Veteran Southern Baptist journalist James A. Smith Sr. joins Southwestern Seminary staff
Veteran Southern Baptist journalist and communicator James A. Smith Sr. has been appointed director of public relations at The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Adam W. Greenway announced Thursday, Oct. 17.
“Jim Smith is one of the Southern Baptist Convention’s most respected journalists and gifted communicators who brings a wealth of public relations experience and denominational service to this critical new position at Southwestern Seminary,” said Greenway. “I have known Jim for a number of years, and having served alongside him previously, I know firsthand the quality of his work and the quantity of his gifts. I am thankful for the Lord’s kindness in bringing Jim and his wife, Linda, to serve with us in this strategic moment in the history of Southwestern Seminary.”
In this role, Smith will oversee the newly formed Office of Public Relations. He will serve as executive editor of Southwestern News, the seminary’s magazine; executive editor of Seminary Hill Press; and will manage all coverage of seminary news and events. Smith will also serve as the primary point of contact for external media.
“Jim is a trusted leader, capable communicator, and committed Southern Baptist,” said Colby T. Adams, vice president for strategic initiatives. “I am confident in his ability to help us more effectively tell the story of God‘s work on Seminary Hill and through the men and women being sent out from Fort Worth to serve the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and to reach the nations with the Gospel.”
Smith is no stranger to Seminary Hill and the Fort Worth-Dallas metroplex. In the fall of 1979, at the age of 14, Smith moved to Fort Worth and lived on campus for two years as his father pursued theological education. Smith’s father, Floyd Smith, went on to become a two-time alumnus of Southwestern Seminary. The younger Smith went on to graduate from a Fort Worth high school and Dallas Baptist University.
“When President Greenway speaks of Southwestern Seminary as ‘Home Sweet Dome,’ it resonates powerfully with me, since returning to this campus is very much a homecoming,” said Smith. “I’m thrilled by this wonderful opportunity to join the extraordinary faculty and staff God has called to serve at Southern Baptists’ ‘crown jewel’ during this time of renewal. It’s an incredible blessing to help tell the story of God’s ongoing work through this historic institution.”
Smith comes to Southwestern Seminary having recently served as vice president of communications at the National Religious Broadcasters Association in Washington, D.C., where he led all communication functions for the historic evangelical organization. Prior to his service at NRB, Smith served from 2013–2016 as executive editor and chief spokesman at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., having previously served at the seminary from 1997-2001.
From 2001 to 2013, Smith was executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. In this role, Smith expanded the newspaper’s coverage to emphasize missions, theology, and moral concerns. In 2011-2012, Smith served as president of the Association of State Baptist Publications, the fellowship of Southern Baptist newspaper editors.
Previously, Smith worked in public relations at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., from 1995-1997. Also, he was the first Washington, D.C., staff member of the Christian Life Commission, now known as the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, serving from 1989-1995. After graduating college, Smith was director of communications for the Republican Study Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1987-1989.
An ordained Southern Baptist minister who has served also in pastoral ministry, Smith, 54, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary in 1999. The Smiths are parents to Lauren (and Chris) Garner and James A. Smith Jr., and are proud grandparents to Benjamin and Stella Garner.