Featured Member of the Week: Jessica Willis

Name: Jessica Willis

Where do you serve, what is your title and how long have you served there? Director of Communications at Church of the Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island, SC. 9 months

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t go to church? Communicating the happenings of the church to our attendees and making a welcoming and helpful visual and verbal presence to anyone who is new.

What were some of the things that you experienced that shaped the way you approach your work? I grew up in the Philippines as a missionary kid. Then moved to North Carolina in middle school. I have had the honor of being in hundreds of kinds of churches by my teen years. I got to experience the good, bad, and otherwise of all those types of churches. All of that as well as my education in photojournalism has informed the way I communicate about the church. I work to appeal to the insiders and outsiders of our church as well as every human’s desire for storytelling.

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your job? That my job does not just consist of printing announcements and posters. I spend way more time thinking ahead and planning than ‘doing’ stuff.

What is the one tool for your job that you can’t live without and why? It’s a simple thing but I love the Google Drive and its family of storage and sharing options. Google docs that my boss and I can work on together is great.

What is the biggest mistake that you see churches making when it comes to communications and marketing? Not being true to their church’s identity. My church is liturgical and full of little old ladies and young families. There are just certain very forward-thinking church communication standard guides that just don’t work. We are able to work forward with adding some communications platforms that reach a younger crowd and keeping our website updated without alienating many of the foundational members of our congregation.

Who is someone that you look to up in the church communications world? This is a little stretched but I love The Archibald Project. This is a husband and wife team of photographers that work for adoption awareness. They do a phenomenal job of bringing their followers along into the stories they tell, making it personal, and appealing to the common story in ya all.