Our founders launched the Baptist News, predecessor to the Baptist Standard, on December 6, 1888. They intended to unify Baptists across Texas so they could accomplish far more together than they ever could do as individual churches.
Specifically, they sought to rally churches in support of the newly formed Baptist General Convention of Texas. Their strategy worked: The BGCT became the largest state or regional Baptist group anywhere. And the Baptist Standard became a leading newspaper for Baptists, not only in Texas, but also across the globe.
For the first quarter-century, individuals owned the Baptist Standard. But not long after the dawn of the 20th century, a group of legendary Texas Baptist leaders—including George W. Truett, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas; R.C. Buckner, founder of the Buckner International ministry to children and families; and J.B. Gambrell, educator, editor and statesman—bought the company and gave it to the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Since 1914, the BGCT has owned Baptist Standard Publishing. The convention elects 75 percent of our board of directors, and the board itself elects the remaining 25 percent.
For more than a century, Baptist Standard Publishing focused on one task—publishing a newspaper. In the early 1900s, the company also published books. But our stock-in-trade was the Baptist Standard newspaper. When the Internet became broadly available to the public in the 1990s, the Standard’s staff and board of directors began to explore possibilities for harnessing such a vital communications tool.
Soon, we began posting on our website, www.baptiststandard.com, all the content we published in the newspaper. Because the web is not constrained by the same space limitations that bind a printed publication, we quickly began adding other features, such as Sunday school lessons, blogs, posted comments and additional news.
In 2008, Baptist Standard Publishing began planning FaithVillage.com, a social network and resources website for Christians, with an emphasis on teens and young adults. A test version of FaithVillage premiered in February 2012, and the site went public later that year.
In 2012, we also explored how to deliver our news more effectively and efficiently, as well as how to reverse circulation declines and reach a younger audience while remaining faithful to our older readers. This study led us to shift delivery of the Baptist Standard from newsprint to a digital-only version.
At the same time, Baptist Standard Publishing launched CommonCall, a monthly human-interest and inspirational magazine that features people living out their faith, issues important to Christians’ daily lives and best practices for churches. We shifted to the digital Baptist Standard, upgraded our general website and launched CommonCall in January 2013.
Read These 125th Anniversary Reflections:
• The Baptist Standard and Kennedy’s election
• Baptist Standard: Watchman on the wall
• Reflection on a reporter’s responsibility
• Change, constancy and truth-telling