Since my election in November to serve as the ninth editor of Word&Way, several faithful subscribers have shared with me how they have read Word&Way since they were kids. I understand. I recall bringing the Word&Way in from the mailbox as a child. I also saw it on the table at my grandparents in Iowa where my grandfather served as a pastor after years of pastoring in Missouri. Even in grade school I would flip through it. Now I have the honor of putting it together as you invite these words into your home.
One of my first published writings occurred in the Word&Way early in my predecessor’s tenure. While in high school, I wrote a letter to the editor (then Bill Webb). I wrote another letter printed in the paper while in college. Apparently, I have long been an opinionated writer! Now I have the honor to sit on the other side of the editor’s desk and invite your letters.
During my time at Southwest Baptist University, I showed up on the front page of Word&Way as the preacher of a student revival team. But please do not look through the archives to see what I looked like back then! I made the news in Word&Way a few other times — and I proudly saved those pieces. For several years, I have created pages for Churchnet that ran in the Word&Way and occasionally wrote news articles. For the last two years, I have written most of the cover packages. Now I have the honor of crafting this important publication as we continue to tell the good news of the work of Baptists.
I do not take this privilege lightly. As Word&Way enters its 121st year, I am humbled by the opportunity to lead this historic publication. The world has changed a lot since Word&Way’s founding. In 1896, only 45 stars appeared on the U.S. flag, athletes performed in the first modern Olympics, the U.S. Supreme Court created the flawed legal doctrine of “separate but equal,” the Dow Jones Industrial average was first calculated and the first x-ray photograph occurred. A time of great changes, of radical transformations. Perhaps a time not so unlike ours, after all.
We live in an age of technological changes and societal transformations. In this time, we need the voice of Word&Way. Media outlets are struggling with digital shifts and declining readership, leading many secular publications to eliminate their religion reporters. We need a publication that understands the nuances of faith and profiles people of faith without creating outlandish caricatures. Fake news stories dominate our Facebook feeds, even outperforming real news in the last few weeks of the recent election campaign. We need a publication dedicated to truth-telling. Short tweets and cable opinion shows offer blasts of the latest fad before moving on to some other topic. We need a publication that offers depth to covering critical issues facing Baptists in the Midwest, across the country and around the world. We need Word&Way.
Even as we change editors, our mission remains the same: “To accurately inform Baptists and others of relevant news, promote the work of Christ and encourage inspirational living.” As we enter this new phase, I covet your prayers, your support and your feedback.
Brian Kaylor is editor of Word&Way.