FRESNO – “OK, Lord, I’ve got 20 blank pages. What are we going to do this month?” Holly Smith, managing editor of the California Southern Baptist (CSB), seeks God’s guidance and design for every issue of the monthly newsjournal of California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC).
Holly learned total reliance on God during a very difficult period of her life 28 years ago. With only God to rely on, He taught her that He alone is faithful and sufficient for every need – even meeting publishing deadlines.
“I don’t want this to sound too simplistic, but I’m always amazed,” Holly said. “The Lord faithfully provides interesting stories for every issue. I’m not a designer, so I rely on his guidance and creativity to show me what to do.”
Holly is responsible for all aspects of the paper’s production, as well as advertising, billing, and circulation management. As a good steward of limited resources, she generates stories from pictures and text submitted by churches, from other state papers, and from Baptist Press articles interesting to Californians. The California Southern Baptist is part of the CSBC Communications Group and the paper’s staff is small; consequently, it is not possible to send reporters around the state for news coverage.
“My goal for the paper is to encourage our church members by showing them how God is working in California. I want the CSB to be readable and enjoyable and mean something. It would be a great help to have people provide more information about their churches,” Holly said.
Holly is a businessperson with a ministry heart. Born and raised in Fresno, Holly’s connection to the Convention started at age two when her mother began working for the Sunday School Department. Her father worked in the composing room of the Fresno Bee for 30 years. She brings personal understanding of Convention life and a gift for writing and the language to the CSB.
“I was a fixture around here as a child,” Holly related. “I got a job with the Baptist Book Store when I came back from college. The bookstore was in the Convention building at that time. I began working for CSBC 22 years ago. It’s been a gradual transition from one responsibility to the next – the Lord has just opened doors and kind of shoved me through.”
Music is a huge part of who Holly is. Following her mom’s example, she began playing piano for church when she was 13. Although she battles daily with chronic fatigue syndrome, she is on the worship team of Copper Springs Church in Clovis, playing piano for two morning worship services.
“He has provided strength for things that I really shouldn’t have been able to do. When I’m so tired that I think I can’t go on, He sustains me for what He has called me to do,” Holly confided. “First Peter 4:11 says to do all that you do in the strength that God provides so that in everything He is glorified.”
Holly recites this line from her favorite hymn every day: “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”
Holly’s message to California Southern Baptists:
“This verse provides me with great comfort in days of stress: ‘We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: to those who are called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28, HCSB). Satan knows how to make our days dark, and he does not play fair. However, Christ-followers are already victorious. Keep the faith. Keep on keeping on, and do not get discouraged. There is so much in the world today that could drag us down if we let it, so don’t let the enemy win – Jesus is faithful.”
Holly’s prayer requests:
Pray that the Lord will continue to provide news and stories for publication that will encourage and uplift California Southern Baptists.
Pray that the Lord will continue to guide the newspaper staff when making decisions.
Pray for generous giving to the California Mission Offering and the Cooperative Program.
Pray for God’s touch as Holly faces personal and health related issues.
Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He will raise up harvest hands.
Praise God for His great faithfulness.
Praise God for His daily presence as we work on the California Southern Baptist.
Praise God for bringing His light to the people groups of California.
Did you know?
The California Southern Baptist is published monthly as a Cooperative Program ministry of California Southern Baptist Convention. The CSB presents God at work around the state. Subscriptions are $9.50 per year for individuals and 66 cents per address per month for bulk subscriptions. Subscribe online at www.csbc.com or send address information with a check payable to CSBC to the California Southern Baptist, 678 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno CA 93710; or call 559-229-9533, ext. 225. Send news submissions and digital pictures to the above address or to email@example.com.
Holly’s contact information
Managing Editor, The CSB
678 E. Shaw Avenue
Fresno CA 93710-7704