Since 1835, Tennessee Baptists have had a newspaper. We had a newspaper even before we had a convention. That’s how important some of the early Baptists in Tennessee felt about having a source for news.
My hope and desire is that we still have people 188 years later who see the need for a resource such as the Baptist and Reflector. Sunday, Aug. 20, is Baptist and Reflector Day on the calendar of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
Many churches across the state have ordered free copies of this issue to distribute and to let their members know about the paper.
As I enter my 36th year as a staff member and 26th year as editor, I am more convinced than ever that Tennessee Baptists need a publication to keep them informed. Sadly, many state papers have gone by the wayside.
One of Southern Baptists’ oldest and most distinguished papers was the Western Recorder in Kentucky. It no longer exists in any form. The Kentucky convention has invested in an online publication called Kentucky Today.
Other historic publications such as the Christian Index in Georgia and the Florida Baptist Witness no longer have a print issue. Many other papers such as the Baptist Courier in South Carolina, the Biblical Recorder in North Carolina, the Baptist Standard in Texas (which at one time was the largest state paper in the Southern Baptist Convention) and the Baptist Messenger in Oklahoma have moved to magazine formats and online versions.
Ultimately, that will probably be the fate of the B&R, but many people in our state know the value the state paper provides. In 1925, then editor John D. Freeman wrote that the paper “should promulgate Baptist views and principles.” He went on to say that the B&R “is more than a paper. It is an institution organized for the purpose of ministering to the spiritual needs of a great host of people. … It belongs to the people of Tennessee.”
I agree wholeheartedly. When people tell me they read “my paper,” I gently remind them that it is not mine. The B&R is their paper. It truly does belong to the Baptists of Tennessee.
TBC president Clay Hallmark is a friend and supporter of the Baptist and Reflector. He has this to say about the official newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention:
“In a day filled with misinformation, I am thankful we have a trusted source for Tennessee Baptists through the Baptist and Reflector.
“One of the greatest encouragements I get is to pick up the B&R and read all the amazing ways God is working throughout Tennessee. The B&R allows our state in all three grand regions to be connected for the purpose of the gospel.
“I believe every Tennessee Baptist who wants to see how God is working, who wants to stay informed, and who wants to be inspired to give our all for Christ should be regular subscribers and readers of the Baptist and Reflector. The benefits and the blessings far outweigh the minimal cost to receive this invaluable resource.”
I am grateful for his insight and his endorsement.
The role of the state paper gradually has changed over the years. When I first joined the paper in 1988, we focused more on “hard news.” Baptists in the pew did not have access to Baptist Press unless they read it in our papers. With the advent of the Internet, anyone can access national news from BP, but state papers remain the primary source of news about their particular state. That is why the Baptist and Reflector has survived. We fill a niche that no other publication meets.
A state paper is more than a source of providing news and information. In the hands of God, it can be a tool to inspire and motivate people to ministry that will bring glory to God and ultimately expand His kingdom.
Like many print publications, our print circulation has declined, but at 15,000 or so, we are still one of the largest Baptist papers and one of less than three or four that prints at least two issues a month. Most now have a monthly print edition and are primarily online.
We do both. We have an estimated readership each week of about 60,000 when print and online are combined.
My desire is that more Tennessee Baptists will want to read the paper. In addition to news, we run many features on incredible things our churches are doing to impact the kingdom for Christ as well as columns designed to help our churches to become better equipped to minister to folks and to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our churches have amazing stories to tell and the B&R is the primary source of telling those stories to bring honor and glory to God.
Friends of the B&R
Of course, we want to increase both platforms, but especially the print. In order to help us do that, we are reintroducing “Friends of the B&R,” but with a new twist. We are focusing on individual subscribers. See information below.
Instead of asking “friends” of the paper for donations, we are asking our readers and supporters to purchase subscriptions. They can provide the names of friends and family they would like to send the paper to. For example, a contribution of $90 will purchase five subscriptions.
Of course, individuals can buy a single subscription for $18. See form on page 20.
My goal is to add 1,000 individual subscriptions during the coming year. I am asking your help. Become a friend of the B&R, whether you purchase one, 10, 20 or even more subscriptions. I am not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. I plan to add 10 more subscriptions myself, so we only need 990 additional subscriptions.
Will you join me in this effort? It has been an honor and blessing to serve Tennessee Baptists for 35 years with the Baptist and Reflector. Let’s keep the paper viable for generations to come. B&R
More information about Friends of the B&R:
Starting today, the Baptist and Reflector is reintroducing our “Friends of the B&R” plan — but this time, it looks a little different.
With a focus on adding new individual subscribers, we are asking our readers and supporters to purchase subscriptions for others. For instance, an individual can purchase one-year subscriptions for five of their friends for a total of $90. Or you can purchase one subscription for $18. The point is, you can purchase as many, or as few, as you like! And remember: The B&R is truly the gift that keeps on giving!
Even if you don’t have a particular person (or group of people) in mind, you can still purchase subscriptions — and we (the B&R staff) will supply the names for you. Either way, you are helping us do what we love doing: Sharing stories about how God is at work in Tennessee!
Those interested in purchasing a subscription(s) can contact either Mary Nimmo (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Susan Dalton (email@example.com). You can also call 615-371-2003 or you can visit our website, baptistandreflector.org, and click on the “subscriptions” tab. You can also send a check to us at PO Box 682789, Franklin, TN 37068 and mark it “subscriptions.”
Please note that all renewal reminders will be sent to the individual who receives the paper — and not to the person who purchased the plan.