COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Don Hinkle, founding editor of The Pathway, was installed president of the Association of Southern Baptist Publications (ASBP) during the group’s meeting here Feb. 10-13. He succeeds Cameron Crabtree, editor of the Northwest Baptist. Hinkle, 59, will preside over the group’s meetings at the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting June 9-11 in Baltimore and in February in Perdido Beach, Ala.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my fellow state newspaper editors and pledge to help them in any way,” Hinkle said. “I am most grateful to God for the privilege of serving as editor of a newspaper did not even exist 12 years ago but now goes into more than 23,000 Missouri Baptist homes and with our new website touches more than 50,000 readers each issue. The many awards bestowed on The Pathway are a testimony to the outstanding work of its talented staff and we are thankful for God’s blessing.”
The ASBP is comprised of editors of the state convention newspapers and websites throughout the SBC. Though the organization has gone through several name changes, it has existed since 1895. The association’s 41 state convention news publications have a circulation of approximately 780,000, with an estimated readership of more than 1.5 million Southern Baptists. The association also has associate members comprised of representatives from all of the SBC entities as well as the WMU. The primary goal of the association is to provide professional development opportunities while also operating under an agreed “Statement of Principles” that provide professional guidelines and accountability as to the conduct of the membership.
Hinkle was hired by the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board in June 2002 and was tasked with establishing a new, official newspaper for the MBC. That need arose when Word & Way trustees voted to become self-perpetuating. After multiple requests by the MBC to the breakaway trustees to engage in binding Christian arbitration were rebuffed, the convention filed a lawsuit to restore MBC-elected trustees to the Word & Way board, an action that was later dropped due – in large part – to the popularity of The Pathway. The Executive Board ultimately stripped Word & Way of its title as the MBC’s official newspaper, evicted it from the Baptist Building and banned it from covering board meetings, leaving those privileges exclusively to The Pathway after naming it the MBC’s official newspaper.
Hinkle, an author and award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in the field, has worked as a reporter and editor for four daily newspapers: The Tennessean (in Nashville), The Courier-Journal (in Louisville, Ky.) and The Daily Press in Newport News, Va. He was editor of The Daily Herald in Columbia, Tenn., before entering the ministry in 1997. An Air Force veteran, Hinkle earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va., in 1988. He has since earned a master of arts degree in Christian Education and a master of theology degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He has done post-graduate studies with The Acton Institute for Religious Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich., the WORLD (magazine) Journalism Institute in Asheville, N.C., and was commissioned a Centurion by the late Chuck Colson after studying at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Lansdowne, Va.
Hinkle was named the MBC’s director of public policy by MBC Executive Director John Yeats in 2012. He serves as the convention staff representative to the MBC Christian Life Commission, providing advice on various projects designed to inform Missouri Baptist churches on public policy matters. He maintains communications with state lawmakers and other statewide, pro-family, pro-life organizations. Hinkle also serves on the board of directors of The Missouri Roundtable For Life, one of Missouri’s leading pro-life, pro-family organizations. Hinkle and his wife, Bernadette, live in Jefferson City and are members of Concord Baptist Church.
He earned a master of art’s degree in Christian Education in May 1998. Ordained into the Gospel ministry in August 1998, he was accepted into the PhD. program at Southern a year later. He ultimately earned a Master of Theology degree (ThM.) in May 2010.