Mark Wingfield, the associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, has been named executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global, BNG’s board of directors has announced.
Wingfield, 58, will take the helm of the independent, reader-supported news organization July 1. David Wilkinson, his predecessor, will retire June 30.
Wingfield said he is eager to build on the sturdy foundation already in place at BNG.
“We need strong, fact-based, independent journalism today more than ever before,” he said. “BNG has become one of the most trusted news sources not only for Baptists but for a large swath of the Christian world in the United States and beyond.”
Wingfield comes uniquely equipped with the administrative and journalism expertise the organization needs to meet the challenges ahead, BNG board chair Janice Anderson said.
“The most obvious experience is his history as a Baptist journalist through turbulent times in the past,” said Anderson, a retired business executive in Houston, Texas. “His more recent experience in a local church adds a perspective that will inform BNG’s editorial content and shape our fundraising activities.”
Wingfield followed his calling into Baptist journalism at age 20 with an internship at the Baptist New Mexican – the weekly newspaper of New Mexico Baptists. He then served as assistant editor while completing his journalism degree at the University of New Mexico.
From there he helped document some of the most contentious moments in the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. He served as director of news and information at Southwestern Seminary and held the same title at the SBC Home Mission Board. He was editor of the Western Recorder Baptist newspaper in Kentucky and managing editor of the Baptist Standard in Texas.
Wingfield is no stranger to BNG. He joined its board of directors in 2012 and has been one of its leading opinion writers. He has served on the CBF Missions Council and has extensive fundraising experience with nonprofits and churches.
At Wilshire he oversees some 100 full- and part-time staff, including 12 ministers. He also has been heavily involved in the congregation’s high-profile pastoral residency program.
Wingfield has authored three books, including Why Churches Need to Talk about Sexuality, published in December.
Board member Dan Lattimore, a retired administrator and journalism professor at the University of Memphis, described Wingfield as the leader BNG needs.
“He is a talented writer and editor with a good sense of fairness, objectivity and empathy with his audience,” Lattimore said. “His unique blend of church administration experience with years of journalistic work make him an ideal choice as executive director and publisher for BNG.”
Wilkinson described Wingfield as a gifted thinker, journalist and editor well qualified to lead the organization.
“He has been an informed and influential member of the board of directors, and he will be an effective shaper and leader of BNG’s distinctive mission of independent journalism for people of faith,” Wilkinson said.
George Mason, the senior pastor at Wilshire, said BNG has landed “a communication genius” with a knack for staying ahead of trends.
“BNG is getting a comprehensive leader who understands journalism, organization, fundraising, and our Baptist world,” Mason said.
Wingfield embodies the ways in which journalism can be a ministry, Mason added.
“Journalism is about news, and ministry is about bearing witness to the good news that heals and saves,” Mason said. “These are related callings. It’s not hard to see how the one is related to the other.”
Wingfield expressed gratitude that Wilkinson and Greg Warner, the retired executive editor of Associate Baptist Press, BNG’s predecessor, prepared the way for him.
“They were the primary drivers of this vision over the past 30 years,” he said.
Wingfield said his nearly 17 years at Wilshire also prepared him for his new role.
“It’s obvious these are challenging days for journalism and for managing nonprofit ministries,” he said. “I feel certain in the calling to do this work.”