Several weeks ago, we “soft launched” an endowment campaign called “Mustard Seeds” to help ensure the Western Recorder continues publishing “until the day of Jesus Christ.” Recently I received a “Mustard Seed” gift from a reader, which was accompanied by a kind note expressing she wanted to be a part of helping the Western Recorder.
“In growing up in a Baptist preacher’s home, I read the Western Recorder regularly,” she wrote. “L.C. Ray was the editor when I was young. When I went to Georgetown College, I met L. C. Ray’s daughter, Carolyn, who became my big sister in the Sigma Kappa Sorority,” she added.
“I am now 87, but I still sing in the sanctuary choir at (my church), and I am sorry I cannot help more in keeping the WR going. I read it from cover to cover!”
What a wonderful testimonial! In just a few lines, she captured two essential ministries of the Western Recorder. First, it keeps pastors and church members informed about the shared work of Kentucky Baptists across the commonwealth. It creates a vital link between Kentuckians in faithfully serving the Lord both now and in the future—a link that serves to keep them actively engaged in the life of the church.
The second ministry is somewhat subtle. She recalled seeing the Western Recorder in her home, where it was read regularly. Just by placing the Western Recorder on a coffee table or beside a favorite reading chair, her parents were communicating their Christian values: about the importance of attending church, of being a Baptist, of supporting our missionaries through the Cooperative Program. The paper provides an effective visual tool for passing our beliefs from one generation to the next, as they remember how it shaped their home life.
As guests visit in the home, where the Western Recorder sits in plain view, the paper amazingly can become a Great Commission witness—a testimony of her parents’ longing to see the gospel spread not just in their community, but across the state and around the globe. Today, just by forwarding its stories on social media, readers are communicating with their friends and neighbors why church membership is so important to them and helping to shape a Christian worldview.
So, when is a state Baptist paper not just a newspaper? When it’s a window through which someone views missions and ministry. When it’s a door someone opens to discover a world in need of prayer and service in Jesus’ name. When it’s a step someone takes that creates a gospel moment to share Christ or leads to a lifelong friendship in the faith. When it’s a light that spurs another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
The note writer’s father understood the paper’s importance in the home. Because he read it then, she continues to read it today “cover to cover.” What a marvelous legacy about Kingdom work her father provided.
Will you encourage others to read the Western Recorder? Will you consider giving a “Mustard Seed” gift, too, to help future generations discover the importance of missions and ministry?