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.
Seth Muse is the founder of The Seminary of Hard Knocks where they seek to help pastors and ministry leaders gain confidence and clarity to lead their ministry. Seth lives in Texas with his family and can be found all over the inter-webs talking about social media, church leadership and more. Here is my interview with Seth.
MH: Seth in the past you have been in the church working in student ministry, so how did you get started in Church Communications?
SM: I had been in youth ministry for almost 14 years when I entered seminary and was ready to move on to something else. I didn’t know what though. I had always had to keep up with the current digital trends in social media and technology because youth pastors have to do that sort of thing. Plus it had always been a natural fascination. I used to take things apart and put them back together as a kid. Ok, I just took them apart. I was an expensive child.
I stumbled upon the Church Marketing Sucks podcast with Dave Shrein, which led me to the Simply Communicate conference with Tim Peters. These two connections then led me to Pro Church Tools with Brady Shearer and everything just kind of magically snowballed into a true passion for church communications from there!
I thought the church marketing sucks was a gutsy name, so I followed them on Twitter. So, to make a long story longer, I basically just bumped into people doing church comms on accident one day and gradually drifted into it. So I’m a church comms drifter. Yeah…let’s call me that.
MH: You may have coined a new phrase or title there. What is one thing that most excites you about what you get to do?
SM: Right now, I don’t work in the church for a paycheck. I blog, podcast, and coach (pro bono for the time being) ministry leaders. My subject matter is focused on the practical side of ministry and is definitely aimed at newbies or those who haven’t had a ministry mentor in their lives.
I’m most excited when I can truly help someone see wisdom that they didn’t see before. Maybe I brought them wisdom, or maybe I did something stupid and they learned from me as a cautionary tale. Either way, I like to teach. I’m pretty forthcoming about my shortcomings and I truly believe that through my weakness God is shown to be strong.
I also enjoy making people laugh. I think there’s a lot of good people out there making great content that’s super helpful and they are all business. I write about leadership and practical ministry too, but I like to do it in a more light-hearted way.
I think we all need a break from taking ourselves so seriously sometimes. After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself, it’s probably because you’re not funny.
MH: There is a misnomer that the church has to be serious and no fun at all. Which is just strange to me because we have a great story to tell, a story that should leave us smiling and enjoying life, most of the time. I enjoy the smiles and the laughs. Keep it up.
With every job there are always moments that are not fun, and difficult. What is the hardest part of your job to deal with?
SM: The hardest part of my job is self-confidence. There are so many leadership gurus, Christian bloggers, and podcasts, that I sometimes wonder why I bother contributing. I constantly fight the inner monologue that tells me that there are others already talking about similar content and doing it better.
I believe that creatives get stuck sometimes on the very first hurdle: themselves. I have to keep telling myself that while it’s true this content isn’t exactly new, no one says it like me (or you) and because I’m the one saying it, that’s what makes it fresh. Staying true to who you are in Christ is the road less traveled by that makes all the difference.
The easiest part of my job, since you asked, is making friends online that have become real friendships. So, take THAT every pastor who has ever said “yeah, but how many of those Facebook friends are REAL friends?”
Just about all of them, dude. I’m picky about who I friend!
MH: Wow. Thank you first of all. I needed to hear that. I too deal with similar things. There are a lot of people just starting out in Church Communications.
What is one piece of advice that you would offer someone brand new in this area of ministry?
SM: Everyone says to start slow with one thing and do it well and that’s good advice, so I won’t say that. That would be redundant.
Instead, I’ll say remember that every handle represents a person and that you should treat them like one.
Also, network like a beast with others in the field and don’t be afraid to reach out to them. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that there are no more real celebrities. Reach out and make some friends who are killing it right now. They will help you do this job so much better so much faster.
MH: Love that last thought. Connections online are easier now than ever. Making them is so important, not to get famous, but just to have conversation with others who are dealing with similar things and asking the same questions.
Ok I have one more question. It’s less technical an more light hearted, which from your comments earlier should go over quite well. So, we all want to know what your favorite cartoon character is?
SM:I like the ones they’ve been playing on CNN and Fox News lately…
In all seriousness, I’d have to go with Tom and Jerry. I grew up on it and still watch it with my kids.
Ok, I watch it by myself sometimes. Seriously, every time something bad happens to Tom, it’s unique! Oh, the genius of Tex Avery!
MH: That first line though…ok moving on. Tom and Jerry are definite classics. Seth thanks for joining me for this interview and for all you do for church leaders. You are making a difference.
If you want to connect with Seth online check out the links below and be sure to check out the Seminary of Hard Knocks Podcast.
Facebook: Seminary of Hard Knocks
Instagram: Seth Muse