By Sharon Mager
FT. LAUDERDALE—Members of the Baptist Communicators Association (BCA) elected Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Director of Communications Shannon Baker as BCA president on April 22, during their annual workshop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Baker succeeds former president Shawn Hendricks, editor of Baptist Press.
“Shannon’s quick smile, enthusiastic energy and warm spirit have endeared her to all BCA members,” BCA Executive Director Margaret Colson said.
BCA is a professional organization of Christian communicators who serve throughout Baptist conventions, associations, agencies, universities and churches specializing in photography, graphic arts, editorial, social media, management, and marketing. They meet annually at the BCA-sponsored annual spring workshop and a shorter Fall Forum. Each year, BCA members and students are invited to submit their work for the “Wilmer C. Fields” award competition, named for a former BCA lifetime member and retired vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. Winners are recognized at an awards dinner during the annual workshop.
Throughout the years, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware has received several of these awards.
In addition to learning from respected communications professionals, BCA members enjoy fellowship, networking, sharing ideas and making lifelong friendships. Members also support a local mission project each year.
Since 2000—minus a few years when she worked outside of communications to plant a church with her husband, Baker has been a member of BCA, beginning when she served as director of public relations for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
She’s quick to say that the professional development offered to BCA professionals has had a large part in shaping her career, but it has been the personal friendships she has gained that have mattered most to her. “There is nothing more special than connecting with another person who understands your world as a Baptist communicator—its deadlines, unique challenges, and thrilling opportunities—and who can cheer you on though prayer, laughter and genuine friendship in the Lord. It is spectacular,” she said.
In addition to her current role as president, Baker served three years as BCA’s professional development coordinator, instrumental in organizing the continuing Fall Forums, which she was privileged to twice lead (Sept. 2014, at the SBC executive building in Nashville, Tenn., and Sept. 2015, at the International Mission Board headquarters in Richmond, Va.). The Fall Forum features communications professionals from throughout the Southern Baptist Convention, who present Ted Talk-like presentations on relevant communications topics. In addition to emceeing the event, she assisted in the procurement of speakers, logistical planning, and the design and delivery of all associated promotional material. She also produced several Professional Tip videos, featuring BCA communicators, which aired throughout the events.
Most recently serving as president-elect, Baker has assisted in the annual workshop planning; and as this year’s president, is especially excited about the upcoming workshop in the Washington, D.C. area (Alexandria, Va.). Already, several exciting options are underway for a full experience in this history-rich federal metropolis. She plans also to work alongside other officers as they promote BCA membership and participation among communications students and, especially close to her heart, among more diverse populations.
Baker said, “I believe God is drawing the nations to Himself, and I’d like to see more of the nations represented within our great group,” she said.
Colson said Baker brings solid leadership abilities, a deep spiritual commitment and exceptional communications gifts into her role as president.
“She will further BCA’S commitment to undergird its members with strategic professional development and opportunities, resulting in strengthened communications throughout the SBC,” she said.
Other officers elected at the workshop are:
Mike Ebert, North American Mission Board, President-Elect
Mike Schueler, Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, Membership Vice President
Marc Ira Hooks, Collin Baptist Association, Texas, Communications Vice President
Judy Bates, GuideStone Financial Resources, Professional Development Coordinator
Joe Westbury, The Christian Index, Treasurer
Brandon Pickett, Innovative Faith Resources/SBC of Virginia, Program Chair (Washington, DC 2018)
Katherine Chute, Gateway Seminary, Program Chair-Elect (Ontario, CA 2019)
Cam Tracy, Union University, Awards Chairman
Cam Tracy, Union University, Historian
Margaret Colson, Executive Director
For more information about the BCA, visit www.baptistcommunicators.org.