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Howe named EC VP of communications

NASHVILLE (BP) — Jonathan P. Howe has been named vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee effective Sept. 5.

Officers of the Executive Committee approved Howe upon recommendation of EC President Ronnie Floyd during an Aug. 28 conference call.

Howe, of Franklin, Tenn., will oversee all SBC Executive Committee communications including SBC.net, SBC LIFE, Baptist Press, social media initiatives and other media and messaging strategies.

Howe most recently served as director of strategic initiatives with LifeWay Christian Resources, a position he held for six of his eight years at the organization. In that role, he was responsible for the content strategy and marketing of ThomRainer.com, EdStetzer.com and LifeWayPastors.com.

He is also co-host of “SBC This Week,” a weekly podcast he and Amy Whitfield of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary have produced since June 2015. See related BP stories here and here. At LifeWay, Howe also hosted and produced weekly podcast episodes of “Rainer on Leadership” and “Revitalize & Replant” and developed and implemented a new content strategy for FactsAndTrends.net.

“Jonathan Howe is one of the younger and most influential voices in Southern Baptist life,” Floyd told BP. “He understands the various channels of communication in our world today and, as our vice president of communications, he will help us communicate God’s truth and our vision in current ways.”

Floyd noted that SBC This Week will soon become the official podcast of the Executive Committee.

Howe and Whitfield, Floyd said, “who love the work of our convention, have done so much to forward and advance our work to all Southern Baptists.”

Whitfield said of Howe, “Jonathan is an incredibly gifted communications professional, but even more than that, his genuine commitment to Southern Baptist cooperation is unmatched. He will be a tremendous asset to the Executive Committee and the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Ryan Whitley, pastor of CrossPoint Church in Trussville, Ala., was a spiritual mentor to Howe. He told BP, “I’ve walked with Jonathan Howe for the last 10-plus years of life and ministry and I’ve never seen a young man more prepared for this position than him. Spiritually sharp, doctrinally sound and culturally acute, Jonathan is ready to serve the SBC. I love him. I’m proud of him, and I cannot wait to specifically see how the Lord uses him.”

Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, told Baptist Press he frequently tapped into Howe’s breadth of experiences in both communications and denominational life to help NAMB leverage communications strategies for maximum impact.

“Jonathan Howe loves Southern Baptists and has a passion to see us pursue excellence in all we do as a faith family,” he said. “His ability to discern the critical issues we face and then fairly present the options will be extremely helpful to the SBC in the days ahead. He is an excellent choice and an incredible addition to Dr. Floyd’s team at the Executive Committee.”

Howe received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master of arts in theological studies from Criswell College. He also previously worked with Woman’s Missionary Union’s (WMU) New Hope Publishing, was a middle school teacher at Memorial Christian Academy in Houston, Texas, was a marketing representative for the Birmingham Barons baseball team in Birmingham, Ala., and was coordinator of all athletic events for McNeese State University.

Howe currently teaches Sunday School at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, where his wife Beth serves on staff as minister to children. They have four children — Ethan, 15, Parker, 12, Micah, 6, and Avery, 5.

“We are very excited to have Jonathan join our team,” Floyd noted. “He and his wife Beth love the local church. Pray for Jonathan as he helps us serve the churches, state conventions, and national entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Oldham to oversee convention relations

In a related move, Roger S. (Sing) Oldham, who was elected as vice president of convention relations in 2007 and had his duties expanded to include administrative oversight of communications in 2010, was reassigned to his previous role and given additional duties.

In convention relations, Oldham has worked to develop and strengthen relationships with numerous convention-wide and state and associational ministry groups supported by the SBC’s cooperating churches; respond to media and other inquiries about the convention, interpreting the SBC to its “internal and external publics”; and serve as the EC liaison to the SBC Resolutions Committee. These duties have been expanded to include responsibilities that were previously assigned to the convention policy division headed by D. August (Augie) Boto, who announced last month that he will retire as EC executive vice president at the end of September.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated Sept. 5 with new details in the fourth graph.

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