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.
Jeanette Yates is a Church Communication director at Southside UMC in Jacksonville, Fl. I connected with Jeanette through the Church Communications Facebook Group and we have had many great conversations about communications in the church. She is a beautiful soul with a heart for Jesus and the message of the Gospel to reach those online and offline. Here is my interview with Jeanette.
MH: Jeanette you have not been in Church Communications for very long, how did you get started?
JY: When I started 3 years ago, it was a temporary part time position during the summer filling in for a friend on maternity leave. My main duties were to send an email out once a week and write copy for the Sunday bulletin. Over the last 3 years, it has become much more than that!
MH: I always love how ministry roles morph and grow over time. For better and sometimes not so. Glad yours has been a for the better. What is something that excites you about your role at Southside UMC?
JY: I love the creative side of things and I love learning ways to be more creative. I love listening to podcasts, participating in tweetchats, and then taking what I learn and put it into practice. With no formal training in design or marketing, I have always felt more comfortable just writing. I have really enjoyed learning how to use images, along with my words, to tell the story of our church family and the larger story of the gospel.
MH: Yes. Learning the nuances of online communications is fun, I too love the creative side. With any job there are difficulties, what is one thing that you find to be difficult?
JY: We recently began to use a more streamlined process for planning communications. Trying to refine this process so that it is helpful for everyone is a current challenge. Also, as much as I love all that I am learning about the ministry of communications, it strikes me sometimes that my increased workload/productivity on the job has caused a decrease in meaningful communications with my family. I am challenged to give my best at work AND give my best at home. I can only do this, however, when I give God my best first! Recommitting to a more consistent personal quiet time is how I have achieved some clarity here.
MH: Amen to all of that, especially the last portion. Sometimes we get so focused on what needs done that we forget to take care of the important aspects of life – our relationships with others and Jesus. You are not exactly a seasoned veteran in this area of ministry, but I know you have a few pieces of advice for those who are brand new – or even something to remind those who have been doing this a while. What is something you can share with us that you have found helpful, or necessary?
JY: Listen, Learn, but remember that all good ideas do not have to be implemented at once, nor is every good idea meant for every person/church. Sometimes all the ideas are overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Ask the question: where will most people FIRST encounter this church? (for most, this means updating the website…that’s what I did!)
MH: Great thoughts! Ok I have one more questions. It’s an easy one, promise. What is your favorite cartoon character?
JY: Snoopy. When I was in 9th grade, I played Snoopy in a church presentation of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” After that AWESOME performance (har har har) I would get snoopy stuffed animals, trinkets, figurines, etc. for birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions.. So much so that I had enough to decorate my first child’s nursery entirely with snoopy/peanuts memorabilia!! So, Snoopy will always have a special place in my heart…and my attic 🙂
MH: Snoopy is awesome. Who doesn’t love some Snoopy? Jeanette thank you for your willingness to chat and more importantly thank you for what you are doing for the Kingdom.
If you want to connect with Jeanette online check out the links below.