Courier board calls Jeff Robinson as editor and president

The Baptist Courier’s board of trustees unanimously elected Jeff Robinson as the next editor and president of The Courier at a called meeting Feb. 17.

Robinson began work March 1 and succeeds Rudy Gray, who retired after a decade of leadership at The Courier.

“God has blessed South Carolina Baptists through the ministry of The Baptist Courier for more than 150 years with a history of strong leaders for critical moments in the life of our paper. Rudy Gray provided such leadership during his tenure, and we are forever grateful for his selfless service,” Trustee Chairman Wes Church, pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, said. “As we look to the future, we are confident that Jeff Robinson is God’s man to lead our organization to continue the good work of what Jeff describes as ‘to inform and inspire, and to edify and glorify.’ ”

Robinson is a graduate of the University of Georgia with an undergraduate degree in journalism from the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism, and a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Philosophy in historical theology with a specialty in Baptist history. He has been adjunct professor and director of news and information at Southern Seminary, and he served as senior editor for the Gospel Coalition for six years. He is the author, co-author, or editor of nine books, the latest being “Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms Our Talk,” published in 2021. He is currently working on two books.

Robinson grew up in Blairsville, Ga., a small Appalachian town 80 miles due west of Greenville, where his family was deeply involved in First Baptist Church of Blairsville.

Before attending Southern, he spent nearly 20 years as a sportswriter and news reporter in north Georgia. He was managing editor of a newspaper in Andrews, N.C., where he met his wife, Lisa.

“I thought I had moved off the face of the earth and got busy sending out résumés when I met my wonderful wife,” he said. “Then I realized why the Lord had sent me there.”

In 1998, he sensed a call to ministry and “fell in love with studying the Scriptures and teaching and preaching the Word of God. Both my parents were devout Southern Baptist churchmen, so I was raised in church,” he said.

In 2000, he moved to Louisville to study at Southern. Much of his ministry has been spent in Louisville, except for four years in Birmingham, Ala., where he pastored Philadelphia Baptist Church. He also served as pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Louisville for eight years. His greatest passion in life is preaching and teaching God’s Word.

Jeff and Lisa have been married for more than 27 years and have four children. Jeffrey, 20, is a student at Indiana University Southeast but plans to transfer to the University of Georgia and follow his dad in journalism with the aim of being a sportswriter. Hannah, 18, is a senior at Eastern High School in Louisville and plans on attending East Tennessee State University in the fall.

Lydia, 17, is a sophomore at Eastern High School. “She is looking forward to moving here, which is something that only a work of God can do in the heart of a teenage girl,” Robinson said. Jake is 15 and loves the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. All are rabid Georgia Bulldog fans, and Jeff loves baseball, particularly baseball history, and is a lifelong follower of the Cincinnati Reds.

“I get asked all the time why I’m a Reds fan and not a Braves fan when I’m from Georgia and the Braves are so good,” he said. “I fell in love with baseball in the 1970s and had relatives who transplanted from Georgia to Ohio and followed the Reds. The Reds were known as the Big Red Machine back then because they were amazingly good. My first glove was a Rawlings Joe Morgan model, and I dreamed of playing second base for the Reds when I grew up. The 1970s were, to put it mildly, not the best decade for the Braves, and your favorite team at age 12 is usually your forever team. I also love the Braves and pull for them except when they’re playing Cincinnati.”

Lisa is a realtor and is working to get her South Carolina license. She was born in Columbia, S.C., and her family is from Charlotte, N.C.

Robinson said, “I am going to spend the first few months getting to know people. I plan to spend a lot of time with pastors and church people, getting to know them and getting to know the state. I am thankful I have staff members here who already know the state and can speed up the acquaintance process.”

He laid out his strategy to The Courier trustees in four words: inform, instruct, edify, and glorify (God). One thing he said would be new at The Courier was instruction. “I want us to be encouraging pastors and laypeople alike with instruction through articles, podcasts, Courier Publishing and by whatever means are appropriate to a teaching emphasis — I think that is one wrinkle that may be a little bit new,” he said.

The Robinsons will be moving to Greenville later this spring, and they plan on traveling to nearby Athens, Ga., for some football games this fall. The kids are hoping Dad will again have season tickets, particularly given the Georgia football team’s recent success.

“We are thrilled to be returning to our home region,” he said. “My wife and I have great affections for the Deep South. We couldn’t be happier that the Lord has called us to serve God’s people in the region we so love.”

(Updated March 29, 2023)

To listen to the full interview with Jeff Robinson for Courier Conversations:

Lisa and Jeff Robinson, with their children Lydia, Hannah, Jeffrey and Jake. Robinson previously was director of news and information at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and was senior editor for the Gospel Coalition. He also served as a pastor in Birmingham, Ala., and Louisville, Ky. A native of Columbia, S.C., Lisa is a realtor and is working to get her South Carolina license.