What’s your name?
Where do you serve, what is your title, and how long have you served there?
My husband (Matthew) and I serve at Hess Road Wesleyan Church in Appleton, NY (Smack between Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Rochester in WNY). This is my home church where we both grew up (but we weren’t really friends till after he came back from seminary). My husband was appointed as lead pastor in 2019, and I joined the paid staff as Ministry Coordinator.
Prior to that, he was a staff pastor and I was the volunteer Communications person for approximately forever. I kinda self hired myself and made our church’s first website when I was around 18.
How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t go to church?
I make sure that all the things that are supposed to happen, happen.
What were some of the things that you experienced that shaped the way you approach your work?
I had a lot of initiative from a young age – and our lead pastor let me loose on whatever I wanted to try – but it wasn’t really a cohesive or supportive team atmosphere. I wasn’t very self-confident in my abilities or even the value of the content I was generating. I did a lot of “chasing” and didn’t have any authority to back up what we were trying to do, so it was very frustrating.
I ended up going back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree, and then started a new part-time job at a different church as the church secretary (while still serving at my home church as a volunteer). I really enjoyed working with the pastor there and was able to expand the role based on my skills.
Both working at the other church and taking some classes were important parts for me to gain confidence and learn new things, which really prepared me for the role I now have. I’m so glad that I kept pushing forward even when it wasn’t always as ‘fun’ as I wanted it to be, or I wasn’t as good at it as I wanted to be! Those steps are all part of the process.
We are a ministry family, but even before I married my husband I felt called to serve in a church. I can’t really call it work. I love what I get to do. I think that mindset makes a difference.
What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your job?
Its not just about my personal prefences, its about effective communication design.
What is the one tool for your job that you can’t live without, and why?
My laptop! I invested in a new computer a couple years ago with enough RAM and Storage to be able to multitask without lagging. It saves so much time and frustration.
What is the biggest mistake that you see churches making when it comes to communications and marketing?
I think the biggest mistake I’ve seen is not really understanding what communications and marketing means for a church setting, and then subsequently not investing in or equipping staff properly to make it happen.
Who is someone that you look up to in the church communications world?
Between balancing life (I have 4 kids) and church, I dont have as much time to stay current as I want, but I really appreciate this community group! Collectively I look up to all of you that continutally share your knowledge and answer questions (even if its the same one over and over, haha).
Kendall Conner’s blog is how the rabbit trail started to connect me with CMG and then Church Comms in 2016. Both groups have been an invaluable resource.
I have really enjoyed some of the conferences I’ve learned about here (like She Leads, and Engage), and Greg Atkinson has a lot of helpful content at this point in my ministry as we focus on hospitality and volunteers.
You are such an awesome person, Katie! We loved reading about your story on how you started from volunteering to self-hiring yourself at a young age. And, in general, communications work really does involve a lot of initiatives to learn and try new things – we appreciate your work ethics & values. Stay inspiring!
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