A Church Communications Podcast for a Global Pandemic

Bryan Haley

Churches have been forced to adapt their entire ministry model over the last several weeks. Here are some observations about what's taken place.

Show Notes

Mentioned Resources

Transcript

Bryan:

Hey church communicator, welcome to the Church Juice podcast. I'm Bryan Haley, the producer of Church Juice and I'm joined with my co-host, Jeanette Yates.

Jeanette:

Hey there.

Bryan:

We are here energizing church communications. So this is a little bit different than we've done before.

Jeanette:

Yeah, I'm having deja vu a little.

Bryan:

Yeah. So first of all, we've already done an intro episode but it never aired. So we are now re-recording it. Today's Good Friday that we're recording on and normally I wouldn't say when we're recording or what the date is because it takes a while to produce these things.

Jeanette:

Right.

Bryan:

But the world has changed in the last month. So we are redoing this and we're adding some new episodes because just like all of you who are listening, our worlds have also been basically upended. And so like you were saying before we got on, we're here in the mess with you. So we want to just talk about some of those things that we are learning or that we are seeing through all of this in the last several weeks too. So let me start by introducing you, Jeanette, because you're new to the podcast even though we've recorded several podcasts now.

Jeanette:

Yes, and I am so excited. Podcasts are my jam.

Bryan:

So later this season, we have some incredible interviews which I'm really looking forward to. But we felt like it was a better idea for us to take a step back. Instead of talking about being in the community and doing community events, that means something completely different right now than it did a month ago or two months ago when we recorded our original podcasts. So we want to talk about what's happening now and how we can resource you. But Jeanette is a church communicator extraordinaire from Florida. When I started at Church Juice almost three years ago now, one of the first things that we wanted to do was build a team of writers. And so I found Jeanette in one of the Facebook groups on church communication probably, and so I reached out to her because I saw the things that she was talking about and just posting everywhere. But Jeanette is in Jacksonville and why don't you talk about some of your experience a little bit?

Jeanette:

Well I'm not the only person that uses this phrase. But I think my friend Barbara [inaudible 00:02:14] says this as well. I'm an accidental church communicator. I didn't go to school to be a social media expert or a website person or even a podcaster, but I was volunteering at church and then I did a part time thing where I was serving as the church communications director, and then the next thing I knew I was running several social media channels for the church and writing and recording podcasts and doing Facebook lives for the church. And that has moved me into a lot of fun and exciting things.

So like Bryan, you were talking about, I get to sometimes write for Church Juice or other faith-based communication blogs and that's a lot of fun. And then most recently, my career made a shift when I started working with a company that serves churches, which is Text In Church. And so something that I really feel passionate about is encouraging churches to continue to reach their members and guests in their communities and working now with Text In Church is just another way for me to do that. So I still serve at my local church, so I still am in it and I still am in the trenches with church communicators, but I also get to take a step back and look and help churches on a broader scale as well. So I get a little bit of both of those things.

Bryan:

Yeah, and I think with your experience both... I mean you've been in actually multiple churches even in the last couple of years. You've been in a couple churches where you were the communication director. But even now with Text In Church, you're still working with churches.

Jeanette:

Yes.

Bryan:

Why don't you explain what you do a little bit and even what Text In Church does? Not that this is a podcast for Text In Church, but I do think it's a valuable resource and what you're doing is still valuable to a lot of churches.

Jeanette:

Right. Well Text In Church primarily focuses on helping churches connect with their communities and build better relationships and we do that in a couple of different ways. One of our things that we love to do is help churches follow up with their first time guests. And so we have digital connection cards and automated workflows that help churches streamline their guest followup process in a way that doesn't take away the personal connection but actually enhances it.

Bryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeanette:

And my job, in addition to running the social media or managing the social media, I also get to do live calls with church leaders every day where I'm helping them learn how to use the platform. And as someone who always wanted to be a cheerleader in high school and never had enough courage to actually go out for the team, the fact that I get to basically cheer on churches that are trying to do this new thing, and so we all get to celebrate wins together and what we see God doing in the churches that we serve. And it is just the joy of my life and so it's just so fun to do on a daily basis. So that's fun.

Bryan:

Yeah. So I guess in this first episode, we really just wanted to introduce the season a little bit. So when we first recorded back in February maybe, we recorded some interviews with some really great church communicators, but also church leaders or thought leaders in the church. But because of coronavirus, we've taken those episodes and pushed them back to later this spring or summer. So we're going to spend the next few episodes, just me and you, talking about what we've learned or what we've seen from other churches. So what are some of the things that you're hoping we talk about in these, I don't know what we want to call this, but this first segment of the next season of the podcast?

Jeanette:

Well I really think it's important to, as you said, the goal of this podcast is to energize the church communicators and church communications and so I think one of the things that we want to acknowledge is how all of this has energized churches.

Bryan:

Which it really has.

Jeanette:

Yes, and so I don't want to get... I'm going to hold that for the next episode.

Bryan:

Yeah.

Jeanette:

But I really think that's important because I think in the midst of all this, it's easy to look at all of the things that have gone wrong. But I think it's really important to focus on what is going right and then maybe share some strategies that we see emerging that churches that are doing this effectively, that these strategies that they're using. I think that's really important

Bryan:

Also, so the first, I don't know, three weeks, I can't even remember how many weeks we're into this now, but the first three or so weeks, right? It was very much a panic mode. What technology do we need to use or how do we take care of our livestream this weekend? And now I'm seeing a shift, even in this last week, where like I said earlier, this is Good Friday today. So I was talking to churches yesterday that were still trying to figure out what they were doing for Easter the Sunday. But there's been a shift to where it's a little more calming now because we realize it's not a two or three week thing, it's going to be longterm. So churches are starting to get into a new groove but also think how do we do this more longterm, sustainably?

Jeanette:

Right.

Bryan:

And what does coming back to church, to the church building, what's that going to look like? So those are some things that I think we'll address too because I think now is a good time to start addressing some of those and start thinking about those.

Jeanette:

Yeah, you bring up a good point. The first week, you're just trying to get something done and get it out because you want to make sure it's happening. But you're going to have to come up with sustainable, scalable procedures and processes and then to your point, I think in addition to just okay, how do we do this online because we need to, there is this shift in paradigm-

Bryan:

Yeah, absolutely.

Jeanette:

That's happening. So we hear this in the news in a different perspective, but the going back to normal or going back to what was before isn't going to happen.

Bryan:

Right. Normal is not normal anymore.

Jeanette:

Right.

Bryan:

There will be a new normal and right now we're all stuck at home alone. But eventually, there will be some return to normal, but that normal will look different. And so I think it's a good time to start thinking about what that may look like for the church.

Jeanette:

Right, and because I've been working in social media ministry for a long time, I already know this, but I think this opening of the concept of what community can be and what engagement can truly look like and true involvement, I think that is going to have a longterm impact on ministry for the better. And so I'm really excited about that. So I think we'll talk about that too. Just how this new normal, how this paradigm shift is going to impact the future of ministry on the local level and broader.

Bryan:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I do want to say before we close out this episode that one thing that we have been doing at Church Juice is a daily Zoom call. So it's a way for us to provide a sense of community for church communicators because we realize that this is still very new for a lot of churches. And so even just providing a sense of community or just somewhere to let off steam or to brainstorm, it's been a good way for us to build community among church communicators. So we've been doing that every afternoon if you're on the East Coast, so we'd love for you to join us. You can find information on that in our Facebook group, the Church Juice Insiders Facebook group.

Bryan:

But yeah, I think this first episode I really just wanted to introduce what we're doing. We're both recording from home, so if you hear my two year old running above me or screaming, that's why. But yeah, I am really excited to talk more about what we're seeing in the church right now because I think this is an exciting time. As scary and as nerve wracking and upending as the last few weeks have been, it really is exciting to see how the paradigm is going to shift and what that means for the future of the church, both embracing technology and also the need for community among our congregations.

Bryan:

We love being able to talk with church communicators from across the globe and we believe that every church and every communicator's story is unique and valuable. So this week we'll be continuing today's discussion inside the Church Juice Insiders Facebook group, but also in our daily Zoom calls. You can join the Insiders group as well as get today's show notes and the discussion guide for leading your own team talk by going to churchjuice.com/podcast.

Jeanette:

Church Juice's podcast is a production of ReFrame Media, a family of programs designed to help you see your whole life reframed by God's gospel story. Church Juice is produced by Bryan Haley, with post-production by audio engineer, Nate Morris in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information about Church Juice, visit churchjuice.com. For more information on ReFrame Media and our family of programs, visit reframemedia.com.