In the world of digital and social media church communication there are many individuals doing some great work and paving a path forward that the church has not been yet. Some of these individuals you may have had interactions with or have even seen a product of their work. Others might have slipped through the radar as they continue to work in the trenches of church communications. I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight them. Here is a small window into their world.
Meredith Gould is an author, writer, editor, digital communications consultant, has her Ph.D. in Sociology, and used to own a de-cluttering business. She created the #chsocm (Church Social Media) and holds weekly Tweet Chats for those in church communications. Meredith has also written one of the best church communication resources, The Social Media Gospel that should be on any church communicators “must-read” list. She is passionate about communications and how churches can best use this means of evangelism.
Here is my interview with Meredith.
MH: Meredith you already had a background in communications, but were not necessarily working within the church. How did you get started working in church communications?
MG: I’d already been a communications professional for years when I got started in church communications. Fortunately, I didn’t have to start out as a volunteer because the pastor who hired me understood the value of communications. Note: This was when websites were being built with Dreamweaver, newsletters were printed, and social media had yet to be invented. I’m glad and grateful I had the curiosity and willingness to get and stay current with new digital technologies as they have emerged.
MH: Having leadership in the church that understands the importance of communications is definitely a huge piece. What would you say most excites you about what you get to do?
MG: Currently I serve as a digital communications consultant to churches at all levels — local and judicatory — as well as denominations. I love being brought in to assess what is (and isn’t) working well at the levels of strategy, tactics, choice and use of tools, personnel, and budgets. Even more than that, I love helping the baffled, conflicted, and struggling learn more about what’s possible. I also appreciate opportunities to provide inspiration and comfort as well as practical technical advice.
MH: Love this statement, “I love helping the baffled, conflicted, and struggling learn more about what’s possible.” There are so many possibilities out there for digital communications and helping others learn about those is definitely a beautiful thing. Unfortunately every day will not be as beautiful, and there will be some difficult moments. What is one of the hardest aspects about what you do?
MG: Oh wow…okay, right? Dealing with people who don’t want to learn, grow, or change; those who cling to “the way we’ve always done it” and whose fear gets in the way of creating and building community. And I’m not only referring to church beyond-the-building! I’ve had the disturbing experience of trying to work with church leadership who undermined congregational development for those committed to church-the-building. I make a conscious effort to feel the sadness underneath my frustration and, yes at times, anger about these situations.
MH: Having been in the church and worked in the church for many years, I can attest to the frustrations and would agree that those moments are often some of the hardest and most difficult to work through. Those moments do provide some wisdom, though, for better or worse. From those wisdom providing experiences what is one piece of advice you would give someone who is new to church communications?
MG: Make sure your faith is deep and strengthened by spiritual practices of being to sustain you during times of disappointment and frustration.
MH: Amen. Meredith I have one last question. It isn’t a deep theological or strategy based question, just one for fun. Ready? Who is your favorite cartoon character?
MG: Is Wonder Woman either a cartoon or character? I believe she is real!
MH: We will count her because she rocks! Meredith thank you for sharing your insights and your passion for digital communications. This has been a blessing.
You can find Meredith online below and be sure to check out The Social Media Gospel!