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.

Ready for Ridgecrest!

Logo from BCA 2014 - With Purpose - celebrating 60 years - April 9-12, 2014

Join us April 9-12 for BCA 2014

The BCA planning team is very excited about this year’s workshop April 9-12 at Ridgecrest in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina! We have a great lineup of speakers and activities for our annual gathering. This year is particularly noteworthy because we will be celebrating 60 years of BCA. Our theme is “With Purpose.” As Christian communicators we have a responsibility — and for most of us a calling — to help mobilize fellow believers and communicate messages that really matter and can impact our world for Christ.

We’ll kick off the event Wednesday evening with an easygoing cookout and campfire where everyone will have the opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet new members and enjoy their surroundings and the get-away-from-it-all feel of Ridgecrest.

On Thursday morning we’ll hit the ground running with a new format that features a media panel of personalities who will cover a variety of media-related topics and issues that matter to Christian communicators. Among those on the panel: Warren Cole Smith, associate publisher of WORLD Magazine and author of “A lover’s quarrel with the evangelical church;” Todd Starnes of Fox News & Commentary and author of “Dispatches from Bitter America;” and Roman Gabriel III, a radio host for Sold Out Ministries who has covered Super Bowl week for about 20 years and is a former NFL quarterback. Trennis Henderson, who was program chair of a fantastic meeting in Little Rock last April, will keep the speakers on their toes with questions and a fast-paced discussion. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions as time allows. Following a panel discussion, we’ll split up into workshops led by several of our panelists.

Later that afternoon we will jump right into this year’s mission project that we hope will change the way you look at missions and help you discover more ways to reach out to the many different cultures in your neighborhood and city.

On Friday morning we’ll head to Samaritan’s Purse in Boone to take a tour of the facility and learn how this organization continues to impact lives around the world. When we get back, we’ll get together for a final affinity group discussion, which has always been a popular session that gives everyone an opportunity to vent, share ideas and talk about ways we can do our jobs better.

That evening, we’ll gather for our annual awards banquet to recognize some of the fantastic work of fellow BCA members. Don’t forget  the deadline for getting your entries in for the competition is right around the corner, January 31!

Trust us; you won’t want to miss this year’s BCA event. See you there!

-Shawn Hendricks and Polly House, your program co-chairs

2014 mission project: Getting to know you

Who do you know?

Southern Baptists in North Carolina, where BCA’s 2014 workshop is being held, have been asking themselves that question a lot lately. They’ve been trying to focus attention on building relationships with people who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

In North Carolina, the population continues to reflect a growing diversity, with about 280 different languages spoken in the public school system.

The state’s growing diversity provides churches an opportunity to reach the world with the gospel without leaving the state. Yet, in order to engage the people of the world God is bringing to North Carolina, those people groups must first be identified.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, in partnership with local churches and associations, is working on a pilot project to help identify different people groups living in North Carolina’s metropolitan areas. Volunteers talk with people and try to learn who they are and where they are from. The information they collect is entered into a database, and when the project is completed, the people group data will be available to local churches.

During the upcoming workshop at Ridgecrest you will have opportunity to see firsthand how the project works and how you can be involved in your state and community. The mission project this year, which will be Thursday afternoon, is all about helping you reach lost people and share the gospel where you live.

This year’s project has great potential for impact beyond the workshop; it’s a project that will give you something to take home for greater engagement than a one-day, one-time event.

During the mission project time you will learn how to better identify and reach people from different people groups as well as take some time to prayerwalk for different people groups in the Asheville area.

Please plan to join to be a part of this year’s mission project!

A great teacher

Jim Veneman

by Jim Veneman, 2013-14 President –

This past Christmas morning Carol opened a gift and found a framed print of this photograph. It is one she made in August of 1988, but had never seen it before now.

During the years I worked at LifeWay, many assignments took me to Ridgecrest, North Carolina. My family made most trips with me, and for us it was far more than a conference center. Most days, squeezed between the assignments of the day and night, we went on hikes, explored the shops and eateries in Black Mountain, or relaxed together on campus. Ridgecrest plays a significant role in our family’s history.

Jim Veneman & Kids at Ridgecrest

Jim Veneman and his kids at Ridgecrest in August of 1988.

As I think back on the work done over those years, it’s interesting that I was never the typical conference attendee. My job was to tell the visual story of particular events in the surroundings provided by Ridgecrest. My familiarity with this place runs deep. Much of my time there was spent in search of new ways to present a very familiar scene. The quest for the compelling perspective and moment made it forever challenging and exciting.

Between family and coverage time, the average week at Ridgecrest was always very full. And of course, when I returned to Nashville, the work wasn’t quite finished. The photographs then had to be distributed and archived. When at last the assignment was complete, I was already looking forward to going back.

For over a hundred years, events have been held at Ridgecrest that have inspired and given a fresh vision. Our annual BCA workshop, April 9-14, will be here soon, and I hope you are making plans to attend. Program chairs Polly House and Shawn Hendricks have planned an excellent time together. From the moment we arrive we will be given the opportunity to see and consider fresh perspectives and ideas. Of course, it will be fun and at times very relaxing, but it will also be a time of real growth.

The photograph that Carol made was in the midst of many that I had taken while on assignment at Ridgecrest. It took 25 years for me to see it. It’s an image that provides a true glimpse of our children. Justin, always solid as a rock, is calm and relaxed. Nathan, the adventurer, is ready to climb the next mountain, literally. And Erin is forever curious about the possibilities, and never afraid to ask.

So, why did it take so long for me to notice this image? Time is a great teacher.

BCA: Your link to professional camaraderie/encouragement

Jim Veneman

by Jim Veneman, 2013-14 President –

Even after reading through the manual and trying everything imaginable, my wife and I could not get the engine in our car to start. It was 10:30 p.m. We were in Memphis, not in Jackson where we belonged.

Reality set in, and I pushed the little red button across from my car’s window and summoned a towing service. Next, I pushed the little blue button just beneath my review mirror and began a conversation with someone far, far away.

Before even saying hello, she asked, “Are you okay and in a safe place?” I’m sure she has helped out in circumstances far more dire than ours, but at that moment we were very grateful for her assistance.

After an evening and early morning involving a number of people, we were on our way home. All is well, and it started with an almost magical link to a person I’ll probably never meet. She is without a doubt one that knows how to take care of the details.

Thinking back over my time in SBC communications, it’s easy to recall a host of friends, each with a unique set of gifts. Some see the infinite number of details that must be managed in order to achieve a goal or meet a deadline successfully. Others are more visionary and have a unique ability to see the future’s potential.

Through years of involvement in communication, whether many or few, each one of us has become a blend. Our job descriptions have expanded into areas we might not actually include on our list of personal gifts. In fact, we may have days or even weeks that we spend working in some pretty uncertain territory. Doing our jobs is quite often a real adventure.

One of the best things about my unseen assistant last night was how she called back several times during the evening to make sure the plan was working. When we finally reached the end of our surprise experience, she checked one last time to confirm that we were on the road again and that we were okay. Sound familiar?

We all have times when we need help or encouragement. It may be about something small, and a quick conversation is the perfect remedy. But there are times when we find ourselves in deep water, praying help will come. Weve all been there.

Just as the members of a local church are richly diverse, BCA is packed with a wide range of personalities and gifts. Some manage the big picture; others take care of the infinite details. The places we work are just as different. Some work in large offices with a fast-paced atmosphere; some may not see another person all day. This broad description of our BCA membership is near the heart of its strength.

Late last night when our car decided to take a 12-hour break, that mystery voice provided the on-the-spot help we needed. Among the benefits of BCA membership, encouragement and assistance are near the top.

If you’ve not yet renewed your membership, there’s no better time than now. And, if you know of someone who would benefit from being a part of this diverse organization, encourage that person to join.

Just as I had the “link” in my car to my much-needed assistance, here is your link to discovering professional encouragement and camaraderie:

The best seat

Jim Veneman

by Jim Veneman, 2013-14 President –

Top of the 5th – Cardinals 3, Cubs 1.

I’m watching the game via satellite, complete with veteran announcers, close ups from countless perspectives, ultra-slow motion at the drop of a hat, and informative stats covering an amazing array of details. This is really incredible!

Just a moment ago, Cardinal left fielder Matt Holladay hit a line drive, three-run homer. An instant replay from the pitcher’s perspective showed the faces of those seated in the stands right behind home plate. At the moment his bat struck the ball, their eyes and mouths opened wide, followed immediately by their arms going straight up into the air. Yep, like me, they were Cardinal fans. With 450 miles between us, I was right there with them.

Online game coverage is already analyzing the impact of this home run on the rest of the game, reflecting on detailed history from every perspective you can imagine. I started writing only a few minutes ago, and the information provided in that short time is nothing less than amazing. It’s almost like being there. It’s almost better than being there! Almost.

Like you, I’ve covered a lot of moments, some huge, some small, but all important to someone. Finding the best perspective for the camera usually takes me to the heart of the activity. It’s almost always the best seat in the house. It seems our jobs almost always take us straight to the very center of what’s happening.

That sort of involvement is where the real stories are found. It’s from the inside that we’re able to see and learn the most relevant details that are important to our audiences.

BCA membership is like being on the sideline of the game or having a seat right behind home plate. It provides opportunities that come only to those with that sort of insider’s perspective. From uniquely directed professional development to discovering friendships that may outlast your career, BCA is the place for a professional communicator. It’s the place for you.

If you want to renew your membership – or possibly join us for the first time – here’s the link:

Now, back to the game.
Top of the 8th  Cards 4, Cubs 2.

Benefits of membershiphood

Jessica Vanderpool

by Jessica Vanderpool, 2013-14 Membership Coordinator –

It’s amazing how clearly your childhood self reflects who you really are. In a sea full of communicators, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that – in some form or another – I’ve always had a thing for words and storytelling. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised I became a journalist.

In fact, on my first day at my first journalism job, my coworker waxed eloquently about an organization called “Baptist Communicators Association,” affectionately known as “BCA.”

Her words made me excited to join, so now I want to take a moment to pass that excitement on to you by describing some of the opportunities that await you on the other side of BCA membershiphood (I told you – I have a thing for words… I just didn’t say it was a good thing!). Current members, I realize you know how great BCA is already, but keep reading because there is new information for you too!

Every year, BCA members gather for an annual conference, rich with professional development and networking opportunities. The conference also plays host to the annual BCA awards competition, allowing members to submit their work to be judged by experts in their fields and then be recognized by their peers for their stellar work.

But professional development is not limited to the annual conference. This year, there are opportunities to further your craft throughout the year via the Web. And the key is  the sooner you join (or renew), the more you will benefit from these professional development opportunities!

And then, of course, there is the community. BCA provides a wonderful group of friends who can identify with your passion for communication, as well as a network of people across the world who are ready to encourage, offer assistance, provide guidance or simply discuss strategies.

Those of you who are renewing your membership have experienced many of these aspects already, but I encourage you to renew quickly because change is a’comin’ and youre going to love the new professional development just around the corner!

For those of you who are considering joining BCA for the first time, let me just set you at ease. Whether you are joining for the annual conference, awards competition, professional development, encouraging community or because the guy in the next cubical bribed you, it is an investment you will not regret!

Joining or renewing your membership couldn’t be easier. Here’s the link: Now rev up those fingers and fill out that form – we want you in our membershiphood!

Now it’s time to go study my vocabulary…

Jessica Vanderpool is the Assistant Editor/Officer Manager for the Arkansas Baptist News