and staff to explore cost-saving measures moved quickly from crunching numbers to some wonderful creative thinking. The work of an ad hoc Envisioning Committee was an engaging, invigorating experience.

The emerging plan — shaped in consultation with clergy and lay leaders of varying ages and experiences — was fully embraced by the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee. It sets a new course that we believe will strengthen and broaden our mission while reducing costs.

What is changing?

The short answer is the size, look, frequency and name of the publication.

Baptists Today — which has experienced a name change, multiple redesigns and adjusted publication schedules over its 33-year history — will become Nurturing Faith Journal. It will have a fresh, upgraded, expanded look and, as a bimonthly, contain two months of the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies.

And the dates of the lessons will match the dates on the cover! That is, the March and April Bible studies will be in the March-April issue.

We’ll be adding new features to the journal along with an upgraded web presence with more content available to subscribers. However, familiar features in the news journal will remain.

What is NOT changing?

The purpose, principles and people behind this mission remain the same. We are simply embracing fresh, cost-saving and wider-reaching ways to address the issues of faithful Christian living in a fast-changing world.

Consolidating the brand — Nurturing Faith — enables better marketing of all that we produce: news, journal, books, Bible studies, experiences and other resources.

All of these endeavors are deeply rooted in an unwavering commitment to historic Baptist freedoms and the strong belief that unrestricted, thought-provoking, and inspiring information and analysis are welcomed by those seeking to learn, grow and serve as people of faith.

Why are we doing this?

There are practical and philosophical reasons. Changing times — including changing technology — call for rethinking and redirection.

This new approach is not a tossing-aside of what has been done in the past, but a deliberate and timely effort to bring needed freshness to a mission that is highly valued.

As all of this unfolds, our hope is that you too will see the many advantages of these changes, including:
– A more cost-effective approach makes us better stewards of financial resources.
– Consolidation of web sites offers a stronger online presence.
– The new publication will be of higher quality and better size — with consistent dating of the journal and Bible studies.
– Having one brand for everything produced — journal, Bible studies, books, resources and experiences — will improve marketing.
– The Nurturing Faith name allows for reaching Baptists and beyond more easily while retaining long-held principles and partnerships.
– Freshness comes from updated products and the increased engagement of creative thinkers and new voices.

What else?

In addition to changes to the journal and web site, other plans are emerging for Nurturing Faith to solidify and magnify the brand, to expand the influence of these resources, and to make fuller use of innovative technology. Look for these unfolding plans next month and throughout the year.

William Neal, a former Baptist editor and member of First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., chaired the committee charged with envisioning innovative new directions.

“The Baptists Today staff and board members are pursuing every initiative available to assure the long-term financial viability of this ministry and to make sure we are relevant to the needs of our expanding constituency,” said Neal. “I am excited about the changes that are coming and very optimistic about our future.”

We welcome your questions and suggestions along the way. Our work is always improved by the creative input of many who share in and support this mission.

And speaking of support, we are grateful to those who enable us to keep informing and nurturing the faith of thoughtful Christians. Your faithful support is needed throughout the year.
Thank you! And keep an eye out for what’s coming your way soon. BT

By John D. Pierce