Stan Jensen has served in various aspects of communication over the years. Some of the roles he has held have included the manager of the Adventist Book Centre (ABC) in Ontario and Southern California, director of trust services and communications director of the British Columbia Seventh-day Adventist conference. Stan has also travelled widely to several continents, which has afforded him many opportunities to make long-lasting friendships with people all over the world. Currently, he serves as the editor of the Canadian Adventist Messenger and communicator director of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada. (SDACC)
With every story, there is a beginning. So tell us how did you first become involved in the world of communications?
My earliest communication experience was in trying to learn English as a baby. I actually remember sitting in my high chair hearing my mother and sister talk and understand each other. So I started babbling out loud and they laughed at me. This hurt my feelings. So my first attempt to communicate had failed. Eventually, I was able to dress myself, go to school and learn English. I even went to university and took Theories of Mass Communication and wrote a paper on theories of communication in Russia. This was before communists fell and all of this had a huge impact on me.
During the four years that I was manager of the Adventist Book Centre (ABC), we were on the six o’clock news about twenty times, and we also landed a front page spot in the Los Angeles Times. In order to get that, I had contacted the media with a story that gave them a reason to come out on Sunday morning. So, as a result, we also received coverage on various news networks, such as CNN and ABC TV.
We got the media’s attention, by engaging in simple activities such as opening up all our phone lines so people could call their mothers from anywhere in the world on Mother’s Day. People would line up and ended up saving two or three dollars on gas to spend fifty cents on a free phone call. It was only a matter of time before I was called to be the communications director of the British Columbia conference. I was hesitant at first, but over the years, I had become quite familiar with the principles of managing a communications team.
What are some insights that you have learned from your early years in communication (managing a store in Los Angeles) about relationship building?
A lot of the people I worked with at the time were students trying to pay their school bills and support their families. So I would keep in touch with them and support them if they had a photo or story they wanted in the newspaper. Though we were all different from each other, we had to learn to work together. I had a Canadian accent and they had trouble understanding me sometimes.
But I really believe that as humans and especially as Christians, it is important for us to mingle with people. If people are aware that we have something that could benefit them and meet their particular needs, they will come to us to ask for it, without us having to go to them. It’s much easier this way and it works better than us trying to teach ourselves.
So how do we get out of our comfort zones and reach out to others?
Quite a few faith-based organizations have come up with ways to test your personality to see what your spiritual gifts are…I detest those. Here’s why: Most of the people that have made accomplishments in life did things that were out of their comfort zones.
I have done quite a bit of public speaking while serving in ministry, but I had to take four years of speech therapy to talk in a way to be understood. So it was not my gift or goal to speak in front of any crowd or mingle with anybody. But as I was willing to mingle to keep up relationships, I was able to meet so many people that I have now come to admire in my life.
One unforgettable moment for me was