On May 15, the Baptist Messenger will reach a milestone that few publications do. We will celebrate our 110th anniversary.
In 1912—the year the Messenger was born—a number of other notable events occurred. The Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14 and would tragically sink. Nabisco debuted its now famous Oreo cookie. Speaking of cookies makes me think of milk, which according to records cost 36 cents a gallon in 1912. Meanwhile, the price for an annual subscription to the Baptist Messenger was $2.
Much has changed through the decades, but the mission to advance the Gospel and to inspire and inform Oklahoma Baptists, has remained. In the Aug. 9, 1962 edition of the Messenger (which commemorated the 50-year anniversary), it said:
“Fifty years ago, the Baptist Messenger began as a dream in the heart of a man. He was a Baptist preacher who had moved to the new state of Oklahoma from Washington, D.C. He saw that Oklahoma Baptists needed a publication which would unite them in spirit and effort… C.P. Stealey saw the need for a Baptist paper which would promote the causes, stand for the truth and provide a spiritual blessing to the churches and people.”
From that vision, through the decades, to today, the Baptist Messenger has fulfilled that very role.
The inaugural edition on May 15, 1912, contained stories about the work of the Foreign (Now International) and Home (Now North American) Mission Boards, Christian education, teaching about Christian doctrine and theology and the Oklahoma Baptist Orphans’ Home.
It was not long after that the convention’s board determined that the Baptist Messenger should become its official news journal and purchased the newspaper from Stealey for $5,000 under the condition that he would continue to serve as editor. Since Stealey’s era, 10 others have served as editor of the newspaper.
Today, the Baptist Messenger is mailed to nearly 40,000 households every edition, making it one of the largest newspapers in the state of Oklahoma. In 2010, the “Messenger Insight Podcast” program was launched and continues to produce weekly episodes. The next year, Messenger Digital was launched, a full online edition of the Baptist Messenger, along with the Messenger Mobile companion app (available in the Google Play and Apple app stores).
In the time between our founding to today, many events and much ministry has occurred. There, all along, the Baptist Messenger has been there to report it.
We sometimes get asked about how to see the future outlook of the Baptist Messenger. My reply is that the future looks bright. I say this not out of presumptuousness, but because I believe the future of Oklahoma Baptists looks bright.
After all, the Baptist Messenger is but a reflection of you, our readers. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “I assure you: A servant is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16).
Much in the way that Oklahoma Baptist University is “our university,” as Oklahoma Baptists, we want you always to view the Baptist Messenger as “our publication.” To that end, whether it’s the print or online edition, the podcast or the blog, we truly hope you continue to enjoy the Baptist Messenger, your publication! And today we want to say 110 “thank you’s” for reading the Messenger!