Alumni Spotlight: Leah Murphy

In Alumni Profiles, Campus News, Featured by Impact Admin

Year of Graduation: 2014

Major/Emphasis: B.S. in Communications Media, emphasis in New Evangelization

Position: Coordinator of Digital Evangelization and Outreach at Life Teen, an international Catholic youth ministry.

Where are you from originally?

I am originally from San Diego, CA.

Why did you choose JPCatholic for your education?

I transferred into JPCatholic in my third year after attending Point Loma Nazarene University for two years. I chose to transfer in because, although I loved my experience at PLNU, I had a serious desire to study and know my faith on a more intellectual level.

What did you enjoy most about your time at JPCatholic?

I enjoyed all the adventures I went on with my best friend (Lisa Spehar, you may have heard of her, she’s a queen) while I was at JPCatholic. Additionally, I think the philosophy and theology education I received was so phenomenal. I was so grateful to be able to engage with what I believed on an intellectual level and to have incredibly sound guidance in doing so. I also thought the community, as quirky and non-traditional as it was, made for some fun memories!

How many jobs have you worked since graduation? Describe your career journey a little bit.

I’ve worked at Life Teen ever since I graduated. I started as a film/video producer and editor (2014-2016), and in March of this year, I became Life Teen’s coordinator of digital evangelization and outreach. I didn’t really seek out youth ministry as a career, but as the Lord opened the door after I graduated, I entered it. The longer I’ve worked here, the more passionate I’ve become about what I do. I care deeply about sharing with teenagers the gift that I’ve received by living in relationship with Jesus Christ, and I am keenly aware of the wonders of social media and the ways they’re continually developing and growing. I am wholly committed to seeking to use them to lead teens closer to Christ.

How did you come to Life Teen?

After my freshman year at PLNU, I served as a Life Teen missionary at one of their summer camps, and during the summer following that year, I served as a videographer at another one of their camps. Following that summer, I was invited to intern for a summer at their Mesa, AZ, office (where I currently work). Following that internship, I was offered a full-time position after graduation. It wasn’t something I pursued in a crazy intense way (like I wasn’t going to make sure I got this job, no matter what it cost), but the Lord really opened up every next door for me.

Could you describe what you usually do on the job at LifeTeen?

As the coordinator of digital evangelization and outreach, my main efforts include managing our social media accounts, our blogs, and our web video content. There are a whole host of people behind each of these efforts; I’m just the one that sorts through it all and aims to share it in an effective way. The whole mission of all I do is to lead teens closer to Christ, which I do by sharing things digitally that will help to indirectly or directly facilitate a teen’s encounter with Christ.

How did your time at JPCatholic prepare you for this job?

JPCatholic prepared me for this job by giving me an incredibly firm intellectual foundation in my faith. When it comes to evangelization, I think it can be a huge temptation to “cop out” the conversation to feelings, emotions, and sensations, but I think the generation of people I’m seeking to share Jesus with is desperate for honesty, authenticity, and a discussion on the reasonable case for faith in God. I’m grateful that anything I’m aiming to share with young people in Life Teen’s digital evangelization efforts are not based on some sort of salesy, feelings-based evangelization, but are based on the firm Truth of what we believe as Catholics: the unchanging, supernaturally reasonable love of God.

How do you feel you are impacting culture for Christ through this job?

I hope and pray that in my job, I’m impacting culture for Christ by helping young teens to know that they are loved infinitely by a good Father, and that only in relationship with Him will they find true happiness. On a more practical level, I pray this is happening by creating excellent digital media (videos, blogs, and social media engagement) that will communicate that truth: digital media that is beautiful and compelling enough to be considered as part of the conversations teens are participating in, but that is also rooted in truth and goodness so as to lead them to what their hearts are most naturally longing for: Jesus. I know I can’t change hearts, I can’t change the world, but I pray that the way the Spirit uses me will be enough to draw the hearts of our culture back to His.

What is the best advice you could give a prospective student interested in media?

Hmm… this is a good question. Probably the best advice I’d give would be to define your “why” from the get-go. I’ve been really into Simon Sinek’s whole “start with why” mentality lately, and I think that’s a big-time game changer. If you know precisely why you’re pursuing a career in media, that will guide you in all your choices and decisions along the way. You’ll recognize that it’s all part of a greater mission and you won’t get lost in thinking what you “should” or “shouldn’t” do. You’ll be driven by your mission and, if you’re driven, focused, and hardworking enough, that is what will ultimately get you where you want to go.