Message Tab

Gerald Harris has served as editor of The Christian Index since May 2003. Prior to joining the staff he served for nine years as pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta. Harris 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.

Harris is well known to Georgia Baptists as a pastor and denominational leader. 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. He is a trustee of Mercer University.

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).

Harris has written for a variety of denominational publications, including devotions for Open Windows and HomeLife magazines. He has also authored two books, Pardoned to be Priests and Olympic Heroes: World-Class Athletes Winning at Life. 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, pastor of Ephesus Baptist Church of Douglasville; and twin sons John Mark and Gerald David.



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.

Westbury, a career journalist with the Southern Baptist Convention for 32 years, has served in a variety of writing positions since he graduated from Union University 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 newspaper in Jackson, Tenn.

He also 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. Westbury later served as associate editor of MissionsUSA,the flagship magazine for the Atlanta-based agency. Prior to joining The Index he produced missions education materials for the HMB as well as for the North American Mission Board.

He has traveled to 40 states and eight nations as he covered stories on Southern Baptist career missionaries and volunteers. He is a native of Orlando, Fla.

Westbury and his wife, Jan, are parents of two young daughters–Charlotte and Elena. They live in Lilburn and are members of Mountain Park First Baptist Church in Stone Mountain.



Scott Barkley joined The Index as production editor on Jan. 2, 2004.

A native of Centre, Ala., Barkley graduated from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University with a degree in secondary education, concentration in English and History. While in college he worked as a sports correspondent for The Gadsden Times in Gadsden, Ala., and submitted pieces to JSU’s student newspaper, The Chanticleer.

Upon graduation Barkley 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 taught Language Arts at Cloverleaf Elementary School and Scott taught English at Woodland High. In addition, he freelanced pieces to both The Christian Index and The Alabama Baptist.

Scott and his wife are the parents of a daughter, Rylee Grace, born Aug. 23, 2002, and Jackson Reese, born Nov. 3, 2006. They are members of Cartersville First Baptist Church.



Mary Moore has joined The Index production team. Moore, a Memphis native, was named graphic designer in early June and began her responsibilities in mid-July.

Moore began her career in 1978 at Memphis Magazine where she honed her talents for the award-winning city magazine. She launched her denominational career two years later when she joined the art department of the Brotherhood Commission where she oversaw production of the monthly laymen’s tabloid World Mission Journal and later was art director for youth materials including World Changers.

She served at the Memphis SBC agency for 18 years before she moved to Atlanta in 1997 as part of the Covenant for a New Century initiative that merged the Brotherhood, Radio-Television Commission of Fort Worth, Texas, and Alpharetta-based Home Mission Board into the North American Mission Board.

During her eight years at NAMB Moore art directed Lad, Lad Leader, and Crusader missions education magazines. She also designed and illustrated various materials from logos to kits for NAMB products. She served as a freelance designer and illustrator from 2005 until she joined The Index this summer.

At The Index she will oversee all graphic design and illustration for the paper. Moore, a member of Lakeland Community Church in Cumming, has won a variety of awards from the Baptist Communicators Association through her 26 years in Southern Baptist media.



Donna J. Ward coordinates circulation and advertising for The Index. She also oversees the production calendar and coordinates other tasks. Ward has a strong background in banking and came to The Index from the Employees Credit Union of the former Home Mission Board, where she was a loan officer and assistant manager.

Ward is a native of Dallas, Georgia. She and her husband, James, have two daughters–Jennifer and Michelle.



Lonette Godwin joined The Index in January 2011 as administrative assistant with additional responsibilities in circulation.

The Alpharetta resident serves as assistant to Editor Gerald Harris and will be the primary contact person for churches and individuals updating their print and online subscriptions.

Godwin served as a ministry assistant at the North American Mission Board since 1996, working in the areas of prayer and spiritual awakening, prayer evangelism, and mission education. She most recently served in church relations through the Acts 1:8 ministry assignment.

Earlier in her career she served as the accounts receivable bookkeeper at the Arkansas Baptist Convention from 1986 through 1995, when she and her family moved to Atlanta.

The Arkansas native is a graduate of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark. She and her husband, Ross, are parents of two grown children: Mandy Godwin Rockett and Brad Godwin.