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SBC DIGEST: Lifeway launches Bible studies for Deaf; Leadership change at MBC’s The Pathway

Lifeway launches free Bible study library for Deaf ministries

By Aaron Wilson/Lifeway Christian Resources

NASHVILLE (BP) – In Romans 10, Paul states that faith comes through hearing. And for many Christians who experience deafness, hearing comes through signing.

To assist ministries that serve people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Lifeway Christian Resources has launched the “Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library,” a collection of studies using text with simplified language to facilitate American Sign Language. This format allows Bible study leaders to more easily sign talking points and discussion questions for group members. The collection is free for Bible study groups for the Deaf, with permission to make copies of the studies as needed.

“The ‘Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library’ is written specifically by and for people who are deaf and makes it possible for these Bible study groups to touch all the books of the Bible,” said Dwayne McCrary, manager of adult ongoing Bible studies at Lifeway. “We’re excited to provide this free library to help people who use American Sign Language dive into the richness of God’s Word.”

“Explore the Bible” studies are structured around a book-by-book philosophy for reading and examining Scripture. Each study in the Deaf digital library includes lessons for three months focusing on a single book of the Bible or a set of related books, like Job and Ecclesiastes. The library also contains lessons for Christmas, Easter and a special emphasis on the sanctity of human life.

In addition to the 55 lessons already available in the online library, Lifeway plans to add around two studies a year until every book of the Bible is represented. “Explore the Bible Deaf” studies are currently in development for Philippians, Colossians and Philemon; 1&2 Thessalonians; 1&2 Kings; Micah; and Jeremiah and Lamentations.

At the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, a motion was made for Lifeway to research the feasibility to produce and provide access to resources for existing and future ministries for the Deaf in the U.S. The “Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library” is a direct response to that motion, McCrary said.

“This online library, when it’s complete, will grant the Deaf community greater access to the entire breadth of God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation,” he said. “The fact that this resource is free and 100 percent reproducible for churches will help equip more congregations to serve people in their communities who rely on sign language to communicate.”

More information about the “Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library” can be found at Lifeway.com.

Hinkle to be named editor emeritus, will focus on MBC’s public policy effort

By The Pathway Staff

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP) – Don Hinkle, founding editor of The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), has announced that, effective on Jan. 1, 2023, he will step aside to focus entirely on his role as the MBC’s public policy advisor. Hinkle will hold the title editor emeritus at the newspaper.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Pathway and of Hinkle’s tenure as editor. For several years, Hinkle has served as both the newspaper’s editor and the state convention’s public policy advisor. He announced his departure from the newspaper to MBC executive board members Aug. 30.

Don Hinkle, founding editor of The Pathway, announces transitions coming to the newspaper next year during the plenary session of the Missouri Baptist Convention executive board meeting Aug. 30.

“It has been a privilege to serve as editor of your state newspaper,” Hinkle told the board members. “It doesn’t belong to me. It doesn’t belong to anyone here in this building. It belongs to you. It belongs to the churches of the Missouri Baptist Convention. And I want to thank you for the privilege and the opportunity to answer God’s call. …

“And after 20 years now, I can tell you that God is at work in Missouri. He has done a marvelous thing in bringing unity and growth to the Missouri Baptist Convention, and I’m so thankful I’ve had the opportunity to document it as editor of The Pathway. … I’m not sad because it’s over. I’m glad that it happened.”

During Hinkle’s tenure, The Pathway has become the fourth-largest paid circulation newspaper in Missouri, and its print and online editions have won numerous professional awards.

An Air Force veteran, Hinkle has been a reporter for The Daily Press in Newport News, Va., The Tennessean in Nashville, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., and was editor of The Daily Herald in Columbia, Tenn. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va., and master’s degrees in Christian education and theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute and is a fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Hinkle also announced that Benjamin Hawkins, who currently serves as associate editor of The Pathway, will become editor in 2023.

“When I hired Dr. Benjamin Hawkins several years ago, I had in mind and I felt the Lord telling me, ‘Don, get this young man ready. The kingdom work must go on, and the day will come when you will have to pass the baton to another generation,’” Hinkle said. “And it is with great joy that I do that. So you should have great confidence in Dr. Hawkins as he takes over as acting editor of The Pathway, effective Jan. 1.”

Hawkins has served as Pathway associate editor since 2013, prior to which he served as senior writer in the communications office at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has also contributed to other publications, including Baptist Press, Focus on the Family Magazine and Focus on the Family’s Daily Citizen (formerly, Citizen Magazine). After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Hawkins completed master’s and doctoral degrees in theology from Southwestern Seminary.

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