Featured Member of the Week: Stephen Garcia

Katie Allred

Featured Member of the Week: Stephen Garcia

Katie Allred

What’s your name?

Stephen Garcia

Where do you serve, what is your title, and how long have you served there?

I serve at Reach Church in Kirkland, WA. I’ve been the Communications + Media Lead full time for 8 months, and I was serving in a part-time role since 2016.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t go to church?

I use communication, marketing, and media tools to help people who casually attend church to have a greater love for God and those around them.

What were some of the things that you experienced that shaped the way you approach your work?

I always loved technology growing up. I was and still am a total  Apple Fanboy. I remember the first time I used an iPod click-wheel and touched an iPhone screen. But more than that, their messaging, marketing, and principles permeated all of their design and copy. I was inspired by that experience of observing a brand with a unified message that earns your loyalty and trust, and over time teaches you and invites you into what they value. I think a lot of that permeates how I look at the purpose of my work at Reach.

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your job?

I often do not know what I’m doing and am overwhelmed by urgent tasks. I was marketing a worship album for the last month and had no clue what I was doing. It can be a challenge to spin a lot of plates, and I’m only 8 months into this thing. When you’re someone who in your mind’s eye can see the ideal team, work, and processes you have in the future but are from it in the here-and-now, you can often feel defeated before you even start. It can be a big challenge to not be overcome by self-defeat, distraction, and imperfection. Accept God’s grace for today. Hear him saying he is proud of your baby steps. Don’t be harder on yourself than he is on you. Take it a day at a time, and if you have imposter syndrome, watch a YouTube video and wing it. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.

What is the one tool for your job that you can’t live without, and why?

Webflow. They have a fantastic product and embody everything I described Apple in their brand. Our website is the backbone of many of our church’s resources. A powerful, flexible, and a customizable platform was a necessary part of making our choice to re-design our website. Honestly, I can’t imagine doing a lot of our day-to-day or planning for the future of our digital resources without that tool

What is the biggest mistake that you see churches making when it comes to communications and marketing?

You’re asking me to get on a soapbox? I’ve been doing this for 8 months. Here’s something that’s often challenging to me that I know I’m not alone in – simplify and clarify. We often use too many words, visuals, and non-essentials to communicate something that could be said more effectively with less. Truly: Simplicity is king.

Who is someone that you look up to in the church communications world?

Easy. Brady Shearer. He is honest, bold, principled, and convicted. He takes his opinions seriously but not himself. He speaks with clarity and is linear in his strategy. He gives away his wisdom for free, him (and Alex) are hilarious and helpful on their podcast. There’s definitely more I could say. The principles behind a lot of his strategic thinking and guidance influence much of our strategy at Reach and were central to building out our new website.

Much of what Stephen mentioned are quite simple and yet it’s still fresh and expresses a new perspective. We are all new to communications since technology is quickly evolving, we must always try, learn, and, as per Stephen, wing it. We must always remember the purpose in all that we do and clearly communicate that throughout your work.

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