|For Immediate Release
February 16, 2016
Manassas, VA – Veteran Southern Baptist communicator James A. Smith Sr. has been named Vice President of Communications of the National Religious Broadcasters, NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson announced today.
“Since NRB is a media association, building a first-class communications team must be our highest priority,” Johnson said. “Jim Smith’s proven track record as a media leader makes him the right man, at the right time, for all the right reasons."
Smith, who will begin duties with NRB on March 1, has been Executive Editor and Chief Spokesman of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, since June 2013, having previously served at the seminary, 1997-2001. Before returning to Southern Seminary, he was Executive Editor of Florida Baptist Witness, 2001-2013.
In his role with NRB, which is a new position for the organization, Smith will lead all communications functions of the historic evangelical organization that is based in the Washington, DC-area. NRB’s mission is to advance biblical truth, promote media excellence, and defend free speech. Founded in 1944 by 150 radio broadcasters, the network today has more than 1,200 members with a weekly, cumulative listenership/readership of more than 60 million, covering the full range of communications platforms.
“Besides coming to us highly-rated as a journalist, Smith’s expertise in the evangelical world and the Washington, DC, public policy scene are a perfect fit for NRB,” Dr. Johnson said. “He knows the NRB landscape and has already helped us on special projects, such as the 2015 and 2016 annual Conventions. I am thrilled we can work together full-time.”
Smith said, “I’m excited by the opportunity to join the NRB staff and to serve with Jerry Johnson in advancing this important kingdom ministry that also benefits our society. Johnson is a visionary evangelical leader who has already had a transformational impact on NRB in his two years as President.”
While noting he has much yet to learn about the organization, Smith said, “It’s clear to me that NRB serves Christian communicators in a way that cannot be done by any other organization. With mounting cultural challenges, NRB’s ministry has never been more vital, especially because of our members’ uncompromising commitment to the unchanging Gospel message that is the only hope for humanity.”
Smith added, “I’m eager to get started.”
Southern Seminary President Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. commended NRB on the appointment.
“Jim Smith is one of the great Christian journalists of our times,” said Dr. Mohler. “He understands communications from the inside out and goes to this position with the NRB with unprecedented experience. He is also a Christian leader marked by deep Christian conviction and tested by years of devoted Christian service. We will miss him greatly at Southern Seminary, but I heartily congratulate NRB and President Jerry Johnson on this announcement.”
Smith expressed appreciation for his time at Southern Seminary.
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity — again — to serve Southern Seminary, and especially to work closely with Dr. Mohler,” Smith said. “As an alumnus, administrator, and former trustee, I’m ‘Southern for Life,’ as we say here. I love Southern Seminary and will always be grateful to the Lord for having had such a long, enriching relationship to this special institution.”
During both terms of service at Southern, Smith oversaw the editorial content of the seminary’s publications, supervised the seminary’s news operation, and led public and media relations.
In Smith’s 12 years at Florida Baptist Witness, the official newspaper of the Florida Baptist State Convention, he emphasized coverage on missions, theology, and moral concerns. His editorials took a strong, conservative position on issues within the denomination and in the broader culture.
In 2011-2012, he served as President of the Association of State Baptist Publications, the fellowship of Southern Baptist newspaper editors.
Previously, Smith worked in public relations at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. Also, he was the first Washington, DC, staff member of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, serving 1989-1995. After graduating college, Smith was Director of Communications for the Republican Study Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1987-1989.
An ordained Southern Baptist minister who has served also in pastoral ministry, Smith, 51, earned a master of divinity degree from Southern Seminary in 1999 and holds a bachelors degree from Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, TX. He and his wife, Linda, are parents to two adult children, James Andrew Smith, Jr., and Lauren Garner, and the proud grandparents of Benjamin and Stella Garner.
Thousands of Christian media and ministry professionals will gather February 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville for Proclaim 16: NRB International Christian Media Convention, the organization’s annual gathering, to make strategic connections, to acquire new resources, and to discover the latest tips, trends, and insights in their respective fields of work.
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
About Proclaim 16
The annual NRB International Christian Media Convention is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assist those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic Exposition consists of around 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their organizations. Also on the Expo floor in 2016 will be an interactive exhibit presented by Museum of the Bible that chronicles the remarkable history of the Bible, from its transmission and translation to its impact and controversies. The upcoming Convention, Proclaim 16, will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, February 23-26, 2016. The NRB Digital Media Summit, a pre-Convention event, will be held on February 22, 2016. Other summits that will take place during the week of Proclaim 16 include the Radio Summit, TV Summit, Church Media Summit, International Summit, Film & Entertainment Summit, and Donor Development Summit. There will also be a special Pastors Track. For more information, go to www.nrbconvention.org.
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