An Interview With… Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
October 9 2019
Scott: Thank you for taking on a new role as our Director of Information and Engagement. You’ve been helping with our communications for years, so what do you imagine will be different in your new role?
Kerrie: Ummm…. Lou cutting me a pay check every now and then? No, seriously. There is something mentally/psychologically different about being a “volunteer” and being “on staff”. Not that both aren’t incredibly important to the life of our church – let me be very clear about that. But, for me at least, becoming a staff member ups the game a notch or two. I fully believe in Doing Good for the Greater Good in volunteer roles, but I also feel that if this congregation is trusting their weekly pledges for staff member’s salaries, then there is a greater responsibility to deliver a final product – whether it is a sermon, a newsletter or a coat of paint for the wall – that is the highest quality attainable.
Scott: What do you think are the primary communications challenges and opportunities for our church?
Kerrie: Oh, geeze….how much time do you have? Oh, wait…you said PRIMARY challenges. So, maybe I’m biased in this viewpoint, but I think there is just SO much always going on within the confines of our church family, but we aren’t always great about making sure we share the info.
Scott: Like…? Do you have an example?
Kerrie: Totally. During my term as Moderator, I was at all of the meetings, and was part of all of the decisions, and even though it is SO MUCH info, because I was involved so deeply, I felt like I knew everything that was going on. That said, I truly do appreciate the “year off rule” that you extend to Moderators and allow us to pick our involvement level after a little respite. But, recently I was totally unaware of the death of a member of our congregation until I saw Memorial Service posted to our calendar next month!
I like to think that I am pretty tuned into what’s going on at the church, but I completely missed this. So, that tells me (honestly, what I’d already always assumed) that there is a disconnect in our flow of information. And there must be a way to bridge that gap. If someone chooses not to inform themselves, that is totally fine. But there should be a way to ensure that all the news and info is out there for those who want to read and share it.
Scott: What are your goals or your visions for our communications?
Kerrie: Well, I have lots of ideas, but they all basically boil down to this: to take First Central beyond the confines of this building.
Kerrie: We are so good about welcoming people through our doors. But only after they are on the steps! What are we doing to get folks TO the steps?? Is there an article in our newsletter that speaks to someone enough for them to forward it on to one of their non-church friends? Is there a flyer on one of our bulletin boards that makes someone use their phone to take a photo and text it to a pal and say, “Go to this with me?” I think there should be.
Periodically, there is a sermon in our sanctuary that speaks to me and I immediately think of someone else with which it will resonate. And then I wait impatiently until it is posted online and I email the link and then I think, “I can’t be the only one who does this? AM I the only one who does this?” There is good stuff going on here and there are folks beyond our walls that need some of our good stuff.
That’s why I really want the word “engagement” to be included somehow in this job title. The people who cross our thresholds should leave feeling engaged. Because, if they do, they are then empowered to engage someone else. Hopefully, some of those ripples then drip back to us.
Scott: Anything else?
Kerrie: Yes, can we please reinstate the “Meet Your Congregant” or “An Interview With…” column or whatever that was called? We used to do that and I really think that is a helpful way to engage folks with each other. Especially those who aren’t comfortable with social gatherings.
Scott: I’m pretty sure we just did. Please go find the next person to interview!