Westmont Magazine What Would Jesus Say?
Instead of turning to marketing gurus and image consultants to hone their skills, communication experts Erik Lokkesmoe ‘95 and Jedd Medefind ‘97 have consulted the true master: Jesus.
“Nothing has more impact on our lives, relationships and careers than the way we communicate,” Jedd says. “Yet even those of us who claim to live as disciples of Jesus Christ will often draw from Lincoln, Churchill or Reagan long before we learn from Jesus.”
Despite thousands of books about effective communication or about Jesus, none focused on the grace and greatness of his approach to communication. Surprised by this, the friends decided to write their own book, “The Revolutionary Communicator: Seven Principles Jesus Lived to Impact, Connect and Lead” (Relevant Books, 2004).
“Here we were, two communication professionals living and working inside the whirlwind of media and messages, and we were thunderstruck by Jesus’ transcendent impact on lives and culture — all without the technical wizardry now available to the modern communicator,” Erik says. “We knew this book had to be written.
“Jesus’ definition of successful communication is attending to the needs of others . . . Despite the crowds waiting on his words and his status as a master teacher, Jesus ‘did not come to be served, but to serve’ (p. 143).” Washing his disciples’ feet exemplifies this approach.
The book seeks to “peel back presumptions of a media age and find again the radical communication modeled by Jesus. He practiced deep attentiveness. He met people on their turf and on their terms. He asked questions. He offered himself with transparency. He told stories. He viewed time away from the crowd as more important than time in front of it. He set his course by defining true communication success.”
The authors offer practical information such as action items and points to consider in developing a personal communication style. They include insightful personal notes throughout the book.
A political appointee, Erik is the director of communications for the National Endowment for the Humanities, where he oversees all communications for the independent federal agency, writing speeches and doing marketing and media relations. He and his wife, Monica Baumeister ’96, an R.N., live outside of Washington, D.C., with their infant son.
Jedd works as chief of staff for California Assemblyman Tim Leslie; previously he served as his communications director. Jedd also provides communication services to national and international organizations, ranging from the C.S. Lewis Foundation to Price Waterhouse, Moscow. He lives with his wife, Rachael, and their daughter in Sacramento, Calif.