New Adventures In A Familiar Place

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It’s nothing short of amazing how God works. When I first “retired” from my staff position at Eastridge Community Church a little over four years ago, I didn’t think I would return. I honestly thought of my staff days as a season that was behind me – a wonderful time, but not what God would have in store for me again.

For the last two-and-a-half years I’ve had a job I enjoyed. It challenged me (mostly because it didn’t fit within the wheelhouse of my natural skills), I loved the people I worked with (still do), and I wasn’t looking to do anything different, unless a full time writing job came around.

A few months back, Kris Hodges invited me to a staff meeting. There I was, surrounded by familiar people. We worshiped and prayed and talked about God’s vision for his church! Then we went to El Charro. I thought, I could do this again…but it’ll never happen.

At that meeting, I felt God tugging on my heart. I thought He was telling me that He was leading me toward a full time writing career, but as time wore on, it seemed like a less specific vision.

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A few weeks ago, a long-time friend on staff at Eastridge announced her retirement. I mentioned to Trey Bailey, the Executive Pastor and one of my longest continuous friendships, in passing something to the effect of, “wouldn’t it be nice if I could take Michelle’s place.” It wasn’t necessarily a request for a job, but it set God’s amazing work into motion.

A couple of weeks later, Trey offered me a staff position at Eastridge. It’s the same title I had before – Director of Communications – but the job has been restructured to be far truer to the title than it ever was before, with lots more creative work, which I thrive on!

Some prayers, plans, and a couple of heart-to-heart conversations later, I’ll be back on staff at Eastridge as of October 6. I’m sad to have to say goodbye to my old job, but I’m thrilled at the idea of new adventures in a familiar place.

Doesn’t God do some crazy stuff in our lives?

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So, Why Isn’t Your Church Using Social Media?

A couple of weeks ago, most of our staff attended the Next Level Leadership Conference at Savannah Christian Church in Savannah, GA. Next Level is a practical conference for church leaders, designed to arm its attendees with ideas that they can take away and implement relatively quickly.

One of the workshops I attended at the conference was a Q & A about church communications. The discussion turned to the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) in the church. Esther Griffin, SCC’s Communications Director, shared their strategy and examples of how social media has helped them; I was even able to add my thoughts in support of using social media to help churches communicate.

I was shocked at the resistance to social media by some of the representatives of smaller churches at the workshop. (Maybe I shouldn’t have been?) For some reason, these people were skeptical as to whether using Facebook and Twitter would be effective, even after hearing several instances where they were beneficial.

We utilize Facebook and Twitter practically every day. And there’s not a week that goes by where I don’t hear from somebody about how it helped them connect to or receive information from the church:

  • “I didn’t realize that the event was cancelled until I saw it on Twitter.”
  • “Sometimes I forget to read the daily reading, but when I see it on Facebook, I remember.”
  • “It’s nice to know when the podcast is up. Thanks for sharing it on Facebook.”
  • “I love to read the quotes you post from Sunday’s messages on Twitter.”

You get the picture.

I walked away from the workshop feeling validated, feeling like we’re doing a lot of things right in terms of communication at Eastridge. (Not everything, mind you, just some things…)

So, why isn’t your church using social media? It’s high time for churches to embrace innovation and technology and harness both to help get the timeless message of Christ to the world. The church can’t afford not to.