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NFJcvrBaptists Today news journal to re-brand as expanded bimonthly Nurturing Faith Journal with new features, upgraded web presence

MACON, Ga. — The autonomous, national news journal Baptists Today, that includes the weekly Nurturing Faith Bible Studies curriculum, will have a new look, frequency and name: Nurturing Faith Journal.

The enlarged, colorful magazine format will debut with the March-April 2016 issue hitting mailboxes in early February. Dates for the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies will match the issue dates, and the publication will have a more appealing look and size.

An envisioning process launched by the independent Board of Directors of Baptists Today, Inc. led to the new approach that also includes the expected March 1 launch of a more robust Nurturing Faith web site with numerous features for subscribers including daily news and blogs, as well as all the teaching resources for the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies curriculum.

“It seemed wise to consolidate the brand Nurturing Faith that has expanded to several products and services that many find appealing,” said Executive Editor John Pierce. “And it’s not the first time this publication has changed names, format and frequency.”

Born in the heat of a denominational struggle, the newspaper founded as SBC Today in 1983 was later renamed Baptists Today. The publication schedule and design have changed several times over more than three decades.

“We are fortunate to have not experienced circulation loss like many print publications,” said Pierce. “Much credit goes to the excellent original Bible study curriculum by Tony Cartledge that is popular with Sunday school classes and other groups that get their weekly lessons and timely information from one affordable resource.”

Pierce noted that technological and sociological changes impact the ways people access information and educational resources, and therefore the way publishers must deliver their products — while paying attention to associated costs.

“Our methods change while our mission does not,” he noted. “It requires paying close attention to the ongoing shifts and being bold enough to make changes when needed.”

The ad hoc envisioning committee, chaired by William Neal, a former Baptist newspaper editor and a member of First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., heartily recommended the changes that include consolidating the Nurturing Faith brand first used for the Bible studies.

These changes, said Neal, have cost-saving benefits while ensuring “we are relevant to our expanding constituency.” He added: “I am excited about the changes that are coming and very optimistic about our future.”

Kathy Brittain Richardson, a longtime journalism and communications professor who served on the envisioning committee, helped guide the process that included feedback from young adult ministers and lay leaders.

“The changes in design and publication will better position the journal to serve its readers by providing important Christian and Baptist news and features, two months of challenging Bible studies, and the regular columns (as well as new ones) that readers enjoy in an easier-to-use format,” she said. “The journal continues to live out its mission to ‘nourish the faith’ of its readers.”

Funds are being sought to create internships to increase social media and to provide younger engagement in Nurturing Faith publishing ventures.

In 2013 the Board of Directors of Baptists Today, Inc., approved forming Nurturing Faith, Inc., as a wholly owned subsidiary to publish books and other resources. More than 40 titles with the Nurturing Faith imprint have been published with new books and educational resources being released each month.

A trademark was secured for the brand name Nurturing Faith that keeps expanding in its use.

Group travel opportunities called Nurturing Faith Experiences have attracted many participants to Israel/West Bank as well as to Yellowstone, Glacier, and Grand Tetons national parks and other locations, with several more trips in the works.

The Nurturing Faith Bible Studies by Tony Cartledge are produced in collaboration with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Global and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina. Rick Jordan of CBFNC writes weekly lesson plans for the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies.

Young ministers with responsibilities for Christian education, whose input was sought, endorsed the upcoming changes.

Baptists Today is a steady and trusted source for news and Sunday school material at First Baptist Gainesville, Ga.,” said Will Dyer, associate pastor for discipleship and young adults. “Nurturing Faith Journal represents yet another positive move forward for this wonderful resource. The new bimonthly magazine is a visually stunning design that will appeal to a much broader audience without sacrificing Baptist principles and a distinct point of view.”

Mike Gregg, associate pastor and minister of education at Atlanta’s Northside Drive Baptist Church, embraced the plans for the new Nurturing Faith Journal.

“It will not only look beautiful but it will be a Baptist resource 2.0,” he said. “I’m excited the updated journal will keep up with technological trends to make the educational resources easier to access.”

The renamed, updated journal, he said, will have appeal beyond Baptist life to others “who value trends and changes in Christianity and faith-based education.”

“Although I enjoyed seeing Baptists Today in my church and every church where I’ve served,” said Gregg, “I am even more excited to make Nurturing Faith Journal a staple in my church’s educational journey and in my personal life as well.”

Director Kelly Belcher of Asheville, N.C., an experienced Christian educator and writer, said the change in format and name “will enhance the quality of the independent, autonomous information delivered by the writers who have an excellent history and reputation for outstanding delivery of information to moderate Baptists.”

The Executive Committee of Baptists Today, Inc., unanimously approved the recommendations that led to these changes. Directors William Neal, Kelly Belcher, Roger Paynter, Kathy Richardson, Bill Ireland and Frank Granger comprise the envisioning committee with Board Chairman Don Brewer and Executive Editor John Pierce serving as ex officio members.

“We are excited to be able to offer an enhanced version of our publication in a more reader friendly format,” said Chairman Brewer. “While our appearance is changing, our DNA remains the same — an autonomous news journal for critically thinking Christians.”

CONTACT: Baptists Today/Nurturing Faith (478) 301-5655 editor@baptiststoday.org