Buster Taylor celebrates 25 years of ‘fulfilling’ service at Shocco Springscomment (0)
January 5, 2006
By Sondra Washington
Buster Taylor joined Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center’s maintenance staff in 1980. He was entering a new chapter in life and trusting God for direction.
One year later, Taylor became assistant director under then-director George Ricker, and eight years after that, he was appointed executive director, a position he has held for the past 16 years.
Recently Taylor celebrated his 25th anniversary as part of the staff at the Talladega center.
“It’s been very enjoyable,” he said. “I’ve really liked what I’ve done. I felt like God called me into ministry when I was a teenager, and this role at Shocco fits my skills and my passion of serving and providing a place where people can be introduced to Christ.”
Taylor attributed his fulfillment at Shocco Springs to his trust in God.
“He (God) has faithfully provided new challenges and opportunities through the past 25 years,” he said. “If we could just trust God more in directing us, we would all be more fulfilled.”
When Taylor began working at Shocco, the facility had just begun operating year round, having been mainly a summer camp open two or three months of the year.
His colleagues contend that he was instrumental in the improvement and development of the campus.
“He has led Shocco Springs to grow in unprecedented ways since he became director in 1989,” said conference relations associate Wendy Westerhouse, who has worked full time with Taylor for the past 20 years.
“Our attendance has more than doubled and our number of staff and budget have increased exponentially,” she said. “His emphasis on excellent customer service has impacted the tremendous increase throughout his tenure.”
Westerhouse calls reaching this milestone “a credit to his leadership.”
“He has been a gifted leader with tireless commitment, a servant heart and vision for Shocco Springs,” she said. “His character has demonstrated dedication and integrity to this ministry.”
Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions Executive Director Rick Lance said Alabama Baptists can be proud of Taylor and Shocco.
“Buster Taylor has been used by our Lord these past 25 years to grow the ministry at Shocco Springs to the level of excellence it enjoys today,” he said.
“I have known Buster all these years, and I have been gratified as to how he has grown during this period of time,” Lance said. “In my opinion, the best days for the ministry are yet to be realized. I join all the family called Alabama Baptists in congratulating Buster and his family on this historic celebration of a ministry so well blessed.”
Ricker also speaks highly of him.
“I never asked Buster to do any job whether it was digging up a sewer line or greeting a guest that he did not do well, and he always exemplified a servant’s attitude and showed joy in rendering the service for the Lord and Shocco Springs,” said Ricker, who spoke at a recent surprise celebration for Taylor.
“He is a growing Christian, and he is continuously striving to improve his job skills,” he said. “He has matured into one of the best executive directors I’ve ever observed. Buster and his staff remain focused on the purpose and mission of Shocco Springs.”
Taylor acknowledges the work of his predecessors and current staff in the success seen at Shocco. “We were very fortunate to have leadership who dreamed of making this a premier conference center,” he said. “A good heritage was built there when I came, and it’s been great to follow that.”
He added, “We have an excellent staff at Shocco Springs. They have shared the dream for what Shocco could be and been an integral part of making it a reality. I’m just fortunate to be there.”
Taylor and his wife, Mary, are members of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, in Birmingham Baptist Association.