Editor’s note: Nurturing Faith, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the publishing ministry Baptists Today, Inc.
Publishing venture keeps rolling out books and resources
It all started with a casual conversation over coffee — surrounded by books at a Barnes & Noble store in 2012.
David Cassady of Faithlab, a creative services firm that works closely with congregations, and John Pierce, executive editor of Baptists Today news journal, were discussing the emerging trends and fast-changing technology in the publishing industry.
It dawned on them that, together, their organizations had the highly experienced personnel in every area needed for innovative book publishing. That discussion quickly became a plan — first sketched out on a napkin.
After seeking counsel from Mercer University Chancellor Kirby Godsey, a longtime director and supporter of Baptists Today, the plan was presented to an attorney who advised them to form a subsidiary for this purpose.
In September 2013 the Board of Directors of Baptists Today, Inc., approved the proposal that would lead to publishing books and other resources under the Nurturing Faith brand — for which they acquired a trademark.
Already, the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies by Tony Cartledge were appearing in Baptists Today. It was a name destined to grow.
“The innovative approach to book publishing taken by Nurturing Faith avoids some of the limitations and pitfalls of traditional publishing,” said Cassady, who has spent his career in publishing and Christian education.
In just a few years, the nonstop venture has published a variety of books — including devotionals, autobiographies, fiction, Bible studies, theological reflections, congregational health, histories, worship, humor, leadership and Christian education — available in print or as digital downloads at nurturingfaith.net.
“Since our process is largely focused on editing and design rather than on printing and warehousing thousands of copies, niche books that would otherwise not likely be published are made available to readers, widening the discourse around matters of faith,” David added.
One of the first and most popular books published by Nurturing Faith was Lynelle Mason’s remarkable autobiography, Tarnished Haloes, Open Hearts. Her youth-oriented, historical novel, Behind Enemy Lines, was released this year and another work of fiction, Where the Rabbits Dance, will be released in 2016.
“I find them to be trustworthy, reliable and helpful,” said Lynelle. “They patiently see you through the final editing process and assist in a variety of ways in marketing your books. I love the Nurturing Faith staff!”
Treating authors as valued and respected participants in the publishing process is a mark of Nurturing Faith, said both authors and editors.
“My experience with Nurturing Faith has been better than I had ever anticipated,” said Carol Boseman Taylor of Rocky Mount, N.C., author of I Promise. Rejoice!
“From the first moment they got my draft, I felt as if I had a partner in this publishing effort,” added Carol. “They were responsive and more than helpful… I am so pleased.”
Julia Ledford, author of Savoring the Sacred, the Real, and the True, said she learned about Nurturing Faith Publishing from Jim Dant, pastor of First Baptist Church of Greenville, S.C.
“One of the special blessings in my life has been the connection with Nurturing Faith publishers,” said Julia. “From the beginning and throughout the publishing process, they were patient, caring and professional. I have appreciated their publishing approach that brought my work to light.”
Lex Horton, also a longtime publisher and Christian educator, handles author relations to keep the communication lines open and to ensure a superb final product.
“From authors to the organizations that sponsor good writing, the Nurturing Faith experience is driven by deep thinkers and dedicated servants,” said Lex. “We’re better because of them.”
Books have been published in collaboration with partnering organizations including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. A history, in collaboration with the Alliance of Baptists, will be out soon.
Also, Nurturing Faith is publishing resources for spiritual development in collaboration with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Recently, Nurturing Faith published William E. Hull’s final book, Conservatism and Liberalism in the Christian Faith: Toward a Moderate Approach, with support of the Hull family and Mountain Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.
Other sponsorships — from Bob and Pat Barker and the Bob Barker Company, and Gene and Linda Pleasants — have enabled the publication of Tony Cartledge’s ongoing Nurturing Faith Bible Studies Series.
Many individual sponsors made possible the publication of Bruce Gourley’s book on the American Civil War, titled Crucible of Faith & Freedom, and Randall Lolley’s collection of sermons, titled Journey With Me: Redemptive Threads Woven Through the Bible, released in December 2015.
“We are so pleased by the excellent response to our Nurturing Faith publishing venture,” said publisher John Pierce. “We have a great team of editors and designers, and we have built-in marketing to give these books the visibility they deserve.”
Nurturing Faith, he said, is expanding into publishing attractive, tabletop quality local church histories with the first one — on the First Baptist Church of Griffin, Ga. — nearing completion.
Whatever the title or topic, Nurturing Faith books is focused on providing intelligent, reflective, and challenging books and resources that address issues of spiritual growth and understanding.
“Responses from our growing audience of readers,” said Cassady, “confirms that the thoughtful voices of Nurturing Faith authors are making a difference in lives and churches.” BT