Veteran Southern Baptist communicator James A. Smith Sr. has been named as National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) vice president of communications, effective March 1.
NRB President Jerry A. Johnson, in making the announcement Feb. 16, stated in a news release, “Since NRB is a media association, building a first-class communications team must be our highest priority. Jim Smith’s proven track record as a media leader makes him the right man, at the right time, for all the right reasons.”
Smith, 51, has been executive editor and chief spokesman for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., since June 2013, having previously served at the seminary from 1997-2001, both times overseeing editorial content of the seminary’s publications, supervising the seminary’s news operation and leading public and media relations.
Smith was executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, newsjournal of the Florida Baptist State Convention, from 2001-2013, and was the 2011-2012 president of the Association of State Baptist Publications, the fellowship of Southern Baptist newspaper editors. In Smith’s 12 years at the Witness, he emphasized coverage of missions, theology and moral concerns and wrote editorials that took a conservative position on issues within the denomination and in the broader culture.
In his role with NRB, which is a new position for the organization, Smith will lead all communications related to NRB’s mission to advance biblical truth, promote media excellence and defend free speech.
Johnson said Smith’s “expertise in the evangelical world and the Washington, D.C., public policy scene are a perfect fit for NRB. He knows the NRB landscape and has already helped us on special projects, such as the 2015 and 2016 annual conventions.”
Smith was the first Washington staff member of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, serving from 1989-1995, and was director of communications for the Republican Study Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987-1989.
NRB, located in Manassas, Va., in the Washington area, has grown from 150 radio broadcasters at its founding in 1944 to more than 1,200 members with a weekly cumulative listenership/readership of more than 60 million, covering the full range of communications platforms.
Smith stated in the news release that NRB “serves Christian communicators in a way that cannot be done by any other organization. With mounting cultural challenges, NRB’s ministry has never been more vital, especially because of our members’ uncompromising commitment to the unchanging Gospel message that is the only hope for humanity.”
An ordained Southern Baptist minister who has served also in pastoral ministry, Smith holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University.
He and his wife Linda have two adult children, James Andrew Smith Jr. and Lauren Garner, and two grandchildren.