The Louisiana Baptist Message is a voice of and to Louisiana Baptists.
We exist to inform and equip members of our community of faith to fully participate in the cooperative ministries and missions that define our fellowship of churches at the local, state and national levels. Likewise, we represent the work of our churches to other like-minded faith communities within the Southern Baptist family and to the public at large. The Baptist Message helps our churches to share their values and beliefs to the world.
There were a number of attempts to establish a newspaper to serve our churches, including the Louisiana Baptist in 1855, and even an effort to recognize the Mississippi Baptist Record as the official media outlet for Louisiana Baptists. However, in 1885 messengers to the state annual meeting asked the denomination to create a newspaper of its own. A committee reported to the 1886 Convention that “a paper as a private enterprise, meeting the demands of our denomination and having the active cooperation of all Baptist in the state, can be made a success.” Subsequently, the Baptist Chronicle (launched in 1885) was adopted by messengers in 1887 as Louisiana Baptists’ official newspaper.
In 1919, the state Convention purchased the newspaper and changed the name to the Baptist Message.
W.C. Friley (1885) was editor of the Baptist Chronicle when it was launched late in 1886 with its editorial offices in Shreveport. The paper was a private enterprise. However, the Louisiana Baptist Convention sponsored the publication and promised to support it.
W.S. Penick (1887) was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Shreveport when he was named editor. The LBC adopted the Chronicle as its official journal the same year.
R.M. Boone (1888-1903) bought the paper and assumed duties as editor and continued in this role until he sold the Chronicle to a stock company. The paper was edited by successive owners Bruce Benton, J. Benjamin Lawrence and David Lawrence.
E.O. Ware (1912-1919) bought the newspaper and as owner/editor published the paper in Alexandria until 1919, when a “holding committee,” acting on their own authority, acquired the Baptist Chronicle from Ware for $8,000 and subsequently sold the company to the LBC.
W.H. Barton (1919-1920) was named the first editor of the newly named Baptist Message. Upon Barton’s resignation the editorial office was moved to Shreveport where the Convention offices were located.
Finley W. Tinnin (1920-1957) served as editor and business manager for 37 years.
James F. Cole (1958-1978) followed Tinnin and served as editor for 20 years before resigning to take a position with the Baylor Alumni Association, his alma mater.
Lynn Clayton (1978-2005) succeeded Cole and led the state paper for 27 years before retiring.
Kelly Boggs (2006-2015) served nine years as editor before taking a position at Mary Hardin Baylor, his alma mater.
Will Hall (2015-present) , a retired naval aviator and an evangelist, who had served 10 years as vice president for news with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee and as executive editor of Baptist Press, Southern Baptists’ national news service, became editor on June 1, 2015.