Feb. 7 marks my one year anniversary as the Executive Editor of the Baptist Messenger. This past year has been the most challenging and exciting year of my career.

The BGCO Board of Directors appointed me as the Executive Editor, following a series of key recommendations to the board by the Communications Task Force. The purpose of the task force was to look for ways to maximize the communications efforts of the BGCO.The task force gained valuable information from more than 2,000 church members. We learned a lot!

During the past 12 months, the Baptist Messenger staff has worked diligently to begin implementing the recommendations. While the entire staff has gone the extra mile, none demonstrated more leadership to implement change than Associate Editor, Dana Williamson, and Managing Editor, Bob Nigh.

I’m proud to announce that in just over one year, the vast majority of those recommendations will have been implemented! We have done our best to gradually bring these changes to the Baptist Messenger to the forefront.

Which of the following are true about the Baptist Messenger’s transformation? Average story lengths have been cut in half. Photos are larger and include more action. A children’s section has been added. Special editions on critical issues have been featured. There is more coverage on issues related to Christian life, family, health and business. The truth is that they are all true!

We have come a long way in one year, but you haven’t seen anything yet! We have taken your letters, e-mails and survey responses seriously. On March 1 the new Baptist Messenger will be unveiled! Begin watching for sneak peeks of the new design and content. Perhaps the greatest news is that the Baptist Messenger will soon be full-color throughout! And by the way, if you have thoughts you would like to share, it’s not too late. Send me an e-mail at rsanders@bgco.org or write to me at Baptist Messenger, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City 73112. We always love to hear from our readers.

I have enjoyed writing these editorials from a personal perspective. As I have said from the very beginning, the key to our success does not rest with any one individual. I strongly believe the Baptist Messenger should represent Oklahoma Baptists and should speak according to the deep principles of our faith.

While I will continue to manage and direct editorial content, I have established a voluntary editorial advisory board to help provide the Baptist Messenger with insight regarding current issues, political perspectives and theological concerns deemed important to Baptist life. In the future, editorials will speak on behalf of the Baptist Messenger, not a particular individual. I believe doing so will provide a clearer and stronger voice for all Oklahoma Baptists.

Readers will find more personal insights in my new column titled, “Something to Think About.” We have had very positive feedback for this format on the Messenger Radio program. Don’t forget, you can listen anytime at www.messengerradio.com.

I am excited about what all God has done in 2006. I’m even more excited about what He will accomplish in 2007. Keep your eyes open. Beginning March 1, the new Baptist Messenger will be in a mailbox near you!