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Who knows you by name?

Kathryn Carson heard her name called seven times during the awards banquet for the national Baptist Communicators Association in Phoenix April 18.

The first time you hear your name is mostly relief because no one wants to get shut out during the event that recognizes the best work of the year by association members.

But Kathryn, lead graphics designer for the Baptist State Convention the past three years, heard her name called repeatedly during the event, gracefully walking forward to receive a certificate each time, with increasing admiration from her peers.

We love to be called by name, don't we? With an outgoing personality and inclusive style, my college roommate must have been the inspiration for the movie character Austin Powers. Students shouted his name across campus and he would wave and reply, "Hey, there you are."

When Austin Powers, "man of mystery," said, "There you are" to a stranger, the stranger asked, "Do I know you?"

"No," Powers replied, "but there you are." Knowing someone's name was not an Austin Powers priority because he is totally ego centric.

It means a lot to call a person by name. It is the first step to knowing them. Calling their name says you value them as more than a presence, a title, a responsibility, or by the label someone else sews onto them.

During Operation Inasmuch April 19 members of Zion Baptist Church in Cleveland County, N.C. were setting a memorial patio into place at Christine's House, a residential facility for girls from abusive or dysfunctional homes. The patio consisted of memorial bricks etched with the name of a donor or a person the donor wanted to honor.

Our name is important. Jacob wanted to know his wrestling opponent. In some cultures parents believe the name they bless a child with determines the child's life direction.

In Exodus 33:17 the Lord said he would do what Moses asked, "because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

Jesus said in John 10 that sheep recognize their shepherd's voice when he calls them by name which enables him to lead them.

The ability to remember names is a real blessing. We may excuse ourselves as simply being unable to remember names, but knowing the blessing it is to be called by name, it is a good idea to work at remembering. One way to remember is to repeat the name quickly in context after you learn it.

Participants at BCA last week will remember Kathryn Carson's name a long time.

POSTED: Apr 27, 2008 | Norman Jameson, , - normanjameson@gmail.com

Gooooooo Team!

I took my son to a minor league baseball game the other day. It was his first real baseball experience. When we arrived, he wanted to walk around the stadium and see everything. "Where do we buy the ICEEs?" he asked. "Can we get one of those big, foam fingers?"

We found our seats as the public address announcer read the starting line-ups. "Wow Dad. You can see everything from here!" he said. It didn't take long for the home team to score the first runs of the game. Erik did a celebration dance in his seat. Whenever one of the opposing players struck out, he transformed into a mini-umpire shouting "Yer out!" while jerking his thumb in the air.

I'm a life-long baseball fan, but this game was special. Seeing the game from my son's perspective made it brand new again. We talked about what various abbreviations on the scoreboard meant and he couldn't believe we could put peanut shells on the ground under our seats. "Is this really okay with Mom?" he asked.

During the game, I noticed a few people who weren't there for baseball. A man two rows in front of us talked on his cell phone through several innings. A woman nearby kept her nose buried in a crossword puzzle.

Sometimes as communicators we forget what the game is all about and telling the story just isn't fun anymore. Dont turn into someone who just sits through the game. Become an active participant in the Baptist communications community by interacting with other communications professionals like yourself and by sharing your expertise.

If you're new to BCA, it's ok to look around the "stadium." There's plenty to see here. One of the biggest benefits you'll enjoy is learning from others. Like my son, be willing to ask questions. One of our officers or myself is happy to help you understand those tricky BCA "abbreviations."

If you're a BCA veteran, you can add much to our organization. Remember, the "history" of the game is just as important as the current superstar. Maybe you'd like to mentor some of our rookies. We're always looking for links to add to the resources page. Or maybe you can write a "how-to" article that we can place on the site?

Whatever your position on our team, BCA is here to help you knock the ball out of the park. Play Ball!

POSTED: Jul 26, 2007 | Keith Beene, Administrative Coordinator, Baptist Communicators Association - bca.office@comcast.net

Walking The Red Carpet

It's a relief when you receive that "Congratulations! You're a winner..." e-mail from Keith Beene the end of March. You don't know what you won, but you know you will get to walk up in front of everyone and accept that certificate. Pretty cool.

Even better -- you get to tell your boss that you won. I don't know how it is where you work, but in our department having something that shows your work has been recognized by an outside entity means something.

Once you know you're a winner, it's time to start subtly asking around your office to see who else got the coveted e-mail from Keith. That is, unless you work in our office, where we shamelessly yell, "I won something!" to the whole department!

So, those who get to go to BCA pack something nice to wear for the awards banquet and hope for the best. Granted, we don't do the red carpet thing, but I bet most of us check out what everyone is wearing. You practice your gushing & Jesse, great tie! Lisa, your pedicure is perfect! Sue Ellen, your wrap is stunning! Great shoes, Brooke!

This year, it was extra exciting for us at LifeWay. Everyone in our office who submitted an entry won something. That makes the celebration even better ... not to mention so much less awkward! Kelly, Kent and I hardly let our awards cool off before we were up in my room calling our co-workers to tell them the great news.

When Stacey Hamby asked me to write a short piece on winning, I thought, "Is there any way to do that without sounding arrogantly self-promoting?" Well, no! So, here goes... deep breath... I love winning!

I do. I love to win.

I completely understand that with human judges there is a certain level of arbitrariness. In fact, what I thought was my best work was awarded - how do I put this - nothing. But, someone does receive the best scores in each category, and honestly, I'm glad it was I in mine! Yeah, there it is, my friends. I'm thrilled that I won a Burkhalter Award.

POSTED: May 8, 2007 | Polly House, Freelance Writer/Editor, - polly.house.bca@gmail.com

4 Things We Need From You

If you attended BCA's annual workshop in Mobile, there are 4 things this organization and your fellow Baptist communicators need from you:

  1. Talk back. Fill out the evaluation form for the Mobile workshop. Tell us what you liked most from the program Doug Rogers and his Alabama team put together. Let Elizabeth Young and her team in Arizona know what you want to see next year. Every year, workshop organizers try to develop the right mix of inspiration and education. If you're really ambitious, give us at least one idea for workshop topics on the technical skills as well as the broader issues we face as communicators.
  2. Stalk someone. Chances are, you made some new friends in Mobile. But if you don't talk to them until the next workshop, what good did it do you? Every month, for the next year, why not call or e-mail someone you met through BCA? Talk about life. Talk about work. Talk about projects. Ask for ideas or for a peer review of a piece you're working on. Expand your circle of influence, and it will benefit your work and your psyche.
  3. Get published. Not in a publication, but on this BCA Web site. Cam Tracy at Union University had done a great job of building a site that's designed to help BCA be a professional development organization throughout the year. But it won't reach its full potential if you don't share what you know.
  4. Pull a pre-emptive strike. If you have return to work from Mobile and have never shared what you learned, your boss has no idea that your membership in BCA is worthwhile. Please, before the day is done, write a one-page memo outlining two or three things you learned at the Mobile workshop that will improve your performance at your current job. Then, when the Phoenix workshop comes around next year, you already will have laid the groundwork for getting approval to go.

POSTED: Apr 26, 2007 | David Winfrey, Proposal Writer, SHPS - dmmwinfrey@gmail.com

What I learned at the BCA Workshop

This was my eleventh BCA workshop and every year I have learned something new. This year during the awards banquet I learned it is very important to check the order of the awards certificates BEFORE you get up to hand them out. Otherwise, you are embarrassed and red-faced as you frantically search through a large stack of certificates for that one name the emcee just called out.

Another lesson I learned is we all can learn from each other. This year many of our seminar leaders were current or former BCA members. Sharing knowledge and experiences is what makes our professional development organization so important.

Do you know of a resource other members could benefit from? Maybe you know about a web site that explains blogging etiquette and want to pass that on to the rest of us.

Our web site is designed so you can easily share resources with other members. A resources page is already on the web site and each professional development group page lists resources specific to that group. Send a resource link to me or to Cam Tracy, BCA webmaster. Well make sure it gets posted on the web site.

One of my favorite resources is www.sreetips.com. Created by Sree Sreenivasan, a Columbia University journalism professor. He appeared as a technology reporter for ABC's New York City affiliate for six years. His articles have been published in The New York Times, Popular Science, BusinessWeek, Time Digital and Rolling Stone. Sree's site boasts all kinds of tech tips and media-related articles. He keeps it current and I always learn something worthwhile.

Although www.sreetips.com will not help you put award certificates in order, I think it is a resource you should bookmark.

POSTED: Apr 19, 2007 | Keith Beene, Administrative Coordinator, Baptist Communicators Association - bca.office@comcast.net

Interactive Booth Guidelines

To encourage our state convention teams to have interactive exhibits at the annual meeting, I initiated three years ago the Director's Cup, awarded for the top interactive booth. After a very subjective judging lap around the exhibit hall, my finger in the air and my ear to the ground (don't try THAT yoga pose at home) I award the traveling cup at the next staff meeting. Frankly, it's become coveted by those who treat seriously their design and staffing efforts.

This year, when the church planting team won for the second time, someone from an...ahem...non-winning team, asked me to put into words what it is that I saw in the winner, as a learning experience for the also rans.

I did, and it might be helpful to pass among your teams that prepare for exhibits at various meetings you hold.

Keep in mind, my top operating principal is interactivity. Here's a couple things in this highly subjective competition that stand out.

  1. Those who cover the booth are on their feet. Their physical stance invites passers-by to stop and it welcomes questions.
  2. Staff members are not huddling, talking to themselves, creating an atmosphere that says a visitor is "interrupting" if they ask a question.
  3. They offer a giveaway significant enough to merit a person's signing up for a chance to win.
  4. They require and record personal information when signing up for the giveaway.
  5. Signing up requires much MORE than filling in a form. The booth/signup/registration is interactive. Vital information about church planting is posted at various, prominent places around the booth. The signup requires the registrant to answer four questions about church planting. The answers are posted, easy to find, or, one of the engaging cover persons happily provides the answers.
  6. So, the visitor goes away with some knowledge about church planting and having been engaged personally by a church planting staff member. They leave infused with some small measure of the enthusiasm church planting team feels for their mission.
  7. While we spend lots of time and money designing attractive, magnetic exhibits, remember that it is the personal, engaging, enthusiastic presence of the people in the booth that provides the best visitor experience.
  8. They give me money.

POSTED: Jan 29, 2007 | Norman Jameson, , - normanjameson@gmail.com

A Message from Wilmer C. Fields

It is an honor, always an eye-opener, and a great pleasure for me to continue a long 48-year treasured connection with BPRA/BCA through the annual awards competition. My partnership in the group began in 1959, when BPRA was five years old. I resonated with this bunch from the start. I was completely in the dark, and blindsided at the 1986 meeting in the mountains at Glorieta, NM, when Stan Hastey made the announcement that the group had secretly voted to name the awards program after me. I think I swallowed my bubble gum!

It is a delight to sense the creativity and professionalism revealed in the entries every year. What an excellent way for members to mark your own growth, by being judged among the best of the best. And so very many, striving for superior workmanship! My connection with this skillful, productive new generation of dedicated people makes me feel like a lion in a den of Daniels. I hope 2007 is your best year! For one and all.

POSTED: Jan 24, 2007 | Wilmer C. Fields, Retired, SBC Executive Committee - wilcfields@comcast.net

Learning to say "NO"

This week, I joined the "CRACKBERRYS" of the world by purchasing a PDA.

My handy-dandy personal digital assistant can ...

  • Send e-mails about BCA business to Keith Beene in Nashville.
  • Hold digital photos of Jake after trying to feed him rice cereal and mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Store all my friends - and contacts - phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
  • Keep my personal and office calendars from scheduling me in two places at the same time.
  • Remember my wife's birthday (while reminding me not to mention how many).
  • Transport documents between work and home.
  • List of all the tasks I have at work and all the chores I have at home.
  • Call my wife to tell her I've missed the bus because I was too distracted playing with my PDA.

Whether I become an addict is yet to be determined. What already is evident is that my faithful paper-based "organizer" is no match for the multitude of meetings I have to keep up with.

Time management specialists will tell you to keep only one calendar with all your appointments. That explains why I was losing the battle trying to keep straight a paper-based organizer and the Microsoft Outlook calendar on my work computer. I never remembered to combine the things I'd said "Yes" to at work with the other things I'd said "Yes" to at home and elsewhere.

Now every day my PDA will "synchronize" my appointments from work, home, church, BCA, a non-profit board and the commitments I make to friends and others, assuming I don't misplace it.

One thing it won't do, however, is tell me when to say enough is enough.

I have to decide to quit trying to pack more into my day and instead remember to leave time for Mary Marcia and Jake, as well as the time to recharge my batteries with rest, reading and casual pursuits.

I was in my first year of grad school when a professor gave me some of the best advice of the whole program: "You need to decide now what you're going to say "No" to, because you can't do it all."

She was right, and it helped me set boundaries for my two years of study, focusing almost exclusively on work, school and family.

Now I'm finding that I need to rediscover that ability to say "No."

Maybe you're finding yourself in the same boat. If so, join me for my next few blogs, as I'm going explore a few ideas on how to get ones schedule under control.

POSTED: Jan 23, 2007 | David Winfrey, Proposal Writer, SHPS - dmmwinfrey@gmail.com

Attention BCA'ers: It's time to play ball!!

The 2007 Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition is now underway. You can download the Call for Entries here. The theme for the competition this year is "Field of Dreams." With apologies to Kevin Costner, we are hoping that if we hold a competition, you will come! This year there are some new categories for podcasting, adjustments within existing categories, as well as some enhancements in how to prepare and submit news writing, feature writing, and photography entries. The entry fee is the same as last year: $40 per entry. The deadline for postmarking your entries is January 31. We are setting up the judging to be complete by the second week in March. Send me an email or give me a call if you have any questions about the competition. I look forward to seeing everyone at the BCA conference in beautiful Mobile, Ala., April 11-14!

POSTED: Jan 5, 2007 | Brent Thompson, Associate Director of Communications, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary - bthompson@swbts.edu

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