Gerald Harris, Editor
Gerald Harris has served as editor of The Christian Index since June 2003 and is responsible for the editorial tone of the paper. In that role he espouses the biblical worldview through his editorials and many news and feature articles.
Prior to joining the staff he served for nine years as pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta. Gerald came to Georgia in 1990 as pastor of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, where he served for four years. He has served as pastor in North and South Carolina, and Mississippi. He is a native of Hickory, N.C.
Gerald is well known to Georgia Baptists as a pastor and denominational leader, and for earning awards for his editorials from the Baptist Communicators Association. He served as president of the state convention in 1999 and has been an active member on a variety of committees, including the GBC Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, and chairman of the Nominating Committee.
On the national level he has served on the SBC Executive Committee and on the Resolutions Committee, as well as on the board of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources).
Gerald has written for a variety of denominational publications, including devotions for Open Windows and HomeLife magazines. He has also authored three books – Pardoned to be Priests, Olympic Heroes: World-Class Athletes Winning at Life, and A Gentle Zephyr – A Mighty Wind. He has a master’s degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree from Luther Rice Seminary.
He and his wife, the former Martha Jean Maxwell of Newnan, are parents of a daughter, Miriam, who is married to Billy Godwin who serves as pastor of Ephesus Baptist Church of Douglasville; and twin sons John Mark and Gerald David.
Gerald and Martha Jean are active members of Ephesus Baptist Church in Douglasville.
Birthdate: November 26
Hobbies: Grandchildren, travel, working out.
Telephone: (770) 936-5590 or direct at (770) 936-5593
Joe Westbury, Managing Editor
Joe Westbury has served as managing editor of The Christian Index since August 2003. Prior to assuming that role he had served for five years as associate editor of the paper.
As managing editor he shares administrative roles with the editor as well as serving as senior writer, focusing on news and features and reporting on in-depth issues of interest to Georgia Baptists.
Joe, a career journalist with the Southern Baptist Convention for 38 years, has served in a variety of writing positions since he graduated from Union University in Jackson, TN in 1974. He served twice as public relations director for his alma mater, as well as serving as a religion editor and news reporter for The Jackson Sun.
Joe later served as editor of World Mission Journal published by the former Brotherhood Commission in Memphis, and as associate director of the news department of the former Home Mission Board. He later served as associate editor of MissionsUSA, the flagship magazine for the Atlanta-based agency, a forerunner of the North American Mission Board. Prior to joining The Index he produced missions education materials for the HMB as well as for NAMB.
He has covered stories on Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers in 45 states and 10 nations. Joe, a native of Orlando, FL, is a recipient of several writing and photography awards from the Baptist Communicators Association. He is a former president of the professional organization and currently serves as treasurer.
He and his wife, Jan, are parents of teenage daughters Charlotte, a student at the University of North Georgia at Dahlonega, and Elena, a student at Parkview High School. They live in Lilburn and are active members of Mountain Park First Baptist Church in Stone Mountain where Joe serves as a deacon.
Birthdate: October 15
Hobbies: Travel, reading, walking, gardening, and anything that involves red and green chile and New Mexico.
Telephone: (770) 936-5596
Scott Barkley, Web Content Developer
Scott Barkley joined The Index as production editor on Jan. 2, 2004. Along with Gerald and Joe he rounds out the newswriting team, coordinates the production schedule, and manages all of the Index’s social media accounts. Earlier this year Scott’s title switched to web content developer in order to better reflect his responsibilities at The Index.
A native of Centre, Ala., Scott graduated from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University with a degree in secondary education with concentration in English and History. He also served in various leadership roles in JSU’s Baptist Campus Ministries, including president, and participated in short-term missions as well as a summer missionary to Colorado and Wyoming.
While in college Scott wrote as a sports correspondent for The Gadsden Times in Gadsden, Ala., his hometown paper The Cherokee County Herald, and to JSU’s student newspaper, The Chanticleer. He has received numerous awards for his feature writing from the Baptist Communicators Association.
Upon graduation Scott and his wife, Amy, established a collegiate ministry in Cheyenne, Wyo., as US/C-2 missionaries through the North American Mission Board.
In 2001 the couple moved to Cartersville, where Amy and Scott had accepted elementary and high school teaching positions, respectively. While teaching, Scott was also a freelance writer for The Christian Index, The Alabama Baptist, and The Cartersville Daily Tribune. He has also written for the Cartersville Patch, Johns Creek Patch, and GEORGIA Magazine.
An adoptive family, Scott and his wife are the parents of daughters Rylee and Charlotte and sons Jackson and Bryce. They are members of Cartersville First Baptist Church, where they teach the 3rd grade boys class and Scott is a deacon. Amy is currently a teacher for Georgia Cyber Academy.
Birthdate: November 3
Hobbies: Spending time with family, reading, sports.
Telephone: (770) 936-5599
Donna J. Ward, Circulation and Advertising Coordinator
Donna J. Ward coordinates advertising for The Index as well as serving as administrative assistant to the editor. She also oversees the production calendar and coordinates other tasks.
Donna has a strong background in banking and came to The Index from the Employees Credit Union of the former Home Mission Board (now NAMB), where she was a loan officer and assistant manager. She also previously served in the Church Loans Division of the Home Mission Board.
Donna, a native of Dallas, GA and her husband, James, have two grown daughters – Jennifer and Michelle – and 5 grandchildren. She and James, a bi-vocational pastor, are active members of Brushy Knob Baptist Church in Stockbridge.
Birthdate: August 13
Hobbies: Reading and crafts.
Telephone: (770) 936-5590