The elderly gentleman stepped up his pace to catch up with me following the event. I was zipping back and forth through the crowd following the Servant/Leader Appreciation Night event our team co-sponsored about three years ago.
Turning around to see who was tugging at my arm, my heart melted as I saw the tears in his eyes.
He merely wanted to thank me for making the event possible — mainly because of the music, he told me.
We combined a night of comedy with traditional southern gospel music — and it was the music that did his soul good, the gentleman said between breaths.
“It really lifted my spirit, and I needed that,” he told me.
That experience wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this type of reaction following a time of traditional worship by someone who has an emotional connection to hymns or maybe southern gospel-type songs.
After all, music provides an emotional experience for all of us from time to time.
The modern styles of music connect deeply with many who came to Christ and started their journey of growing in Him in the past 25 years, while the hymns might be the favorites of our more seasoned believers.
No matter the style, words, tune or rhythm of the songs connected to powerful moments in our lives, they will always draw special emotions back to the surface, even after many years have passed.
So for someone who desperately longs for a touch of the old hymns, it isn’t because they are being difficult. It is because they are feeling a little dry.
And for those more interested in the newer songs, it’s because that’s where their souls are filled.
And while that moment three years ago was specifically about music, I can look back now and see how God used it to affirm something else in my spirit.
The trending reports all pointed to a digital-only existence for faith-based publications, but we sensed clearly that a printed publication with consistent and current information also had value for a significant segment of our Baptist family.
It’s one of many reasons we are committed to bringing you The Baptist Paper in a variety of platforms — one of which is a printed newspaper mailed directly to your home every other week. We want to become part of your family, and we want you to look forward to each issue.
We love the simple concept of sliding in alongside what editors in every state are already doing to serve you through their media and content efforts.
They are responsible for several roles and are pulled in a lot of directions, which gives our team even more energy to provide a quality product available to round out each state’s specific coverage strategy.
While The Baptist Paper is the youngest of our state Baptist paper family at not quite a year old, it benefits from the long history of state papers across the nation — the oldest being Georgia’s Christian Index, which marked 200 years this month.
The Christian Index no longer provides a print product but Editor Roger Alford reports a successful effort happening around its digital platforms.
As The Baptist Paper staff works to provide the perfect balance of news, inspirational features, church-life resources and discipleship helps, we also are dedicated to maintaining the highest of journalistic ethics in the work we do.
That means the editorial team members must be properly trained and educated. It also means a need for experience.
Currently the primary team members who help with The Baptist Paper each week have a combined total of more than 175 years experience in state Baptist paper work.
Three staff members have served or are serving as editor of other state papers and four have served or are serving in an associate editor role.
Seven staff members have various levels of theological education ranging from a few semesters of classes to graduate level degrees to a doctorate from New Orleans Seminary — which belongs to Margaret Colson, special assignments editor.
Striving for excellence
Team members also are continuously polishing their skills through continuing education classes, seminars and workshops.
They also learn from peers in the field such as during the recent Association of State Baptist Publications annual meeting, where about 30 editors and communication leaders gathered to discuss best practices and collaboration opportunities as well as hear from Southern Baptist Convention entity leaders.