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John Yeats to lead proposed communications team for La.

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–The board of trustees for the Louisiana Baptist Convention newspaper, the Baptist Message, met Aug. 30, 2005. The agenda for the meeting included a unanimous proposal from the editor search committee for a new editor and a requested plan to improve overall communications for Louisiana Baptists.

The Baptist Message trustees voted to approve a plan to improve communications that includes a recommendation to the Louisiana Baptist Convention, Nov. 14-15. The plan involves dissolution of the Baptist Message Corporation and requests that governance of the state paper be absorbed into the executive board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Under the plan the Baptist Message becomes part of the communications team of the state missions services staff in Alexandria, La.

A two-thirds vote of the members of the corporation is needed for this resolution to pass. Members of the corporation are the church congregations of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and messengers from each congregation will have the opportunity to vote on the resolution in November at First Baptist Church, West Monroe, La.

Also in the meeting, Baptist Message trustees requested that David Hankins, executive director for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, recommend to the LBC executive board that John Yeats be elected as the new communications team director for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Yeats was the unanimous choice of the editor search committee. Yeats is currently the editor of Oklahoma’s Baptist Messenger and the recording secretary for the Southern Baptist Convention.

The communications team is envisioned to be a multifaceted group. Not only does it include the cornerstone of the Baptist Message, it also includes other fields of communications for Louisiana Baptists. Those additional areas include responsibilities for public relations, Web services, publications, advertising, multimedia, graphics and other digital media as well as promotion for the Cooperative Program and other needs as they arise. The executive board is expected to consider this matter in its Sept. 27 meeting. If approved, Yeats would begin serving around Nov. 1.

Larry Thompson, pastor of Westlake First Baptist Church, is chairman of the Baptist Message board and a member of the search committee. Thompson noted, “As the search committee listened to John Yeats, we became convinced he was God’s man to serve Louisiana Baptists for this task. He has superb skills, a successful track record in ministry and communications, a vibrant Christian witness, and has a wonderful family. As Dr. Yeats shared his vision about a comprehensive, cohesive communication system that would reach all Louisiana Baptists in an effective and compelling way, the search committee also became convinced that this unified method would better serve the churches of the LBC. We are enthusiastic about the man and the method, and recommend both to the executive Board and the convention.”

Upon the approval by the messengers of the convention to dissolve the Baptist Message Corporation, Yeats also would become the new editor of the Baptist Message newspaper which would continue to be published as a part of his responsibilities as director of communications for the LBC executive board.

“I am excited about the prospect of John Yeats serving as our director of communications for the Louisiana Baptist Convention,” Hankins said, “and am hopeful the convention will bring the paper under his direction. I believe that if the process goes forward, as is recommended, it will put us light years ahead of where we are in the communications process for our convention. This concept will not only take the Baptist Message to a new level but it will help our convention be more efficient and would be a step forward for the Louisiana Baptist Convention as we minister in the 21st century.”

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