Communicating at a church-wide scale can really be challenging without the right attitude and resources. That's why so many churches have jumped on the tech train to keep everyone connected and involved.
In this episode, Victoria Counterman, a church communications manager, shares the many facets of church communications ministry and how technology has improved church-wide communications.
Join us in another faith-filled and practical episode with the Text In Church team and guest, Victoria Counterman, so you can see for yourself how you can use technology to keep up with church-wide communications.
Specifically, this episode highlights the following themes:
Most churches really struggle to communicate consistently with their people and that can leave them feeling disconnected. Text In Church is an easy-to-use 2-way texting system created for churches to connect with their members and guests beyond Sunday mornings to make them feel known, noticed, and loved.
Text the word, CONNECT, to 816-429-9396 to start your free 60-day trial of Text In Church today to see just how easy it is.
Tech in Church Podcast
Text in Church on Facebook
The Tech In Church Podcast is a Text In Church team production. For more information about this podcast, go to https://podcast.textinchurch.com. For more information on Text in Church, visit https://textinchurch.com.
Victoria Counterman 0:09
I remember one particular frazzled moment where I was like really discouraged that no one was liking my posts. No one was answering the text messages. It just seemed like no. It's like, well, why am i i assume like, why am I wasting my time. And so the Lord reminded me that I wasn't doing it for Facebook likes or comments and text messages back that I was doing it for him. But it's not for recognition, or generally it's it is for everyone, the people that we serve, but it's mostly first for him, and then doing it with the right heart attitude.
Jeanette Yates 0:48
Hello, and welcome to the Tech in Church podcast where we talk to everyday church communicators who use simple tech tools to go from frazzled to focused, I'm Jeannette Yates, and I'm with my co-host, Nina Hampton, we believe you should spend less time worrying about technology and more time doing what you love in your ministry and in your personal life.
Nina Hampton 1:05
So just the other day, we had the opportunity to interview Victoria countermine. She's a volunteer church communicator, I've been there. I think we all have a homeschooling mom, which I have not done, but my sister does. And just from watching her life, more power to Victoria, she's she is rocking that thing. And a professional photographer as well. She shares her heart for ministry, and her home life and these really simple tools that she uses to stay organized and focused. Because just between being a homeschool mom and that alone, you got to say real organized. So count on ministry and photography on top of that, like she just uses a few tools to kind of keep it online.
Jeanette Yates 1:42
Yeah, and like you said, she is the ultimate multitasker. And what I love is that she does it was so much grace and joy, you know, yeah. And she's so relatable. Because whether you're a mom or not, or you know, volunteer ministry, or staff, and staff member, we're all multitaskers we're all trying to do all the things being good in our personal work, you know, have good personal relationships, be effective, and ministry, all of these things, we probably also have a passion, hers is photography. But you know, some of us have, like some Pilates every now and then.
Jeanette Yates 2:16
A cup of coffee, well made a cup of coffee.
Jeanette Yates 2:19
And you make a good cup of coffee.
Nina Hampton 2:21
Thank you. I needed that validation in my life today.
Jeanette Yates 2:24
Okay. So, you know, like I said, every one of us serving in ministry is busy. And more and more, we notice or we've seen and I know that you and I, you know, because we work with churches all the time we see this right, that professional and vocational boundaries, you know, and personal boundaries, they're more and more difficult to keep. And so yeah, I really appreciated how Victoria spoke into that and spoke about the small things she does. It's not rocket science, right? It's not complex, simple technologies, simple tools that help her keep those boundaries clear for her, which right got to be even harder. As a volunteer.
Nina Hampton 3:06
Yes, he has some, some really simple disciplines that she has to, I don't want to give it all away, because we're gonna get into, you know, into the interview here in a second, but just some disciplines that she had about, you know, kind of how she checks out. You're gonna mean like, and how she kind of takes intentional breaks for herself. Yes, I really admired that. Like, yeah, didn't even have time to do that.
Jeanette Yates 3:27
Yeah. And because of volunteering for her church, and homeschooling, so you brought your home life and your school life together. And how do you keep it organized? And boundaries? Right? Yes, very difficult. And she does it so well. And I can't wait for our listeners to hear just how simple it is. Yeah, just tell what simple practices she has.
Nina Hampton 3:48
Yeah. So something else that's really cool. I think just like listening to her story is how she just includes her children and her involvement with serving. I really love that, and how she, you know, kind of really, I guess, how she kind of I don't know, I guess it kind of soaks up the fact that they get to kind of be on the front line to have her own seats to watching her serve. You know, a lot of times they're right beside her when she's creating those graphics or sending texts, you know, or managing all the communications. And so I just, I personally really love that.
Jeanette Yates 4:17
Yeah, she's very intentional about it. Yeah. So I know the word. In my case, when my children were young, and I was working in the church. That was their life. Right. And sometimes I was like, Stop bothering me because I'm doing the thing. Yeah. You know, and they weren't part of the like, I wasn't including them. But I think she does a very good job of intentionally including her children, so that they feel like they're part of the ministry as well. But yeah, our and you know, she's even sent me pictures sometimes of like, here's my son taking notes at engage conference, or I'm totally not crying. It's fun. And so it's been really fun to watch. So yes, I definitely agree with you.
Nina Hampton 4:54
Yeah, so we can talk about Victoria's life all day. Well, let's just hear from her so we can just go ahead and jump into our Her interview and talk listen to her talk at all to us about how she multitasks in her ministry.
Jeanette Yates 5:05
Hi, everyone, my name is Jeanette Yates. I'm the community manager here in the Text in Church Facebook group. I also am the Communications, social media things. And I'm here with my colleague, Nina Hampton. Hey, Nina. Hey. And I'm also here with my good friend and fellow Text in Church member Victoria Counerman. Hi, Victoria. How are you?
Victoria Counterman 5:32
I'm doing great. How are you?
Jeanette Yates 5:34
I'm great. Nina, I want to tell you one thing I didn't mention before we hit record or live or whatever we're doing. One of the reasons Victoria and I get along so well. Well, there's actually two one is she's in Eastern time. So I don't have to translate your language.
Jeanette Yates 5:51
Yeah, the best time. And also, she and I share a love of gifts, or just however you say, Oh, yeah. So we always try to we don't have a competition.
Nina Hampton 6:07
it's a language. It's truly a language. There are some things that can only be described by gifts. Like I can't tell you how I feel, but I can show you Yeah, exactly.
Jeanette Yates 6:17
It's that good. You know, when you're using technology to try to communicate, you don't always you're not always in person and face to face. A GIF is a great substitution sometimes.
Nina Hampton 6:27
Jeanette Yates 6:30
So I'm so excited to have Victoria on here today. She is a communications manager. She's also a wife, a mom of three boys, she homeschools has a little childcare providing going on. And you know, in her spare time does a little photography, business, all the things. So she's really I said to us, kind of like the ring of it. So I'm gonna say it again. She is our multitasking ministry, Mama. Yeah, for a counter minister today. So we're going to talk to her about how she wrangles all that in.
Nina Hampton 7:03
Truly, and I need to know because that way I can have that many titles and still be a functioning human being. Yeah. So kind of just starting off, you know, with this, just tell us a little bit about yourself and about your church as well.
Victoria Counterman 7:16
Yeah. So like Jenna said, three boys homeschool, married to my husband for almost 10 years, and we're at, we're in Michigan. So we're kind of like a small rural type town. No one knows where we're at. But there's enough people there. We have a church. So we have about 250 300 people at our church. And so we have even the school there, all that kind of stuff. So we really enjoy being there and have a great pastor and community and family. They're so awesome.
Jeanette Yates 7:48
So you're the communications manager, you've been doing it for a while, kind of give us an idea of like what your day to day is like, as a communications manager. And I do also want to say that you're doing all this as a volunteer, right?
Victoria Counterman 8:00
Yeah. I feel like a little pressure kind of comes off just by being a volunteer, just because there's not like a my pastors are really incredible. They are just like, well, I'll just keep up with the social media and the communications. And that's kind of my generic and just do it UK, I got anything. But day to day is like communications, like 24 hours, seven days a week, because that's just kind of whenever I get the text in, or I see the message come through and stuff like that. And then social media just kind of has its own little schedule of things. So from like Friday to Monday, I'm typically doing all of that. And then I love scheduling stuff out so that the rest of the week I can focus on the home life style type things and do ministry on the weekends.
Nina Hampton 8:48
Yeah, for sure. So yeah, so in your role, and doing all the things you're trying to schedule and be intentional so that you can wear all the hats that you wear. Yeah. What would you say has been like your biggest challenge in your role in church communications?
Victoria Counterman 9:00
Learning when to shut it off, basically. Like, when to just kind of step away and realize that I do have to wear all the hats and can't do it if I'm trying to wear all of them at the same time. So that would probably be one that would probably be my biggest it's just learning how to divide all of that up would probably be the biggest Yeah.
Jeanette Yates 9:21
Yeah. And I think people can really relate to that because we're all like we mentioned you know, we're all in ministry in some capacity also have jobs quote, jobs. I know, I do not homeschool my children, but you know, sometimes they have to get school you know, I'm saying so I've got that going on. So got a lot of responsibilities, and especially when you're in charge of a church wide communications, and Text in Church is a part of that things don't always happen in your scheduled time block versus when to try to squeeze both of them on versa. Yeah, the shut out has got To be a challenge for sure. Yeah. So, you know, at Text in Church, we are all about all kinds of technology, really, we use so many different platforms to keep us connected, because we don't even live in the same times. I mean, and I so. And yeah, we work together every day. So we have to use a lot of technology. But I know to keep yourself organized and to keep your church communications organized. You also appreciate tech tools. And so what are three tools that you use on a weekly basis or a regular basis? That really helps you stay more focused, less frazzled? Yeah.
Victoria Counterman 10:34
So I have, I'm just I'm really simple because of how busy I am. So my favorites are Text in Church, Business Suite and Canva. That's really the only tech tools that I use. Yeah, because they work, they work well. And I can just keep up to date on everything through those.
Jeanette Yates 10:51
I will say Canva has been around since I was serving in the church, like I think it was like a new thing when I was, and I was so thankful for it. Because I know necessarily, I cannot draw a circle. Yeah, with a real circle, y'all. And so Canva was like, Really, you can't mess this up, which I can find a way to do it. But they do. It's not their fault. It's mine. But then it is a really helpful too. And they built out so much over the over several years.
Nina Hampton 11:22
Like changing like, I remember when we started using Canva. We're like, oh, we can actually like we don't have to like, draw on a piece of paper and scan this in. We can actually, you know, something graphically online?
Jeanette Yates 11:33
Yeah. I don't have free domain or whatever, on Google images.
Nina Hampton 11:38
I don't have to paint on my on my Microsoft. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. Oh, man. So. So getting into those tools, picking one of them? When did you first realize that that tool was helpful, right. Like, if you kind of tell the story of that.
Victoria Counterman 11:54
So probably the one thing would be Text in Church was I was the most lenient about starting because I was just not, I never viewed myself as a techy person. So when our pastor brought it to me and was like, hey, I want you to take this over and start, like, they didn't even really know what it was. They were just like, we want to use this for the church. So here you go. Like I was just like, oh, man, like this is gonna work. And so I think the first time we use it, because we were very old school and traditional, like, three ladies would start a prayer chain or like, hey, just cancelled and still like, you know how we get to talk. So it's like six hours later and no one knows still what's going on? Yeah. There's just really incredible to be able to just sit send, and everyone knew within minutes and so just having it work super well for us to be able just to communicate instantly with our members, we get a ton of snow so sometimes we have to cancel right off 40 minutes before church starts. So it's like super nice to have all of that so I think that's when I was like, Oh, this is really nice. Like right using this so yeah, that was probably about it was when.
Nina Hampton 13:07
I think it's like those those moments of like the you know, kind of like those crisis moments where like, oh, no, this thing happened. You have to cancel How am I gonna let all these people know what happened? You're gonna mean or what like city Yeah, like a few years ago in Kansas City. It seems like every major snow or ice storm because Kansas City gets ice storm. I don't know if anybody knows that. But we did. And so like, it seemed like every snow or ice storm was only on a Wednesday at around like it would start at around four. Or it would be on Sunday morning. And it was part of five before church ever started. It was like okay, what's going on? And we like so many I remember talking like friends that were also just in the city and other churches like everybody's scrambling trying to like at least let people know like hey, take it easy coming in a parking lot is ice this parking lot. We're able to put salt you and I'm saying like just those like emergency things like oh no, we need to let the entire church know this piece of information and having like a way to communicate with everybody in real time is so important. So that's so nice.
This episode of The Tech in Church podcast is brought to you by Text in Church, most churches really struggled to communicate consistently with their people outside their church walls, and makes their people feel disconnected. But there is a better way, Text in Church is an easy to use two way texting system created specifically for churches to connect with their regular worshipers and guests. Beyond Sunday mornings, this makes them feel known, noticed and loved. And right now you can try Text in Church free for 60 days. Simply text the word connect, that's CONNECT to 816-429-9396. If you are ready to keep more guests coming back, boost your weekly attendance and encourage more people to grow in faith, then text the word connect to 816-429-9396 to get started with Text in Church today.
Jeanette Yates 15:19
I know in my area we're I'm in like a hurricane. And so we have a little bit more time usually to let people know. But also, that means you kind of have to wait till the last minute because you can go to bed on one night, and it's 200 miles away. And then the next day, it's at your doorstep. And so having I know that a lot of churches that I'm familiar with in this in the area where I live in Florida, that use Text in Church , they're like, what the first time we used it was for this purpose like that that emerged. So this is not one of the questions that we gave you ahead of time, but I was thinking about it as you were talking about before texting and sending that out. And all this different stuff. Was it hard for you to get everybody on the same page with like, we appreciate your prayer chain? Yeah. Now we're going to do this. How did that go?
Victoria Counterman 16:15
Yeah, so I love that people are injured so much, but change is hard. Yeah. So everyone was a little confused when we first started it because they were all like, we're gonna Text in Church, that doesn't make any sense, like what's going on. And so for a little while there, we've kind of had both kind of going on, where someone would just continue to keep doing it, the prayer chain through call, and that's, that was fine or whatever. But so it did take a little bit of time to get people to sign up or whatever. And then they'd be like, Oh, I didn't hear about that. And so then it would be like, Oh, well, I can sign you up. And then you would know about it really quick. So it took a little bit of a transition there to get everyone acclimated, I guess to it. And then now, people will text the number to be like, Hey, is their church today? So now they like it so much that they're communicating that way instead of bugging any of our pastors personally, or, though texted me like, hey, what was that announcement? And they know me. So. Yeah.
Nina Hampton 17:18
So helpful, though, right? Like, I think that that's okay, that it's kind of like that slow transition, because I think it leads to longevity in the long run, right? And like getting like kind of the entire church acclimated, and having a kind of be a slow burn in that way. I think that's like, what it kind of gets people acclimated to like, Oh, yes, this really does work. Oh, and we can use it in those ways, too. And oh, I get a response back almost. Yeah. Wow. You know what I mean? Like, yes, this actually works. And all of these areas, please use that's why we're trying to change this. So I think ultimately, it leads to success, rather than everybody kind of like, everybody jumping on board immediately. And then sometimes your volumes way high. You know what I mean? Like, all your questions immediately.
Victoria Counterman 18:05
Yeah, it happened. It was really nice. Because we had the like, the younger tech year, people were like, Oh, we love it. And then their parents were like, oh, yeah, this is great. Yeah, I just needed some guinea pigs, I guess. Exactly.
Jeanette Yates 18:18
Yeah, I was gonna say the same thing. You know, the transition is good, like having that time of transition, and having the people buy in. So you're not telling them. We're gonna do it this way from now on. But then seeing the value of it, I think, like, really helps with longevity of no matter what the tool Text in Church using Facebook, streaming, whatever. Like, I think them understanding the value of it makes it stick for sure. Okay, so we've already determined, you're busy, you're frazzled, you multitask, many hats, all the things. But I want to know, when you're not wearing all the hats, when you take all the hats off? What is your way to unplug? How do you kind of disconnect? Because we've already said to it's 24/7 365. But how do you take a break? Because we know that that's vital. It's part of what we know, is important to our faith is taking that Sabbath rest, right. So how did you unplug from your work at your church?
Victoria Counterman 19:18
So typically, like on the daily or not daily, or whenever we can, it's my husband just getting time together and putting on the Do Not Disturb on my phone. But something that I realized was really important and vital because I was starting to feel really burnt out is I actually tend to retreat throughout the year and actually get away for the weekend. So I go away on like a Friday and a Saturday. That's it, and I leave everything off. So I'm not I leave everyone in good hands. But so it's not like no one's getting a response. But right. I leave someone I let our pastor know like, I'm going to be gone. So he's in charge, and then I get away. So I go to a ladies retreat. And I get away, I get refueled and filled up all the good stuff. And then I'm able to come back. And so that's about every six months. So I'm like, I can start to feel it. And I'm like, All right, my compromise retreat coming.
Victoria Counterman 20:17
So I found that within the past couple of years, that's been really vital for me to be able to get away. And just I know, that's not possible for everyone. But that's my thing.
Jeanette Yates 20:26
Let's not underestimate the do not disturb
Nina Hampton 20:30
We met from when we talked with Josiah a few a couple weeks ago, he mentioned the same thing. Like he's like I guard my time and kind of how important that is. But also I think, even if like maybe not being able to go out of town, like if that's not feasible, I think that's a fact Victoria that you have those like scheduled breaks yet? I'm saying like, even if it's a staycation. Yeah. I mean, what if you can, you know, important knowing how to unplug? Like, yeah, that's the big, especially to keep to. Yeah, right. So with that, okay, so you've taken the time to kind of like rest and everything to kind of refuel up. So whenever you come back, and you get back kind of into the groove of ministry, just what do you love? What's something that just like? Like, kind of, after you take that time for yourself? You're reminded like, kind of like, this is my why something that you love doing? Yeah.
Victoria Counterman 21:20
It's the people, honestly. So yeah, for both sides, but it's definitely the people getting back to them, and being able to communicate with not just our church family, but then others that will visitors or people who want to know more and the community online and type stuff like that's, that's my favorite just being able to talk to people. Yes, I don't, very busy, but I don't get out much in that business. It's like my outlet to anything like that. So that's my favorite. Yeah.
Jeanette Yates 21:52
One thing I really love about your ministry, Victoria, is that your children get to see you doing it, which I think is really awesome. That a lot of times we've been on calls or, or when we have our zoom calls together in our other Facebook groups, your kids are often around, they embrace it and enjoy it. I think that's so fun. They attend our engage conferences with you. And so I know for me, that's what I really love about your ministry. So I mentioned this a little bit ahead of time, but I do want you to tell us, what are you, you have other things that you do? Church communications, homeschooling, and then you have some other things. So what are some other things that give you joy? Or fill up that schedule of yours in your personal life? Oh, I don't know.
Victoria Counterman 22:36
We got time for all of it. But other things like I do photography, so I do. I love having that little side thing that I can do. We have a homeschool Co Op that I'm a part of. And that's incredible. Getting together with a whole bunch of other ladies there. And yeah, my kids basically is what it's what it is. So just those two things are, you know, ministries, and I love, like you said, Jeanette, I love that my kids get to watch all of it too, because they are able to be home and be a part of that. So like we do the kids Christmas play together, obviously, they're in it. But then also a big part of what I do at churches with our missionaries, and stuff. So I'm able we do gift baskets for everyone that visits and stuff. So, you know, like this past year, we had 2020 visiting families come through. So my kids and I were able to take and we make gift baskets for them for whenever they visit. So those are a few of my favorite top things that we get to do together. But I love that I get to do it with them too. Yeah. You know, God works through all of that. So, absolutely.
Nina Hampton 23:45
So kind of wrapping up our time together here. So what encouragement would you give to maybe a church communicator that finds themselves on the frazzled end? Between Friday, they find themselves on that frazzled and when encouraged nicely.
Victoria Counterman 24:02
I remember one particular frazzled moment where I was like, really discouraged that no one was liking my posts. No one was answering the text messages, it just be like, No, it's like, well, why am I I see, like, why am I wasting my time? I have all these other things I could be doing and all this. And so the Lord reminded me that I wasn't doing it for Facebook likes or comments and text messages back that I was doing it for him. So I actually I'm very like visual person. So what I did was I stuck sticky notes up like in common areas and one was on my laptop. And so I wrote on it that it was like all for him. So and then I did. I think the verses is First Corinthians 1031. So I had that written in other spots, you know, so whatever you do, do it all for him. So yeah, I think that would be my biggest encouragement is just to remember who we do it for. It's not for recognition or for you Generally it's it is for everyone, the people that we serve, but it's mostly, you know, first for him, and then doing it with the right heart attitude. And, you know, with all of that it trickles down into serving them. So that would be nice.
Jeanette Yates 25:14
Yeah, that's, that's so important because especially when you're in the community part, you're looking at, what's my email, open rate? How many people book, I you know, how many people RSVP to this event, all that crap. You know, you can get bogged down in that. And while all of those important, ultimately whether somebody responds to your text is not important, but whether they know that's the number they can reach out to in a time of need. Yes, right. And so, you know, or the Facebook page, whatever you're like, well, they may not wave their hand at me every time I post something, and say, Here I am. But if they know I'm here, they know our church. They know where that's here. That's the ultimate goal. And so I would have to remind myself that I've done all the time. Nobody cares as much as you do about vanity metrics for a reason.
Nina Hampton 26:08
Navigate that. It's really hard.
Jeanette Yates 26:10
Yeah, well, Victoria I am. So first of all, I just want to thank you so much for taking this time. And I just, you know, we can say a little hallelujah prayer of thanksgiving that all the ducks lined up in a row. You know, they're napping, they're doing their stuff. Together the technology word. And so I really thank you for taking the time with us today and sharing how It's the simple things you don't the tech tool does not have to be big and fancy. It doesn't be expensive. It can even just be a setting phone. And I do appreciate you sharing how you manage being a multitasker and multitasking ministry Parson and how you manage to share your ministry with your children as well. That is just wonderful. Nina, do you have anything else you want to say before we wrap up?
Nina Hampton 27:00
Just to echo everything that you said, Thank you so much for your time and sharing yourself and getting your kids to take a nap in the middle of all the things. One is napping?
Jeanette Yates 27:12
Oh, no, it was our pleasure. Thank you so much for watching today, you guys. We look forward to bringing you our next in the trenches interview soon. Thanks a lot. Bye, thank you.
Jeanette Yates 27:22
In this episode, we heard from Victoria Counterman, a church communications director in Michigan, we were so encouraged by her simple approach to ministry, her focus on serving Christ and all things. And her ability to remain joyful and enthusiastic. Even in the busiest of times. Victoria says I don't have time to get fancy. So she relies on tools that are easy to use, but also increase her efficiency.
Nina Hampton 27:51
Remember that a tool does not have to be expensive or complicated. It just has to help you solve the problem. So thank you so much, Victoria, for sharing your experience as a multitasking ministry mom, and how you stay focused on what matters most.
Jeanette Yates 28:05
Okay, so my favorite thing that she said, if I have to pick just one really, I just love to hear just joy just is all around her, which I absolutely love. So I love hearing her talk. But if I had to pick one thing that she said, she said, you know, we asked like what encouragement. Yeah, do you would you get people when she says, just remember, do it for Jesus, and no one else, right? It's all for Christ. It's all for Jesus. And it's so easy for us to get caught up in the stats and the metrics and crave the latest technology and the newest trends. I mean, I'm all about a new app, or a new tool, right? I need to delete so I'm off my phone right now need to delete all kinds of Yeah. And while those things can be fun, and sometimes necessary to take a look at and see if they will help you and your ministry, the ultimate goal of all of that tech and technique is to build relationships with people in the community and the relationships that you build. They're gonna surpass the technology, they're gonna get beyond all that. So I think that's the big takeaway that I got.
Nina Hampton 29:03
Absolutely. So if you want to watch the full interview with Victoria or see a list of her favorite tech tools, head to our show notes at podcast.textinchurch.com and remember to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen so that you can spend less time worrying about technology and more time doing what you love and your ministry and personal.