Where there is a lively theological discussion or a newly connected technological device, Michael is most likely nearby. Smart Church Project pairs these twin loves of the church and technology and has led Michael to seek new ways to help churches bridge the gap between theology and the rapidly expanding availability of communication tools. During the day, Michael serves as an ordained teaching elder at First Presbyterian Church in Spirit Lake, IA, where he leads the youth and families ministries, and during the night, he lives a grand adventure with his wife and two beautiful children.
While he tries to avoid the word “obsessed” and prefers terms like “dedication” or “love,” Bryan’s life has been one of passionate (obsessive) engagement and trying to bring those passions into conversation with each other. Early in his life, he developed a love of technology (imagine the young teenager with an intro programming book trying to make flashy text on a geocities website). While this love of technology led to countless sleepless nights, instead of directly pursuing a career in technology, he pursued his love of the church with an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and an M.A. from the University of Kansas. In Smart Church Project he found a career that did not force him to choose between the two different things that brought him so much life. Instead, every day he is able to use his love of technology for the betterment of the church. When not buried by books or immersed in code, Bryan enjoys spending time with his lovely wife exploring the great wilds of the Kansas landscape.
When she looks back, Susan marvels at the blessings of the path that brought her to the work she loves at Smart Church Project, a path that appeared only one step at a time along the way. Her skillset is born of seemingly disparate experience: her English degree from Friends University in Wichita, KS; time spent working on a help desk, then as a project planner for a travel agency computer company; freelance proofreading work (when she was also a stay-at-home mom); then, probably most significantly, managing social media for the co-op art gallery where she sells her handmade jewelry. There, she began the never-ending process of learning that a job in social media requires. It also led her to dabble a little in graphic design. In addition to her work for SCP, she’s the part-time Digital Outreach Coordinator for First Baptist Church in Lawrence, KS. She and her husband, John, have two grown kids and a cat named Schrödinger. She’s an avid road cyclist–the more miles the better!
As a kid, Jaynie gravitated toward creative projects. She constantly showed her parents every coloring page. She also remembers scavenging her house for any interesting thing that she could turn into something functional or decorative for her room. She grew up in Texas and didn’t have art classes until high school but after the first one, she was hooked. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University.
She now has over 10 years of professional graphic design experience. Along the road, she has worked as an in-house designer for Ohio State and Princeton University’s Art Museum, at an advertising agency on the Jersey shore, and at home as a freelancer. The agency environment taught her to juggle multiple clients and to work fast and efficiently. Working in-house, she learned to follow brand guidelines and to be creative, while still maintaining consistency. Lastly, freelancing has strengthened her communication skills with clients and developed her independent problem-solving abilities.
When she’s not designing, you’ll find her hiking with her family or at the nearby farmers market. Her creative side also spills over into regularly adjusting the interior design of her home (currently in Vermont), fixing up an old piece of furniture she scored thrifting, or capturing visually interesting moments on instagram.