“Some of the best people you’ll come across tend to work in anonymity,” he said, referring to what he enjoys most about being the production editor for The Christian Index — Georgia Baptist Convention’s biweekly newspaper. “They give of themselves to others and it’s just in their nature to be humble about it.
“Those are the stories I enjoy most; these people saw a need and — compelled by their faith — worked toward meeting that need. My part isn’t about making sure they get credit for it as much as to let others know these selfless people are out there. Hopefully the reader will have that moment of ‘Hmmm, is there anything I can be doing?’”
Name: Scott Barkley
Occupation (title): Production editor, The Christian Index — newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention
City of residence: Cartersville
Family: Amy, wife; children Rylee, 11, Jackson, 7, Bryce, 4, and Charlotte, 3.
Education: Cherokee County High School, Centre, Ala.; Jacksonville State University, BS Secondary Education
How long have you been working at The Christian Index and what led you to this line of work?
A: I started at The Index in January 2004. I was halfway through my third year of teaching at Woodland High School when I was contacted to come on board. My work is primarily to maintain the schedule in producing the paper and copy editing, though I also work with other writers to accommodate our style and manage our social media feeds. In college I was a communications major and worked part time writing for the sports section of a local newspaper. During that time and after graduation I was also involved in student ministry and lived in Cheyenne, Wyo., for a couple of years doing that full time.
In 2004, finding a teaching position through Teach Georgia was pretty easy, so moving from Cheyenne we settled in Cartersville. I was familiar with the town since my dad had been driving over from Alabama into Bartow and Cobb counties in the ’80s and ’90s to clear land for all the new subdivisions going up. My background in newspapers, ministry, and editing experience I picked up grading papers as an English teacher helped me get the job with The Index.
Describe one of your favorite articles that you have written.
A: It was actually kind of recent and one local to Bartow County. I was at a Woodland High football game this last season when my friend I was sitting beside began telling me about their fullback who was also a linebacker. Beside that, though, my friend raved about the quality person this kid was as well as his coach whose family took him in. That led me to do a story on Isaiah Ross and the people he lives with, Jon and Michelle Vernon. The story ran in our paper and an extended version appeared at Baptist Press, the media hub for the Southern Baptist Convention.
What is your involvement with the Cartersville First Baptist’s Fishers of Men blog and what is its overall purpose?
A: A couple of years ago some of our guys decided it was time to organize our men’s ministry. This had been attempted before but lost steam after awhile. Mitch Jones has been our key leader in keeping it going through different events but also to encourage guys to get involved in community service and Bible study, individually and through small groups. We have a few different avenues to stay in touch with guys. People can receive text updates and our website is at Matthew 419.net. We can ... also be found on Facebook (search for Cartersville Fishers of Men) and Twitter (@CFBCFisherofMen). Sorry, no Pinterest.
The content on the blog is highly central to Bartow County. We’ve produced posts based on stories out of The Daily Tribune and different guys from our church have written on things they’ve faced and learned from in their own walk with Christ. A current story on the blog is about Greg Garner. He’s a great example of a guy who recognized, and still recognizes, his need to grow in his relationship with Christ but wasn’t sure how to do that beyond studying his Bible and going to church.
Through a series of steps, Greg organized and leads our Service Team that responds to small construction projects in the county for people who don’t have the money to pay for those jobs. Most recently that team worked with other churches to build an addition onto a house for the family of a little girl who has spina bifida.
The blog works under the premise that there are a lot of guys who would like to know more about God, how [to] live more honorably, and be leaders in their family but aren’t sure how or where to start. To a degree all of us — no matter how long we’ve been a Christian — are in that boat. I’d like to devote more time to it but after the commute and family time there’s not much time left to give. I’ll work on it mostly during my lunch break or get up early, around 5.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
A: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3. It points to the essentials of faith, love and hope but includes their connection to not giving up. The Christian life can be a grind and too often we allow ourselves to slip when we get tired. I know I do. We get discouraged when we don’t see results on our timetable. It’s important to be reminded that staying on track is an accomplishment.
How has your family grown through adoption? What are the challenges and/or blessings of raising a multi-ethnic family?
A: My wife and I had talked about adoption even before having our daughter Rylee. We were actually in the process of adopting in early 2006 when Amy became pregnant again, but miscarried weeks later. We adopted our son, Jackson, later that year and in 2009 adopted another son, Bryce. In 2012, we traveled to China and adopted our daughter Charlotte.
In our family we have Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, and Chinese cultures represented. We talk to each child about those cultures as holidays come around — for example, Chinese New Year started this past weekend — in addition to historical figures in those cultures as they grow up and can understand.
The challenges of being a multi-ethnic family aren’t as big as they would’ve been in times past. Oh, we get second looks in restaurants and such but not in a negative way. You can tell when people look they’re trying to solve the genetic puzzle, so to speak, and want to ask about our story but don’t know the proper question. More people are pursuing adoption, both domestically and internationally, so families like ours are actually becoming more common.
People ask us often about adoption and even though we encourage them in their journey, we don’t want to recruit them like it’s a membership to a jelly-of-the-month club. It’s a deeply personal decision, and can be a risky one at that. An even greater risk, though, can be ignoring a pull to consider it.
What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
A: This is going to sound like such a suck-up thing to do, but my greatest earthly achievement happened 16 years ago when I married my wife. We’re a great mixture of just-enough-alike and just-enough-different.
If you were not in your line of work, what would you like to do?
A: When I was a kid I wanted to be Dale Murphy, but dreams of pro baseball didn’t live past the ninth grade. It’s a strange second choice, but I was also fascinated by weather and thought of meteorology at one point. I really love what I do and feel fortunate I get to earn a living at it.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
A: That’s hard because there’s no single word — or three words — I am all the time. I asked my daughter and she said funny, spiritual and smart. Friends that know me, blame the 11-year-old where you disagree.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I can name the starting lineup for the ’82 Braves. Actually, that may be more sad than surprising.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A: Consider the source.