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Farewell to Insight

In final monthly column, McBride ponders Chronicle's role in fellowship

Thirty-eight years after my first column appeared in these pages, this will be my final monthly “Insight” for The Christian Chronicle.

Bailey McBride | Insight

I have enjoyed the long run, but it is time to focus on other projects. My children and grandchildren want an autobiography, and my wife, Linda, and I are talking about a devotional book.

I first learned of the newspaper in 1945, two years after its launch by founder and editor Olan Hicks. My mother and I were worshiping with the San Leandro Church of Christ in California. We met at a men’s lodge but were building a place for the church’s worship. One Sunday, the preacher brought copies of an issue of the Chronicle that had news about our congregation. I didn’t realize at the time the role this newspaper would come to play in my life.

In 1947, the Chronicle carried the story about a preacher named Otis Gatewood who was traveling to Germany to teach the Gospel after the devastation of World War II. I was drawn to the story because Gatewood had converted the Bendios, parents of my best friend, Ricky.

The Chronicle’s strong emphasis on mission work made me a faithful reader — even as the paper changed ownership on a regular basis.

In the late 1970s, John Beckloff, a missionary to Nigeria and alum of Oklahoma Christian College, offered the Chronicle to the school. Bible professor Howard Norton expressed interest in serving as editor and asked me to write a column for the back page.

A group of faithful church leaders met to talk about the paper and its mission, agreeing on goals for the Chronicle: Inform, Unify, Inspire.

That has constituted the mission since the beginning.

My time with the Chronicle has enriched my knowledge of the church and God. My love for this publication will not change, and I pray that it will continue to inform, unify, and inspire this community of believers.

The first issue edited by Norton was in September 1981. My column was called “Church Growth,” and I had most of the back page. For the next four years I wrote about church plants, thriving congregations and mission churches.

As postal regulations changed, the column moved inside the paper and became “Insight.” I would have preferred “Perspectives,” but that name was taken by publisher James O. Baird for his occasional column.

When Norton moved out of the editorship in 1996, the president of Oklahoma Christian University asked me to serve as editor. During my first five years in that role, my greatest concern was the mounting tension between the ultra-conservative church leaders and the very strong progressive leaders. At my first meeting with the trustees of the Chronicle, I asked them to pray that church leaders would focus on unity. The staff worked very hard to keep reporting positive and balanced, focusing on Kingdom growth.

In 1996, Bailey McBride was named editor of The Christian Chronicle.

The first issue I edited in 1996 had a two-page spread on the internet and what it might mean for churches. The next year, the paper celebrated the 100th anniversary of missionary John Sheriff’s ground-breaking work in Africa. As the 20th century closed, the paper reported on the differences and similarities of Islam and Christianity. We began examining the changes in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union.

My time with the Chronicle has enriched my knowledge of the church and God. My love for this publication will not change, and I pray that it will continue to inform, unify, and inspire this community of believers.

CONTACT: [email protected]

Filed under: Bailey McBride Inside Insight Perspectives

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