In the Last Year: Sarah Beth Jarnagin

In the Last Year: Sarah Beth Jarnagin

January 27, 2016 by

A new year is a good time to look back and assess. So we’ve launched a series to talk with church communicators and find out what they’ve done in the last year and what they’re looking forward to in the next year.

Today we hear from Sarah Beth Jarnagin. She is the director of communications at Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn.

Ironic for a communications director, but I am striving to become a better communicator this year.

1. What’s the smartest change you’ve made in the last year?

A change I am still working on daily is making cautious decisions. Caution is an important aspect of marketing and communications. Good decision making is a crucial part of the job. I typically base my decisions on intuition. I have found intuition is useful but it should be paired with accurate and concrete information.

2. What was your biggest mistake or regret?

If I am attempting to be more cautious, my greatest regret would be making impulsive decisions. During moments of impulse, I have made assumptions about people who supported me and cared about me, and in my arrogance I refused to listen to voices of reason. My mistakes are another reminder that caution in decision making is a good practice.

3. What do you look forward to doing better in the future?

Communication. Ironic for a communications director, but I am striving to become a better communicator this year. I specialize in promoting events and developing eye-catching graphics, but sometimes words are my greatest challenge. Managing a communications department means that truth must be shared with people or projects won’t be completed and deadlines will be ignored. When truth is communicated, it must not only be clear but loving. It can be a challenge to have a quick, concise and kind response always on the tip of my tongue. I have learned to stay prepared for hard questions and pray for wisdom when I don’t know the answer. I look forward to communicating better in the future.

4. Who are some voices we should be listening to in the next year?

There are many voices we can keep our ears open to but we should be careful to separate voices from noise. I read PR Daily frequently, which can be an exhaustive voice that includes crisis advice, new tech trends and best social media practices. As a church communicator, I do not exclude myself from reading about corporate or agency communication trends because those groups are succeeding and producing high-quality products.

I also read ByFaith, the official Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) publication, because I work for a PCA church. I read several other reformed publications. I believe it is important to listen to specific voices that affect your specific area of communication. It is difficult to communicate for a people or an organization I don’t know or understand.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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