We’re in the midst of hearing from the newest board members of our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication (CFCC). We’ve already heard from James Martin and Emily Elgin. This week we’re hearing from Jacob Day. He serves as the communications director at Bay Life Church in the Tampa suburb of Brandon, Fla., he’s passionate about mentoring church communicators and is a proud (and tired) father of triplets.
What’s your church working on right now that’s cool?
Jacob Day: What aren’t we working on? We just launched a new logo, and we’re close to launching a new website. We’re changing how we communicate through the bulletin and creating an e-newsletter. I’m leading our main lobby redesign team and looking at ways to better utilize social media. We’re also about to start a debt-reduction campaign called “Rise Up.” It’s been a busy, exciting time at Bay Life!
As the first communications director at Bay Life, I’ve been doing a lot of work to unify our communications. I spent a few months getting the lay of the land, then gave this presentation (PDF, 6.1 MB) to our church elders, pastors and staff. This big picture overview gives you an idea why we’re so busy.
What’s helped you most as a church communications director?
Jacob: A team—full-time, part-time or volunteer—is critical. I think that the “communications director” job is, frankly, too big for one person. I’ve been blessed, truly blessed, to be able to work with some incredible designers, writers, photographers and editors. They’ll make you look!
And without a doubt, having a strong network of peers (friends and professionals) that I can bounce ideas off of has been extremely helpful. I like to talk things through, and their input and feedback has been invaluable.
In terms of actually “getting the job done,” the support of the pastor and executive pastor is invaluable. Above all, you must nurture those relationships, build trust, and as Seth Godin would say, become “indispensable.” When you do, it’s incredibly freeing and empowering.
What’s one thing churches can do to connect better with people?
Jacob: I think churches do a lot of assuming. We know what people need, what they want. But we never really ask them. We’ve got to always be cultivating feedback, surveying (informally and formally), asking questions, putting ourselves in the shoes of our members and guests.
You’ve got triplet babies at home. Whoa. What kind of productivity tips can you share with us?
Jacob: Organization and prioritization are key. They help you stay on track and avoid the “tyranny of the urgent” (as much as is possible.)
And take as many naps as you can.
What do you see down the road for the Center for Church Communication specifically and church communication in general?
Jacob: I’m excited about the opportunity to build a strong community, to give back. I’ve always been an advocate of investing in others—I wouldn’t be where I am today without God’s grace and other people taking a genuine interest in my personal and professional development. As membership chair, I’m excited about setting up something like that for church communicators.