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Baptist communicators gather for annual workshop

At left Shannon Baker, Communications director for the Baptist Resource Network (BRN) of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, speaks during a panel discussion on mentoring. Other participants, left to right, were Macala Mays, BRN associate editor; Joshua Minatrea, Communications director for Texas Baptists; and Mike Ebert, executive director for Public Relations at the North American Mission Board. Photo from BCA/Facebook

BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC (BP) – Media specialists from throughout the Southern Baptist Convention gathered April 17-20 for the 68th Annual Workshop hosted by Baptist Communicators Association held at Ridgecrest Conference Center.

Breakout sessions covered topics such as crisis communications, building engagement, workplace productivity across platforms and research practices. General sessions addressed areas such as the impact of changing demographics and creating effective team strategies.

Member-led discussions in affinity groups centered around the group’s seven “interest categories”: public relations, marketing, graphic design, electronic media, photography, editorial and management.

BCA members also took part in a missions project assembling “Welcome Bags” for the Baptist Children’s Home of North Carolina and “Red Bags” for the North Carolina Aging Ministry.

The cross-generational attendance reflected a focus that BCA is placing upon mentoring, said Joshua Minatrea, outgoing BCA president and director of communications for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“As a Millennial, the growth of Gen Y and Gen Z involvement in BCA over the past few years has been a joy to experience,” he said. “There is renewed energy and excitement around the purpose we share, and it is so good to know we are not alone in fulfilling it.”

Minatrea sat on a panel about the topic alongside one of his mentors, North American Mission Board Executive Director for Public Relations Mike Ebert.

“We especially wanted to acknowledge through this year’s program the tremendous value and rich blessing – personally, professionally and spiritually – developmental relationships with more experienced leaders can bring” Minatrea said. “The literature is clear: mentoring relationships benefit the mentor, mentee and the organization or organizations they serve.”

BCA Executive Director Margaret Colson agreed.

“We had several who are in their first career role as Baptist communicators, and we had a few who have reached retirement age – and we had everything in between,” said Colson, who also serves as consulting communications editor for the Florida Baptist Convention.

“I loved seeing the connections being made across generational lines, with the younger communicators gaining such valuable insight from their more-experienced colleagues, and the experienced communicators being inspired and stretched by their younger counterparts to keep learning, growing and using their gifts for God’s kingdom,” she said.

Baptist Press was honored four times in the Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition that is part of the annual event.

BCA, founded in 1953, has a nationwide membership of approximately 250. The 2024 Workshop will be held in Richmond, Va.

Baptist Press also received the first place Award of Excellence in the Evangelical Press Association’s Denominational Coverage Digital category.