Serving as your editor these past 10 years has been a great privilege and highlight of my career in Baptist journalism. Please allow me to express my deep appreciation for your kind words, prayer support, and faithful readership though the years. I will always treasure the wonderful friendships made with pastors and church leaders while serving among Kentucky Baptists.
God placed upon my heart the ministry of Christian journalism as a young, college student years ago. My deepest desire has been—and still is—to use the writing skills that He has given to me in serving fellow believers. Just as answering God's call led me to Kentucky in 2009, He now has led me back to the Baptist Courier, where I was privileged to previously serve for 13 years. I wish Kentucky Baptists and the Western Recorder God's best as I depart to serve the Baptists in my home state of South Carolina again.
As your editor, I strove to bring accuracy, balance and fairness to the pages of the Western Recorder. I sought to be equally committed to missions and evangelism and to fervently tell the stories of how Kentucky Baptist are joining together to further the cause of Christ. When I was elected as editor, I pledged to the Mission Board that the Bible verse that would guide my ministry here—and any editorial that I wrote—would be Romans 14:19: "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." After 10 years and more than 350 editorials and numerous more news articles, I hope you'll agree that I've fulfilled that commitment to you.
This souvenir special issue showcases how God has been at work among Baptists of the Bluegrass during the past century. It also bears witness to the vital role of the state Baptist newspaper in informing, inspiring and equipping Kentucky Baptists and their churches as they work together to fulfill the Great Commission. As the official news journal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 1919, the Western Recorder has been devoted to championing a cooperative spirit across the state and to advancing the work of Kentucky Baptists in missions, education and evangelism.
Through telling these stories, the Western Recorder uplifted Kentucky Baptists and their churches, seeking to inspire others to "let their Light shine." In our flag at the top the front page, we changed the news journal's motto to reflect our Christ-centered focus: "Calling Kentucky Baptists with each issue to 'shine like stars in the world,'" based on Philippians 2:15. The phrase was frequently repeated in my reports to convention messengers and the Mission Board, and I found pleasure whenever Kentucky Baptists greeted me with it in the halls. That's something I really hadn't anticipated, but it displayed your affirmation for the newspaper's ministry.
During these past 10 years, I have met many wonderful servants among the state convention's leadership and in churches all across the state. I've been inspired by you, and I know our faithful readers through the years were encouraged, too. I'm grateful for the many churches that provided the Western Recorder for their members—though I wish there had been a great deal more—to not only inform them about our shared Baptist work, but also inspire them to use their talents in missions, evangelism and ministry in their churches and communities. So, they, too, will "shine like the stars" in the world.
On a personal note, I would like to thank the Western Recorder Board of Directors and the staff members with whom I've had the privilege of serving, as well as to the KBC staff and the Foundation and Woman's Missionary Union staff for their gracious expressions of support through the years and their farewell send-off the past few days. I have had the good fortune of counting each of you as both ministry colleagues and friends.
From my time as a Recorder intern as a seminary student in the late-1980s to this past decade as your editor, serving among Kentucky Baptists has been an incredibly significant and meaningful part of my ministry journey. Thank you again for allowing me that privilege.
Keep shining like the stars, Kentucky Baptists!