The approval of Kaylor, 35, concluded a period of evaluation and a search process that began when current editor Bill Webb announced in late April his retirement plans after 20 years of service.
The two will overlap until Webb completes his tenure at year’s end. His last day on the job will be Dec. 22, when the staff begins a Christmas holiday break that concludes on Jan. 2.
Trustees indicated Kaylor, who will serve on a three-days-a-week schedule, will serve as editor-elect until Webb’s departure. He will continue on a two-days-per-week schedule as the associate director for Churchnet, a Baptist network in Missouri, also based in Jefferson City, where he has been on staff since 2003.
“I am really excited that Brian has accepted our offer to be our new editor,” said Board of Trustees Chair James “Jim” Preston.
“We, the trustees, knew we were going to need to add a digital delivery system to complement our existing print delivery methods,” he explained.” Brian quickly convinced us that we could add that dimension, and he really understood how to do it.
“The more we visited, his enthusiasm and confidence convinced us we should try to recruit him to replace our long-time excellent editor and friend Bill Webb as he moves into a new occupation — retirement,” Preston added.
“I am humbled by the board’s decision and excited about this opportunity to serve Baptists as editor of Word & Way,” Kaylor said following his election.
“In an age when news organizations cut back on religion reporting, fake news sites go viral and short tweets replace in-depth news coverage, we need a publication like Word & Way.
“I look forward to building on Word & Way’s 120-year heritage and working to serve and inform new generations of Baptists in the Midwest,” he added. “We will continue to ‘contend for the word and show the way’ as we tell the wonderful stories of Baptists transforming our region, our nation and our world.”
An award-winning author and journalist, Kaylor is contributing editor for Ethics Daily and editor of four books on religion and politics. For over a year, he has been the primary writer of Word & Way’s multi-page cover packages.
He earned an M.A. and Ph.D in communications from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree in communications and Christian ministry from Southwest Baptist University.
He is vice chair of the Baptist World Alliance’s Communications Advisory Committee and a member of BWA’s Awards Committee and Commission on Christian Ethics.
He has garnered writing awards from Associated Church Press, Baptist Communicators Association, National Communication Association, Religious Communicators Council and Religious Communicators Association.
Kaylor was associate professor of communication studies at James Madison University and held other roles there. He has also taught communications courses at the University of Missouri, SBU and the Junior Statesmen program at Northwestern University.
He has served as pastor of Union Mound Baptist Church, staffer for Mountain Country Ministries of Tri-County Baptist Association, pastoral intern at University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., and communications specialist for Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
Kaylor and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of a son, Kagan. They attend First Baptist Church of Jefferson City.