Two Roles One Director

Vanessa E. Burks County, MSW
HMA Director for Health Ministry and Spiritual Leadership

As a new member of the HMA Board, I am taking on two directorship roles over Health Ministry and Spiritual Leadership. I have been employed by Baptist Community Ministries in New Orleans, Louisiana, for almost 21 years. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Diploma in Christian Ministry, I never thought my path would take the route it has; however, my career and education has prepared me for these roles. Truly, my steps have been ordered.

I have trained and developed health ministers and taught the integration of faith and health in faith communities since 2001. Having a hand, and in many cases having a lead role in planning, recruitment, training, implementation, and evaluation of well over 350 faith community wellness ministries, has taught me a lot about working with communities to build strong, effective health ministry teams. These years of learning and teaching others have also taught me a lot about the power of strong and compassionate spiritual leadership in the work that we do.

 One key component to being effective is assessment. My goal is to learn what HMA constituents need and want in the areas I am responsible for and discover ways to direct people to the solutions. It’s important to hear the voices of the people we serve. We all have great ideas or what we think are great ideas, but if they don’t address the people’s needs, they fall flat.

My sincere desire is to develop a team of people who are passionate about Health Ministry and Spiritual Leadership and are willing to roll their sleeves up and grow these areas within HMA. That way, when people need a resource or a blueprint, we can offer advice and encouragement, and folks aren’t fledgling but are being supported and built up as we do this important work.

 My Vision Statement as a member of the HMA Board:

To grow the HMA community by appealing to younger generations to continue the great work of HMA and broadening HMA’s reach in the community by engaging people of various professions who ascribe to the integration of faith and health and who see the church as a healing place; and to provide tools, resources and training to nurture and enhance the skills of those who lead programs from concept to development, implementation, management, and oversight.

By Vanessa E. Burks County, MSW