That “wow” moment

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It may not be often – it may have only been once or twice in your entire career – but have you ever felt that, “Wow, that turned out really well,” feeling?

It’s happened maybe twice for me, at least in the field of writing, that is. I wasn’t born a writer. And I didn’t take courses in school for writing. My brain works creatively in the visual realm of life. Put a camera in my hands and it’s as if the world becomes a whole new landscape. I relate to things just a little differently and I notice the things that I normally wouldn’t. Life looks more beautiful, and, at times, more harsh, but regardless of which side of the happy scale it falls on, life feels a bit more like life when I look through a lens and capture some of its glory.

But put a pen in my hand or a keyboard at my fingertips and things become a little hazier. Intimidating even.

Several months ago I faced a huge story assignment – it was timely, controversial, political and even dealt with theology and morality a bit. I was scared. Scared that I’d write something horrifically incorrect or theologically twisted, or even one-sided. I had a tight deadline and several resources I needed to contact to make the story complete, including lawyers, social workers, probate judges and the like.

I had all my resources lined up, all my many tabs on Safari ready to go. It was already late at night, so I decided waiting on the morning with a fresh brain would be the best place to start.

The next morning I prayed simply, “Lord, let Your words shine through me in this. Give me the wisdom to write what needs to be written and the knowledge to make it coherent and reliable. I feel totally unprepared, but guide me, Lord. Amen.”

The finished product was one of those moments I mentioned above. “Wow, that turned out really well.”

It’s not a matter of pride. In fact, I cannot say I was or am proud of the article itself. I am, however, confident that God worked through these unworthy hands. I am proud of how my God worked in and continues to work in mysterious ways, in mysterious places. Even in writers or photographers, graphic designers or social media gurus.

The next time you sit down to write, or take a picture or do some other task that feels outside your sphere of comfy, take the time to pray for guidance, humility and wisdom. I plan to do the same. It won’t be a waste of our time.

Get in where you fit in: Connect with BCA on social media

BCA SocMed Web Slider


Brooke Zimny, BCA Communications Vice President 2015-16

As professional communicators, I think we often have love-hate relationships with social media. We love the exciting opportunities it affords to connect with people around the world and reach them in innovative and engaging ways, but the 24/7 commitment can be exhausting – and how are we supposed to compete with the flood of content available today? And listicles. So many listicles.

But the fact is, social media is here to stay. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, 65% of American adults use social networking sites, and 71% of teens use more than one social network. As communicators, we have to jump into the fray of user-generated content on behalf of our organizations to rise above the noise.

Baptist Communicators Association seeks to “assist Baptist personnel in communications in professional growth and fulfillment … share useful ideas … enable members to do effective communications planning and achieve superior results … provide a reinforcing fellowship for members and give recognition for outstanding professional achievement.” So let’s do that. Let’s use the incredibly powerful tools available through social media not only to help one another battle the noise professionally, let’s use it to support one another personally.

BCA now has a presence on many of the most popular social networking sites so you can get in where you fit in. Are you a Facebook junkie? LinkedIn star? Google+ pioneer? Follow us and join the conversation! We also have closed members-only groups where we can host even more in-depth conversations and exclusive content.

Public Pages
Twitter (for workshop news and updates)

Members-Only Groups

Give us a like, a follow, a favorite. It will be worth the extra tap on your smartphone.


By Brooke Zimny, BCA Communications Vice President 2015-16

ConnectX webinar to address media in missions

By Jim Burton

RICHMOND, Va.—The gospel message may never change, but the delivery systems have been in flux for nearly three millennia.

Oral tradition, the written word and preaching continue to serve humankind well. But how do those commissioned to share the gospel story best disseminate it today?

connectXlogoFinalTo help answer that question, the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) will conduct a three-day, worldwide interactive webinar called ConnectX. It will meet June 8-10 for two hours each day, from 7-9 a.m., Eastern Daylight Savings time.

Over the three-days, participants will have access to nine seminars. Presenters range from a Pulitzer Prize recipient, an internationally known expert in marketing and a former director of photography at National Geographic magazine.

Topics include ethics, relationships through social media, marketing to the heart to capture the mind and building a picture story. Presenters will speak for 15 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of open dialog by participants.

Individuals, small and large communications teams will benefit.

“The system that we are using is very robust,” said Bill Bangham, IMB’s director for The Academy, a communications training service. “We can connect with a good number of people across the globe…and it is very interactive.

“It’s not just a come and listen event. It is an exchange of ideas within a global community of communicators.”

Participants will be able to access it through iPhones, iPads and computers. Android access is not yet available, but will be in the future.

The IMB has communication personnel scattered around the world. ConnectX is offered to support of their professional growth, nurture and training, Bangham said. But it is also offered to churches, students and other professionals.

“IMB doesn’t do international missions for churches,” Bangham said. “Missions is the responsibility of the church. We see our role as assisting churches in doing that.

“We assist them by helping get their missionaries on the field and supporting them while they are there … and in telling the missions story.”

Gospel communication today is more savvy and diverse than ever before. Keeping up with technology changes, particularly in social media, is critical to reach much of the modern world.

Mass communication is now more akin to mass customization as organizations target their messages. Churches have the possibility of customizing their message to accomplish their mission both locally and globally.

Photography, writing, editing, videography, graphic and Web design, and film were once viewed as separate disciplines. Those distinctions are now blurred. Today two or more media disciplines are often brought together in a converged environment — often by one person — for a story or presentation.

For example: Still photographers now blend their images with video and sound to disseminate information via the Web. Communicators need to be skilled in more media disciplines than in the past.

The unusual format of two hours a day for three days, reflects how technology can change an international organization’s business model. It’s possible for hundreds of people to participate in ConnectX and never leave their home or office, and they don’t have to be in the same time zone.

“Not all our participating personnel are in the United States,” Bangham said. “Most are in other parts of the world. So when we start at 7 a.m. on the East Coast, it’s noon in London. And in parts of Asia it’s 6 p.m. Then there is everyone else in between.”

The cost for participation is $50. For BCA members and IMB personnel it is free. Register online at:  Registration Deadline is May 27, 2015.

For more information, contact: Bill Bangham ( or Jullianne Kramer (

Jim Burton is a photojournalist and writer based in Atlanta, Ga.

BCA15 Mission Projects

At this year’s workshop in San Francisco, we’ll offer two great opportunities to participate in missions projects. Review these items and make plans to get involved now.

Telegraph Ministry Center

Telegraph Ministry Center, Oakland

Ten BCA members are invited to participate in a BCA mission project at the Telegraph Ministry Center on Thursday afternoon.

Telegraph Ministry Center has been ministering to the poor and disenfranchised of North Oakland for more than 45 years by sharing the love of Christ and meeting the most basic needs of individuals and families who struggle with issues related to poverty.

During the mission project, BCA members will provide needed support to the center and its director, Chris Watson, in unloading pallets of food, setting up the food pantry for the center’s weekly distribution on Friday, helping with the community garden and performing cleaning and maintenance at the center.

Watson, who has been the director of the center since 2010, will provide transportation to/from the hotel on Thursday afternoon for volunteers who want to be involved in this project. He will have participants back in time to enjoy the evening in San Francisco.
You can find out more about the ministry of the Telegraph Center by visiting

You don’t need to leave the hotel to participate in this mission project!

Travis Nichols will share a slideshow of he and his wife Ashley’s most recent trip to Nepal in March where they met with the Nepal Bible Society and visited the printing press in Kathmandu. He will also provide background to the swelling population of Nepali speakers in the U.S. that are very receptive to the gospel and explain the miraculous story behind this new business as ministry.

Then all web masters, graphic designers and creative types will put their heads together to brainstorm logos, layouts and marketing for the new website. This will be a hands-on, interactive and collaborative session, and we need your help!

Don’t be late for the Wednesday evening dinner and city tour of San Francisco

Lombard StreetWe’ll depart the hotel at 6 p.m., make our way through the city passing Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world; Little Italy and the TransAmerica Pyramid. We’ll stop for dinner in San Francisco’s historic Chinatown at a restaurant with murals, lanterns and décor imported from China at the turn of the 20th century.

After dinner the tour will drive by Union Square, through the Tenderloin District to City Hall which is beautifully lit at night. We’ll then make our way past the San Francisco Symphony Hall and Opera House en route to Nob Hill with stunning views and so named for the mansions built during the heyday of San Francisco’s growth in the late 19th century.

The city’s Financial District will be next as we move to the Ferry Building and make our way along the Embarcadero with views of the iconic Bay Bridge which connects San Francisco to Oakland and the East Bay. We’ll pass San Francisco’s piers and Coit Tower reaching Pier 39, the beginning of the historic Fisherman’s Wharf area.

We’ll end up at our headquarters hotel, the San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf for a great night’s sleep before beginning our workshop on Thursday morning at 7 a.m. with breakfast just down the street at Hollywood Cafe!

We hope you’ll join us for this relaxed evening filled with the sights and food of San Francisco while enjoying the fellowship of BCA members!

Hidden Marin tour in San Francisco

Muir Woods

Joe WestburyHow often do you get a trip to one of the world’s most exciting cities? Use this opportunity to explore Hidden Marin on an afternoon drive through the scenic Marin Headlands just across the Golden Gate Bridge with longtime BCA’er Joe Westbury.

Immediately following the end of the annual meeting on Saturday morning, Joe will give a personally guided tour of some of the most beautiful sights just over the San Francisco Bay. It is an experience you will long remember.

  • View thousand-year-old Redwoods in a rare lush old-growth redwood forest in Muir Woods;
  • Stand on the edge of dramatic 20-story cliffs directly above the pounding Pacific Coast at Muir Beach Overlook;
  • Walk down a windy, winding path along cliffs and through a tunnel carved from sold rock before crossing a swinging bridge to an historic lighthouse at Point Bonita;
  • Photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from dramatic viewpoints known only by locals, and
  • Enjoy a 3 p.m. mid-afternoon lunch at the Pelican Inn at Muir Beach, an authentic English pub.

Cost is just $40 per person plus late lunch and $7 admission to Muir Woods on a first-come basis for 11 guests. The fee is strictly based on cost recovery for the van, insurance, gas, bridge tolls, and a bag of Skittles for the driver.

For more information and to reserve your seat call or email Joe Westbury TODAY at (404) 797-4857 or Space is limited. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and a light jacket as the temperature and wind can easily be 20 degrees cooler than at the hotel. The eight-hour tour is expected to return to the hotel by 7 p.m. for those catching a red-eye flight that night. The van is being returned to the airport at that time so anyone can ride free if so desired.

Make this decision before booking your flight. You’ll save money on your airfare by staying over on Saturday night — put that savings to your hotel room and this wonderful tour.

September forum will be BCA first

2014 Fall Forum - Nashville, TNThe first BCA Fall Forum will be held in the auditorium of the Southern Baptist Convention building in Nashville, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Friday, September 26. Representing communications teams from across the SBC, presenters will talk about a wide range of topics under the theme,  Making a Difference.

The format of the forum will be fast-paced, with brief presentations followed by short times of discussion. Those presenting are Shannon Baker, national correspondent and design editor, “Baptist Life”; Bill Bangham, director, The Academy, International Mission Board; Tina Boesch, graphic designer for the book, “Along the Silk Road”; Marty Duren, manager of social media strategy, LifeWay Christian Resources; Shawn Hendricks, managing editor, Baptist Press; Eric Murrell, communication director, Long Hollow Baptist Church; Stella Prather, communications director, Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes; Jennifer Rash, executive editor, “The Alabama Baptist”; Ian Richardson, director, communication services, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.

From life-altering, unexpected moments, to projects that reshaped one’s future, topics will come from the presenter’s own life and work experiences. With the spring workshop still a distant date on the BCA calendar, the forum will provide a mid-year creativity boost and an opportunity to engage with imaginative, breakthrough ideas.

Registration to attend the forum is $25.00, and includes lunch. Payment may be made online. See our website for more information.

The forum will also be streamed live online. Online participants may ask questions via Twitter or Facebook. More information regarding the streaming will be coming soon.