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.
Jay Kranda is the Online Campus Pastor for Saddleback Church in California. Jay also has a weekly podcast called Social Media Church which he does with Nils Smith. The Social Media Church podcast seeks to have conversations with church leaders about social media. The podcast is on my weekly listen-to list. I highly recommend check it out, you will not be disappointed. Here is my interview with Jay.
MH: Jay, how did you get started in Church Communications?
JK: My first full-time ministry job was on the Saddleback Church’s communications team. I was over their creative volunteer ministries and really got immersed in what it means to do communications at a church from print, weekly deliverables, websites, regional campus dynamics, and pastor real-time changes needed. I really grew to respect the whole team and the entire process. I quickly got empowered to start Saddleback’s Facebook and Twitter presences and volunteer ministry. We found some amazing volunteers with true skill and we started to roll out a plan of attack. I was no expert, but through the coming years a true vision/plan started to unfold and make sense. One of the websites our team cared for was the online campus. I started to mess around with this little subdomain with the permission of my boss. That is how I came to be the online campus pastor.
MH: Being an online campus pastor is still a fairly uncommon role for those in the church world to have. It is fortunately becoming less and less uncommon, however across the board the title “online campus pastor” is not your typical staff role for a church. I’m sure there are things that excite you about your job, but what would you say most excites you about what you get to do?
JK: The reach! Anyone from anywhere can watch our content. It’s crazy. I talk with people through email, Facebook, Twitter, and SKPE from remote places every week. I love it. To think that we have the ability to have a service going on 24/7 and reach people 24/7 is just nuts! When you take that type of online offering and pair it with the right strategy it’s pure gold. The last 8 months I’ve been focusing on doing local meetups and gatherings in areas where we have online viewers and small groups, which I believe is the last big key to online outreach. If you can use online streaming of your church’s content to help inform and build up a future weekly expressions of your church that would be amazing! I love I get to pilot those ideas and pastor the online community at Saddleback.
MH: That is awesome. Love that you are focusing on taking the online world offline. That is definitely something that needs to go hand-in-hand with any online presence. With every job there are always challenges and days that are more difficult than others. What is the hardest part of your job?
JK: Focus. So many numbers are appealing and technology is fun, but the need to focus on the best plan to accomplish our vision. Large numbers are way easier online because of accessibility and ad money, but really developing a robust offline plan and evolving it continually takes focus. We have failed a ton with our online efforts, but fortunately have had some great successes. I’m grateful for my leadership to allow me to grow in some of these areas and take some risks. I really get to work at an amazing church!
MH: You are not alone in the focus area. With all the new sites, apps, gadgets, etc. that come along it is easy to get distracted and turn our attention to other things. Keeping in mind what is necessary and remembering “why” we do this is something that helps me refocus when I tend to take the fork at the road. For those new to church communications, what is one pieced of advice that you would give them?
JK: Who is your target market? Who is this website made for? Who is this program designed for? What would that person think of the design and wording? It’s hard to undo our personal preferences, but we need to consider who we are going after and somehow find those people and ask for honest feedback on our products and our programs. Listen to your target community. If you can do this life will be easy.
MH: Those are great questions to start with. Love it. Ok Jay. I have one more question. This is not a deep technical or theological question, but one that I’m sure at least two people would love to know. Here it is, what is your favorite cartoon character?
JK: Daffy Duck. Didn’t watch too many cartoons growing up, but my cousins often watch a few and I always remember laughing when Daffy Duck was on.
MH: Daffy was always good for a few laughs in my house too. Jay thank you for sharing your wisdom and most importantly thank you for what you do in the world of social media for church leaders.
You can check out Jay online and don’t forget to check out the Social Media Church Podcast.
Snap Chat: jaykranda