Vocational Transition From Media in the Marketplace to Ministry | Jenn Clauser

Bart Blair Leave a Comment

Jenn Clauser is the director of communications Coker United Methodist. Jenn shares how she managed reinventing church communications at Coker.

Podcast Notes

Website: coker.org

Email: communications@coker.org

Instagram – @JennClauser, @cokerumc

LinkedIn – @JennClauser

Kenny Jahng StoryBrand Episode

 

Podcast Transcription

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Well, welcome to the Church Growth Interviews podcast, I’m Bart Blair and I am joined with my friend and the CEO of Missional Marketing, Jason Hamrock. Good day, Jason.

Good day, Bart. And it is a good day, we’re here right before Easter. I know this podcast is going to come out later on, but Easter is in a few days and I am excited.

Are you feeling holy during the Holy Week? That was a loaded question, wasn’t it?

You know, I’m just, every Easter that comes around, it just…You know, you’re supposed to do this as Christians, were supposed to do this every day. But it’s just those times where you’re going, Lord, you are so good in that what you did for us, you came to us. Instead of us having to find our way to God, you came to us, and you made a way. And I just, every time I think of it, I get goose bumps, and I get excited. So, I’m excited for Easter.

Yeah, it is a very encouraging time. Again, as you said, that by the time people are listening to this, they’ll probably be a few weeks past Easter. And if that’s you, pastor, or church communications director. Or anybody else, we hope that your Easter was everything that you dreamt it to be. I mean, this is an interesting season this year, because, you know, this time last year, churches were trying to figure out how to do Easter online, most churches were not able to meet in person, and this year we’re seeing a lot of hybrid experiences. Our church is doing, we have online services. We have, I think we’re doing six in-person services on Saturday and Sunday. But we’re doing Good Friday, Friday is a virtual online experience only. So they have one that’s geared towards families, and then another one that’s going to be done for just like kind of an adult only participation for Good Friday. So I think it’s really neat that they, you know, that they kind of picked up on that said we can do Good Friday, just online, so let’s just do that. So I thought that was kind of neat, churches are really being a lot more innovative and a lot more creative coming out of COVID, don’t you think?

I know so, it’s been fun to see that. And that’s probably you, and if you’re listening to this and your church has been innovative, way to go. Way to shift, you know, a year ago, and then you guys have poured into it to make it a meaningful engagement online. So for those churches that are meeting in person, that’s a blessing, right? Because not all churches, even right now, can’t meet in person, not all of them.

Yeah.

But everybody can meet online, and you guys have done a great job of pouring resources, and energy, and creativity, into that.

Yeah, I did a lot of ministry in Canada, and I know a lot of my friends in Canada, their churches, especially in Ontario and the Toronto area, they haven’t met. I’ve just talked to another friend of mine this week who’s in the Columbus area, nd for Easter weekend, they’re having their first service in person in like fifty three or fifty four weeks, like it’s just been over a year, and so they’re meeting in person for the first time and they’re almost 13 months. So, yeah, it’s a really different season.

Now we do this podcast for the purpose of really trying to help church leaders, pastors, communications directors, executive pastors, learn new things. We try to introduce them to people that they might not otherwise be introduced to. I mean, we’ve had some lately, and we’ve been pretty blessed, we’ve had some big name people. Like big name, at least in our in our circle, on the podcast. Jim Tomberlin was a guest on the podcast not too long ago, and a lot of people know who he is. Who are some of the other people? We had Kenny Zhang, and we’ve had some really solid people, we got some other kind of recognizable names coming up.

Today, we’re going to share with you listeners an interview with someone that I’m pretty sure you don’t know. Unless you attend Coker United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas, then there’s a very good chance you know Jen Clauser, who is the communications director or director of communications at Coker. But I tell you what, Jason, I had not met her before we did this podcast. I know that you have had a working relationship with her for the last couple of years. She blew me away, she is so sharp, dynamite, I cannot say enough good things about the impression that she left me with in regards to the way that she’s managed really just kind of reinventing church communications at Coker United Methodist. What were your thoughts, before we play the interview, what were some of your thoughts?

Well, you hit it right there. I’ve had the opportunity and the privilege to work with Coker for a number of years now. And as Jen and I became friends and colleagues, we were working together trying to help Coker reach more people. What you said is exactly right, she’s sharp, she’s creative, and she brought a lot of energy. And here’s the thing about, she worked in the marketplace before stepping into her current role. And so, she was sharp enough to understand, okay, this is how we do things, but if we make some twists, and changes, and turns, and do things differently, we’re going to have a better outcome. And so she wasn’t afraid to try different things, and she’s always thinking about what can we do next? She’s always asking me questions about what should we be doing, what do you think? And so that’s a sign of a good leader, one who isn’t afraid to to try things, but is taking the advice from people all around her and leaning into that. And she was able to, and you’re going to hear this through the podcast, successfully move her leadership team into this thinking. And she had a lot of support from the leadership team because of what she did.

So, yeah, the takeaway is for anybody that’s creating the communications department, brand new to the communications department, maybe you’re an executive or a lead pastor and you’re thinking about how can I get my communications department moving in a certain direction? This is going to be a really fruitful podcast interview.

Yeah, I agree with everything you said. You know, I think one of the things that Jen seems to have done very well, is she’s earned the trust of her leaders. And so having earned the trust of her leaders, she’s been empowered to make some decisions or work with her leadership, her senior leadership team, to make effective decisions about the way that they’re doing communications, both internal communications, as well as their digital outreach strategy, their marketing, the things that they’re doing to to reach more people in their community. So, fantastic podcast, she is a fantastic person. And so without any further delay, let’s go ahead and roll our interview with Jen Clauser at Coker United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas.

I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on.

Hey, it’s our pleasure.

Yeah, I’m excited for today’s podcast. So, Jenn, tell our audience a little bit about who you are. How did you become the Communication Director at Coker?

Sure. Well, I’m Jenn Clauser, I’ve been with Coker’s since 2017. My background, let’s see, I graduated with a degree in communications. I left college thinking, oh, I’ll never do anything in communications, that just seems bizarre. But I wanted to get out fast, and it seemed like the easy degree to go. I took off from there and did a live event production for about 15 years in various capacities and roles, from theater productions to corporate events. I was everything from a lighting and sound operator, to a producer, a stage manager, production supervisor, you name it.

After kind of wrapping up that little segment of my life, I joined a creative firm as the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. That creative firm, yeah, did themed entertainment, fabrication, and design. So Bart, you’ll be familiar with Big Tex, Yeah, they’re in Dallas, Texas, they actually rebuilt Big Tex when he burned down. So it was, yeah, definitely…

That was a sad, that was a very sad day in Texas when Big Tex caught on fire.

It was a sad day, it was. And they kept that guy that, I don’t know how tall he is, 60 foot, they kept him under wraps in Bernie, Texas, for a year. Yeah, you can Google the story, it was it was a great one. So they redesigned and fabricated him, did museum exhibits, and all of that. And while I was working there, I was also hosting a small group in our home, it was multigenerational, and it was with our neighbors. And our home church at the time with was Oak Hills Church here in Texas. And during that small group, I just got a nudge from God that I had been giving him pieces of my life and not all of my life.

So I had built, you know, like a war room, like a prayer war room, you know, like the movie. And I had gone in there one day and I was praying, and I just felt God just say like, I want full surrender, like I want full surrender of you. And I was like, all right, I’m all in. I don’t know what I’m in for, but I’m in. And not too long after that, a gal from the small group came and she spoke Jeremiah 1:7 over me. And it says, “Go where I tell you to go, and say what I tell you to say.” And so it was like, okay, well, that’s my call. That’s super unclear, but it’s my call, and I’m just going to go where God sends me. And I just wanted to extend the gospel message all the time, in any way he asks me to do it.

So, Oak Hill’s called and asked if I would come on part time with them, doing their social media publishing. And so I did, and I was working that along with being the VP of Marketing and Business Development, and I just fell in love with it. And so the more posting I was doing, the more intertwined I became in the church world, the more I wanted to do ministry work full time. So I found the job at Coker, and started in 2017.

Really? So your story probably resonates with a lot of our listeners in that, like myself, we come from the corporate world.

Right.

And Bart as well. And yet God has a sense of humor putting us in the spot, like what are you talking about? Working for a church. I’d never thought I work..

Right.

But that obedience to that call is really a big theme for a lot of us, so way to go with that. Now, you bring a lot of different perspective about how corporate world does communications, and creativity, and all that kind of stuff. So what’s some of the stuff that you’ve brought to Coker, some of the things that you oversee? To let our viewers…You’re the Communication Director, what does that mean?

Right. Right. Yeah, that’s interesting, I think that’s why we jive so well. Right? Because having the corporate background, you can kind of get things done, whereas I don’t know, some people in the church world like to do things the way that they’ve always done them. And I don’t know that that was necessarily true at Coker, I sure did run into some of it, but not all of it. They were actually pretty forward thinking with their branding, whenever I had started working there. We’re within the United Methodist Church, so our pastors are assigned different places. So our Senior Pastor had just started, so he’s very forward thinking, and had already started to implement some things.

So once I got on staff, the brand, like I said, was developed. I moved forward with redesigning the bulletin, and then creating a magazine that told the stories of Coker. Kind of developing a communications plan overall, so that we weren’t copy and pasting the same content on every channel, but using the channels a little bit more intentionally. We developed a plan for the promotions. So when we received promotions from the different ministries that needed to be sent out, a way to do that and kind of give them the platforms that they needed to be able to share their ministry, mission, and all of that kind of stuff. So that’s kind of what I started doing at Coker.

And then one of the big glowing neon red flag lights was the website that they had at the time. It wasn’t built on a WordPress platform, and that was in 2017-2018, when I felt like all of them should be. That a communications director should definitely be able to get in there and update the content pretty easily, and that was not the case. I mistakenly thought that it was my predecessor that had directed the Web company incorrectly. So I went back to the same Web company and said, hey, let’s go ahead, let’s rebuild this, let’s do it on a WordPress platform, let’s get this going. And the guy, unfortunately, was nonresponsive. I mean, he had drawn up this whole contract and this plan, and didn’t move forward with it. And it just amazed me, I ran into that with a couple of vendors there in my early church days.

And I remember being in prayer and being like, God, I don’t understand. Like, do they assume churches aren’t going to pay them, or like are they not kingdom minded, like what is happening? Why can’t I make things move forward? This is very simple, it’s a website. And I think along that time was when when we connected, you had come in to San Antonio to do church analysis on the various churches here and the free analysis. And just show us a little bit more about how we could use our website, not as a static, put it up there and let it look pretty and let people come to it and find it, but actually let the website reach out for us. And so that was where the church growth strategy came in with that website. So that’s what we started doing to whenever I started there at Coker.

Yeah, you guys have been really, really good, and consistent on, and you said this earlier about like sharing stories. Using the the changed lives of people that go to Coker, and what God’s doing through all that, and then getting that out on the different platforms. Is that something that you have chosen to go with these different platforms, like you guys use the Google Ad Grant, and you’re using Facebook, and Display, and you’re using all these different tools to reach people. Like how did you get leadership on board with something like that.

Hmm, that’s funny. Yeah, I just did it. No, I’m just kidding. I just did it and asked for permission later. No, that’s not true. So when I started I had a communications committee, and I thought that is not going to go well. I do not want these people collaborating and then sending me all of these things to do. But that’s not what they were there for, they were very knowledgeable in the world of communications. Many of them had worked in advertising, and media, and publishing firms, in the past, and so that was good. And I remember one of the first things they told me, was they looked at my budget for the year and there was a line item in there for advertising in The Express Newspaper, and this was in 2017. And I was like, no, like nobody gets The Express Newspaper anymore, we’re just going to do all this through social. Social’s supercheap, and it has a big reach, like this is crazy, take this out of my budget. And they said no, you leave it. And I was like okay. And they were like we don’t care if you use it for newspaper ads, but leave that money in there because you don’t want to lose it, it’ll be hard to get it back in. And I said, okay, fine. So because I had that flexibility right there in the budget, I could get super creative. And because, you know, because Google Ad Grants, and Google Display Networks, and social media, wasn’t anything the church had necessarily ever done, it didn’t disrupt anybody’s workflow for us to add it in,

I think where we run into needing to, what’s the word, like change management, like when we need to help guide the culture, and when we run into tension there is when we actually go to somebody and say, hey, I’m need you to do your job slightly different in the name of church growth. And then they start to feel uneasy because they’re used to doing it a certain way, it’s worked, that kind of thing. But this was all so new, that when you presented it, Jason, when you presented it to me, it was so common sense, it would be silly not to do it. And then when I presented it to my leadership, it was the same thing, they were like, yeah, go for it. It sounds like you’ve got some great experts on board, you know, guiding you. So while I would like to take credit for being all knowing about the Google Ad Networks, SEO, Google Grant processes, and all that, I had no idea. I knew Google Grants were out there and that they offered money to nonprofits. But the idea of applying for those was super overwhelming, especially with trying to fly the airplane and build that at the same time. And I used that hypothetically, like, you know, by trying to do my day to day, I couldn’t stop what I was doing and try to learn how to do Google Grants. But yet, this free money is just out there with significant impact waiting for us to use. So that’s kind of, yeah, how we got onboard.

I want to get you to rewind just a little bit, and I think here’s what I’m going to suspect, that the church environment that you walked into hadn’t been doing these types of things before. Give us a little bit of sort of an overview of the demographic that makes up Coker, as well as what do they actually hire you to do? Because I’m going to guess that here we are going on four years later, that what you’re doing in your role today is probably a bit different than maybe what you were hired to do four years ago. Kind of just give us a little bit of an overview. What was the church like when you came in? What were sort of the the day to day role and expectations that you had? And how was that sort of morphed over the course of the last few years? And most specifically, if there’s anything that’s kind of changed in the last year with COVID, and just things that might have have forced some change in the context of your role in what you’re doing? Just kind of unravel that for us a little bit.

Sure, okay, so when I was hired on, again, I was hired on and I started just kind of updating all the things that were the common sense updates. The website, the newsletter, taking what they currently had and making it not look like a word document newsletter and making it into a magazine, you know, the bulletins and that kind of thing. And then, the process at the time, again, their previous communications director was one to take all requests and publish all requests. And I came from the corporate world where I led teams that would either design and build theme fabrication, or museum exhibits, or led teams that would produce corporate events. So to take these requests, kind of like a fast food order system, wasn’t working for me. And so we started changing the culture a little bit, like let me help you promote these things in the platforms that make the most sense for the audience you’re trying to reach. It doesn’t make the most sense for you to put this up on a digital sign for people to drive, by when your audience is not physically driving by the church.

So the demographic at the church at the time was average age of 65 and over, primarily white. And our new pastor was brought in because he was a church planter in the past, and so church growth is definitely in his repertoire. We had also brought in a pastor that preaches in Spanish because in San Antonio, Texas, we are just quite frankly, known as the big white church. Right. And so we’re in the middle, the demographics around our church do not reflect the demographics you see in the church. So we knew we had to do some outreach there, too, in order to grow the church. So we started an Español service, started reaching out to the local area, started trying to do some church growth.

So, my role has evolved, especially over COVID. Let’s see, so our story isn’t unlike that of many churches, right? COVID hits and all of a sudden we’re taking everything that we’ve got in person and putting it online. Thankfully, we already had our live strong presence going, so it was more of trying to get all of the small groups and the classes that wanted to continue to meet through COVID on Zoom, and there was definitely some some circus acts there, I remember the first the very first week I was trying to share Zoom logins, sorry if anybody from Zoom is listening, but I was trying to share Zoom logins because we thought we’re only in this for two weeks, right, so we don’t really need all these logins. And there was a youth class that was meeting at the same time as the main pastor’s class, and so they tried to login and kicked the main pastor out of his class, and it was just kind of a circus. And, you know, we’re all texting behind the scenes trying to get it all up to date. Anyway, everybody has their own logins now, so we run those classes legitimately, so it was kind of a scramble.

What we found was, you know, our online presence, we’ve been intentional about working on that since we built the website in 2017, 2018. And so when COVID hit and people were either discouraged and trying to find a church, or their church home wasn’t able to live stream online, they came to Coker. And so where we were worshipping eight hundred on the weekends, now we were, I mean, I remember talking with you, Jason, one day and going these numbers are crazy. Like it is double, triple what we saw in person, and they’re online, and I have no idea how to know who these people are. So that was something that I was going back and forth with leadership on, we developed like a registration page, which is is fine. I mean, people do register on it if they want to be seen and known. It’s maybe two hundred a weekend that will actually fill it out.

We just, we worked with Story Brand to develop a narrative for the church. We looked at the thing that that Coker does extremely well, and always has since it was established in the mid-1800s, is community. Really, they do an amazing job of community. My family and I visited another church this past weekend, and my daughter looked at my husband and she said, no, this church was nice, but I’m not known here and I’m known at Coker. And you will be, so if you want to blend in, don’t come to Coker because they will know you. They will greet you from the the drive in. They will know who you are when you leave. They’ll talk about you in good ways. They’ll encourage you to come back. We encourage open conversations, there’s the rule that you enter the conversation and leave the conversation in love of one another. But the stuff in the middle, gospel, politics, whatever, can be talked about in a safe place there. And so the community at Coker is very good, so we worked with the story brand to to say, look, we know that everybody’s been isolated this year, you can have community here. So come in, come into our Connecting at Coker class, come in.

We’ll send you a free book, if you don’t want to be in our class. Of course, we’re still going to market to you, right, like we’re still going to email you. And I say that on there, like I’m going to send you a free book, but you’re also going to be added to the email list. And so is trying to identify some of these people that are analytics right now, because the analytics are actual people. And I was sitting in reflection one day. I was praying, and I was like, God, just how do we get these people in? How do we get them in? How do we get them in? We’ve got an online campus, how do we get them in? And God just put on my heart, just feed them where they are. He just kept saying, feed them where they are, feed them where they are.

So I sat down and I sketched up kind of what Coker looks like. You know, it’s Coker Church is a physical campus. Coker Online is the online campus. Coker At Home is the way we resource families at home to reach out to their neighbors, and to disciple their kids, and things of that nature. And then Coker Beyond is our mission outreach, which we have some partnerships in Mexico and beyond. And so I was looking at those different areas, and thinking within those areas who are our live attendees, who are OnDemand attendees, who are the people that we won’t ever see, the ones that will just email us and ask us what kind of Bible we use and then we’ll never see them again, or may not even email us at all, we just feed them where they are. So we’re trying to be intentional in those areas. And then we’re also trying to take that that message that’s on the website, of this idea of community and making sure that that message continues through the connections class. So it’s not just a handoff, okay, here’s somebody who’s identified that their new, take them into the connections class and then we don’t see them again. But they actually have somebody to walk with them, and somebody who understands the mission of Coker to walk with them, through the entire process to really draw them in.

So, my focus this year, in addition to the website, and the newsletter, and the more practical things of communications, and also doing the PR pieces as they come up, is to really kind of identify who these people are, and walk with them into our church. So if that’s online, it’s an email, and then they attend online class. And then, you know, just really guiding them into the doors of our church, so that once they get in, they are seen and known and they don’t have to go through that clunky, awkward, trying to meet new people at the church, they’ve gotten more of a warm welcome. Yeah.

You know, yeah, thanks for that explanation. I remember the days, over the years, where we you and I have talked and we would sit there and strategize what you’re going to go to leadership with and say, hey, I need this budget because I want to do this, or I want to do that, and I remember those conversations. So what would you, what kind of advice would you give somebody who’s in a similar role to you, but maybe is starting out and they’ve got to go to leadership. And they got to say, hey, I need more resource, I need more whatever that might be, people, budget money. You know, what kind of advice do you give somebody to get started in digital marketing or any kind of marketing?

Right. Okay, well first I would say commit it to prayer. I know that sounds obvious, and that’s a church answer, but I am not kidding when I say the things that I have committed to prayer, and not asked for my will to be done, but just asking God to guide the entire thing. Those are the things that are coming to fruition, that’s when the surprise vendors show up and become partners rather than just vendors. And that’s when volunteers show up and they say, hey, I really want to work with you and be an online greeter throughout the summer. Like it’s prayer that really stirs people, so I would say definitely start in prayer.

The second thing I would say is, is look at the resources that you have, and see where you can make tweaks that don’t cost anything. You know, one of the things that, Jason, you and I worked on, was like keywords in Google, right, so we embed those in the back of the website. Well, by using those, our pastor has now put those into the titles of his sermons. So then when we post the sermons on YouTube, we can have those Google keywords as part of the descriptions, so we’re more easily found and it increases our footprint. And that’s something that doesn’t cost anything to do, it’s just a culture change, right? Thankfully, my leadership is on board with these sorts of ideas, some some may not be, but he is, so that’s great. And it did take a little bit of resource, it did take a little bit of reallocating, just because I needed to make sure that somebody in my department was able to take the postings and actually post the words. So any change does take some resources. So I would say, where can you get the most bang for your buck? Like look for those areas, because digital, you can extend your outreach a lot of times for not very much.

And then beyond that, maybe you look at, I mean, I’m not trying to kill the mail system, and I’m not trying to kill the local newspaper. But if that’s a line item, make a decision about your reach. Like decide, if I’m mailing, if I’m doing a mailer, it goes out to twenty five thousand people in the local area in this age range or this demographic. But I can’t see who those people are, I can’t get that mailing lists. And online, there’s a way to have them sign up for a free book or something like that, where you are actually getting the warm leads. And once you have the warm leads, then you know the people. So, yeah, I would just recommend first look at kind of the low hanging fruit, and then build on it from there. And I think running the analytics is huge, because we’re able to actually say, okay, look, this ad or or this web page got twenty five thousand impressions. You know, and even if even if your online presence gets twenty five thousand impressions and then nobody comes in the door, well then what product is it, or I’m sorry to say it’s a product, but what experience is it that’s not resonating with people in your area? You know, I mean, we may come up with a great idea that’s not necessarily in God’s plan for us right now. And it might be a wonderful thing that has worked for another church, but it just isn’t for our area. And so then you know that, and you say, okay, we we promoted it, it wasn’t the promotions, this just isn’t where God wants us right now, let’s pivot.

Jenn, let me interrupt you there for a second. What kind of reporting do you regularly provide for your leaders? So it sounds like you’ve garnered support from them. they’re working with you. What kind of reporting do you do for them with regards to saying, okay, these are the way that we’re allocating our resources. And, you know, you use analytics, what are the analytics, what are the things that you’re presenting to your leaders? How do you present it to them in a way that helps them to continue to stay encouraged about the work that you’re doing and the way that you’re allocating those resources?

Sure. Well, okay, so Missional Marketing runs us our reports. Right? And I know you guys didn’t bring me on this podcast to sell you, but you really are, you really have become a partner with us. So I appreciate the reporting that you run for us, that shows even how many times a website is visited. Recently they wanted, our leadership wanted, to add a page to our website that showcased all of our lay leaders, which is good. But I also said, okay fine, it’s good, but the page that showcases our staff only gets eight visits a year. Right? So if we’re going to showcase all of our lay leaders, and you’re going to put all this work into this Web page, then how are you also going to promote this Web page to make sure that it’s worth your while? And so it was good to have those numbers so that we don’t have a whole big team spinning their wheels for something that’s not going to make an impact. So the number of reporting I do is Web impressions, any boosted ads that we do, I report on those. I go ahead and report on the follow those on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and our podcast channel. And then I report on any increase in numbers on the email, the weekly email. Monthly, I drop all of the new addresses in there, and we’re averaging about sixty a month in new people that we’re reaching out to, and those are warm leads. So those are kind of the standard numbers that I report on.

We also, I’ve mentioned that we built that online campus. So we’re watching now to see how many people attend the live classes, how many attend the classes on demand, and then how many people are just visiting the website in general.

Hmm. Yeah, I remember talking to you about this, and I’m going back from my experience as a communication director. When I was wanting to increase the budget for the year, every church you have the same, our listeners, there’s a season for when you’re going to talk about, it’s budget season. You know, you have to put together your want list and you need list, right? I learned a hard lesson in that if I really wanted something, I couldn’t just say, hey, can I have, you know, two thousand dollars added to the budget for advertising? Because that wasn’t enough, I actually had to spell out, I’d like two thousand dollars for advertising because I want to use this platform and target these people, because these are the people we’re trying to reach to grow our church. And, you know, there are so many, you talked about keywords, there are so many Google tools, and other tools other than Google, but we always talk about Google because they own 92 percent of market share. But there’s so many great tools out there that you can equip yourself with, so that you can confidently walk into that room and say, here’s why I need this increase in budget because of this. And I always tell churches, hey, it’s not about spending money with us. Like, no, it’s about equipping yourself so that you can make smart decisions on what you should do with that. If you can do it yourself, awesome. But being able to walk into the leadership room, if you will, and presenting to them, here’s what I know, here’s the data that’s happening, and here’s where we want to go with it. You are going to be in such better shape. I learned the hard lessons of, I got a lot of no’s because I was not prepared, I did not [inaudible] myself. And I’m like, I’m a little slow, so the light bulb turned on. Hey, why don’t you go back and present something that will actually make sense to them, and bring them up to speed. And then when I did that, I got green lights, I got increases in budget, because of the fact that I would do the homework.

There’s a teaching component to that, right, you’ve got to educate yourself on what you can know, and then be able to teach your leaders how to understand these things. Most pastors and most churches really don’t care how SEO works, but if you can bring enough of an explanation to them that they can see what the value of that is going to be in reaching more people online, and reaching more people where they are really, everyone’s online. So I think, you know, your ability to learn, your ability to communicate that to others, is huge. And that’s one of the things that that we, at Missional Marketing, pride ourselves on is our ability to try to…Not all the churches that we work with have a communications director, many of the churches that we work with, we’re dealing directly with the senior pastor in the church. And we’re doing the best that we can to try to educate, and inform, and equip, for making the best decisions.

Coker is clearly very blessed in having you, a person who gets this stuff, I’m very impressed, Jenn. And yeah, this has been really, really a very insightful conversation. We are going to want to kind of wrap up here in just a minute, but I have a couple of more questions for you. One of which being, you mentioned earlier, that you had gone through Story Brand framework with your church, which we’re a huge Story Brand fans. In fact, we just had a podcast just released earlier this year with Kenny Jahng, who not only works with the church [inaudible] team, but he is also a certified Story Brand guide. So if someone’s listening to this, and they’re looking for more information about Story Brand, they should check out that podcast episode, I’ll make sure that that’s listed in our show notes today. But you’re obviously looking and learning from others, who are some of the other people that you’re looking to and learning from today to be better in your role as a communications director?

Sure, yeah. Hey, Kenny’s a great one, and then Katie Allred, she also leads the, I’m sure you’ve heard her name a lot, she also leads the Church Communications Facebook group. And that has been super key, especially when we were going through COVID. Man, any time there’s a natural disaster, anything, where we’re all jumping in there to see what’s happening and sharing best case, best cases. We recently signed up for a seminar that, I don’t know if I want to advocate for it yet because I haven’t been in it. But it’s the Barna Group, I think, and it is titled…

Everything Barna Group does is good.

Oh okay, good.

Barna’s great.

Ok, and it’s Leading A Hybrid Church. So I am working with, so the pastor that I report directly to is in charge of adult discipleship, and is also taking in some of this online ministry stuff, so that I’m not having to advocate it on my own. And as you guys were talking, he’s actually a gifted teacher, which is great because I tend to be like I don’t understand why people aren’t understanding what I’m saying. Well, he’s gifted as a teacher, which means he can take all of the spaghetti thoughts that I have, make them linear, and then present them alongside of me, and so that’s very helpful.

So I’m looking at getting a couple of others on board, maybe the leader of family ministries, and our director of finance, and then the leader of audio visual, to see if we can all take this cohort class together. Because really, when we’re talking about going hybrid and digital, it’s not just a communications thing. Right? It involves the pastors, it involves adult discipleship, it involves family ministries, and so just really trying to get a whole church buy in on what this new season will bring as far as hybrid ministry.

That’s great. Yeah, I will see if I can find the link to that Barna conference and get that in the show notes as well, because everything they do is great. I actually have seen some ads and some promo, probably gotten some emails from them on that same topic. As we wrap up here, Jenn, we’re, Jason and I, we’re going to continue learning from you. This has been fantastic, and really insightful. I’m sure that there might be some listeners who might have some questions, and maybe some follow up stuff that they’re curious about in terms of the way that you’re doing ministry, and the way that you’re executing your role. If people want to get in touch with you, if they had questions for you, or were just looking for some advice or counsel. How can they how can they find you? How can they reach you?

Yeah. So, my email address is easiest known as communications@Coker.org. So communications with an S at Coker.org. You can also follow me on Instagram @JennClauser. Follow the church @cokerumc, those messages will come to me as well. And then LinkedIn is another good one you can look me up on @JennClauser on there too.

Excellent, I’ll make sure that those are all in our show notes from today. Jenn, thanks again for taking the time with us, it’s been a real blessing, and really appreciate you. Thanks so much.

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Thank you, Jenn.

 

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