Featured Member Of The Week: Elisabeth Jacobson
What’s your name?
Where do you serve, what is your title and how long have you served there?
Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church, Admin Assistant, 1 year
How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t go to church?
I’m the city clerk, bookkeeper, secretary, organizer, and communicator all rolled into one. Basically, if it isn’t working, it’s my problem.
What were some of the things that you experienced that shaped the way you approach your work?
Initially, when I took this position, I was unprepared for how real and unfiltered people would be with me. My job is to problem solve and coordinate to make things happen and keep the church running.
There are a lot of ideas about how our church should function and how tasks should be completed and what should be prioritized. Having people communicate this in an unfiltered way was challenging. I felt like I was always reacting and trying to justify decisions on the fly.
Now, I spend a lot more time covering my interactions with others in prayer. I try to communicate more proactively with specific people regarding specific issues. I also try to predict reactions and problems, so I can communicate the reasoning behind decisions clearly in a less reactionary way.
What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your job?
That I am a human wearing a lot of hats right now. Our church is growing and with that come scrapes and bruises. We also have been doing a lot patchwork over issues and now is the time for full blown repairs. All of this takes time, coordination, and are not things I can do on my own. I rely on others to work with me.
What is the one tool for your job that you can’t live without and why?
Prayer. I need to spend time in prayer. Everyone knows that change is hard and we are experiencing a lot of change that is necessary to keep our church afloat and running and to keep our volunteers focused on their mission field. With that, there is a lot of communication that needs to happen and without prayer, I am responding and that is not always of the Lord.
What is the biggest mistake that you see churches making when it comes to communications and marketing?
I feel that churches are sometimes focused on growth and business and forget that our purpose is to drive people to Jesus, not the church. With that come policies and procedures that are great for the building and efficiency, but leave people feeling unwanted.
Who is someone that you look to up in the church communications world?
Tyler Smith of Text in Church. Text in Church has saved me so many times in my position. They provide training, formatting, examples, and are very responsive. This service is crucial for reaching people efficiently and personally. Tyler has modeled how this works and is responsive to suggestions, which is very helpful when I feel like I don’t have a lot time to spend working on the communications front.
We salute such a very hardworking yet patient communicator like you, Elisabeth. Letting us know your thoughts on how work is for you is an eye-opener. Keep on going and continuously serve with faith!