Meet Kimberly Myers, Communications Director for the Nebraska District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and a communications volunteer in her congregation. With a focus on serving a broad range of congregations throughout her district and a background in teaching overseas, Kimberly offers insight and encouragement as she shares a picture of her work in church communications.
Q: Tell us about where and how you serve in church communications.
Personally, I’m a member of The Rock Lutheran Church in Seward (Neb.) and I’m a volunteer in communications. Our church does not employ anyone other than the pastor; everything else is done by volunteers. I manage the church website, the church’s social media, and I manage the newsletter. We don’t do bulletins; we’re a non-print church. I also manage the YouTube account.
As the Communications Coordinator for the Nebraska District LCMS, I oversee all outward-facing communications for the district. I do our newsletters, print media, video, web, and social media. The nitty-gritty is that. . . I make and distribute the video content, social media content, newsletter, and obituaries of commissioned and ordained workers. I maintain the website. Part of my responsibility is helping set and develop the content, agenda, and theme for our district conventions.
Q: In your role at the district office, who is the audience of your communications and what is the overall goal?
Our target audience is church workers and individual members of congregations—congregational leadership especially—but also the members of the district. I try to develop content that congregations can use to bring their communities in.
Churches in the Nebraska district are so diverse—we have tiny churches of twenty people out in rural areas and then we have a handful of basically mega-churches, where there are like a thousand people and they have twenty people on staff, and we also have churches that are so small that they don’t even have a church office.
Q: What are some ways you resource or provide support to district congregations in their church communications?
I usually encourage people to join the Lutheran Communicators Facebook group. The Lutheran Church Extension Fund has put together a Ministry Moments series of short three- to five-minute videos on their LCEF YouTube channel and they have a takeaway handout. They’ve covered everything from aspects of live-streaming to engaging your community—getting people involved. It’s a really interesting series to check out, so we’ve included those in our weekly update newsletter.
I would like to do some kind of a workshop. That’s one way in which I think maybe the time of the pandemic offers us an opportunity to do some new things in new ways. Two years ago, if I had said that I wanted to hold a webinar for the district and invite volunteer people who do bulletins and communications across the district to a Zoom meeting, people would’ve thought it was nuts. Who would want to do that for an hour or two? It was just unthinkable—maybe you’d get a couple of people. Whereas, I think now that might change; we might get people willing to join us by Zoom and think it’s normal, not challenging. I’m hopeful that we can provide something like that.
Q: Where do you find support and encouragement in your communications roles?
I would say that, probably, most of my encouragement comes from the Lutheran Communicators Facebook group. I can’t say enough about that group. I think, even if someone doesn’t like Facebook for fun or family, there’s a lot of value to just making an account and getting on there and joining that group. There’s a lot of diversity there, people from small congregations and some very large ones. There are people who are just genius-level communicators and people who are still asking questions about basic video editing or Microsoft Word; there’s just a tremendous amount of support for that.
I really have used Canva a lot. I didn’t have any kind of a graphics editing program when I started this job, but I needed to do some of that, so I really dug into an online Canva community to get support and help, to watch people do their work, and learn from them.
Q: With your backgrounds serving overseas, have you seen connections between navigating and translating different cultures abroad and the work of communications?
Anytime you consider yourself to have really nailed your job or nailed the culture, I think you start to get kind of complacent and lazy. Adapting and living in another culture isn’t like a one-and-done. You don’t just reach a point where “I have arrived”; it’s always a process, like stairs or something. You’re always getting closer to being more acculturated to where you’re living, having deeper connections with people.
Doing communications jobs, you can get really used to doing it a certain way. The amount of change I’ve seen to the communications options since we went abroad in 1998—when we started, we set up a GeoCities website that was probably outdated as soon as we made it, but that’s what was available. And then we worked through the dawn of Skype, which was a huge thing because before it we had to pay $3.50 a minute to talk to our family. Just watching the changes in communication options, I’m really conscious of my age and how I need to keep learning skills and not get too comfortable and keep an eye on the options that are out there and the way people are communicating.
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