DAVIS—During the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) September Board of Directors meeting at Falls Creek, board members approved significant changes to the print edition of the Baptist Messenger that will take effect in January 2019.
In a move that trimmed the budget and also expanded opportunities to focus on its growing digital publication, BGCO Board members voted that as of January 2019, the Baptist Messenger print edition will move from a weekly print publication to a semi-monthly (printing two editions per month) publication.
As the Baptist Messenger print edition moves to semi-monthly in January 2019, Oklahoma Baptists connected to a BGCO church will be able to request and receive the print publication subscription pre-paid (at no subscriptions cost to churches).
The number of pre-paid subscriptions available to Oklahoma Baptist churches is limited and is intended for church members only. Readers who currently receive the Baptist Messenger through a church subscription will continue to receive the publication.
“This cost-free, pre-paid subscription option for BGCO church members is made possible by the Cooperative Program and Messenger paid advertising,” said Brian Hobbs, editor of the Baptist Messenger. “By reducing the frequency of Messenger editions that are printed and mailed, the board’s move will save the BGCO approximately $200,000 annually, while potentially increasing the overall readership and circulate rate.
“We are exceedingly grateful for the churches and associations who have subscribed to the Baptist Messenger through the years, and we are confident the print and online editions of the Messenger will be even stronger going into the future,” said Hobbs.
The same Messenger content readers have enjoyed for years, such as missions and church news, Walker Moore’s column, the crossword puzzle and more will continue in 2019, with an enhanced layout, according to Hobbs.
“The move to printing semi-monthly will be cost effective for the BGCO and for churches who previously paid for subscriptions through church budgets,” said Hobbs.
Individuals who are not connected to a BGCO church may continue to purchase a subscription in 2019.
The Board’s vote had further implications, as the Baptist Messenger’s church newsletter wrap program will no longer be offered in 2019. Instead the BGCO Print Shop will offer paid church newsletter assistance options that churches can consider independently of the Messenger.
To accompany the 2019 changes to the print publication, the Messenger announced it will grow and expand upon its product line, which already includes a breaking-news website (BaptistMessenger.com), the free Messenger Go smartphone app, an award-winning blog (WordSlingersOK.com), the Messenger Insight podcast, social media channels and a quarterly Spanish edition.
“With new digital media channels at our fingertips, the Baptist Messenger will enhance its focus on bringing you stories and news through online resources, while continuing a strong print presence for many years to come,” Hobbs added.
None of the BGCO board-approved changes announced take effect until January 2019. Until that time, church group subscriptions and church newsletter wraps continue as planned for the duration of 2018.
The Baptist Messenger, founded in 1912, is the flagship publication of the BGCO, and is distributed by mail and digitally throughout the United States and in many countries across the world. For more information, visit www.baptistmessenger.com or call 405/942-3000 Ext. 4361.