By Mandy Meehan and Shelby Johns
If you made a vlog about your life, what story would it tell? What story would you like to tell? Mandy Meehan and Shelby Johns answer a few questions about what it’s like being a YouTuber. Turns out, it’s a lot more than just sharing videos about their lives. It’s also about your life. These two YouTubers don’t just want to make a difference for today—they want their stories to last a lot longer.
Mandy Meehan on Being a YouTuber
Did you always want to be a YouTuber?
In a word, no. I was never a fan of being in front of a camera. I always preferred to keep my life private, and for years I struggled with the fear of being vulnerable or transparent. Vlogging the intimate details of my life was never something I thought I would do, but God had a different plan for me.
What made you decide to start posting videos on YouTube?
In the Summer of 2016, I got really sick. It started with mononucleosis and ended up turning into chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis with fibromyalgia and a host of other complications. That led to a lot of rest, and watching a lot of YouTube. I was inspired by other YouTubers who shared the good and the bad in their lives, and let God use their story to help others. Because of my illness, I had to step away from my job, as a youth pastor at Life.Church, to focus on healing. Soon after, there was a night where I couldn’t sleep, and I felt what seemed like a prompting from God to start sharing my story.
What’s been the best part of being a YouTuber?
Even though vlogging was a very scary step, I knew that growth is what happens right outside of your comfort zone. The very next day after my sleepless night, I chose to take a step of obedience and I filmed my first video. Turns out, that step of obedience was the direct path through my fear of being vulnerable. It also unlocked something God wanted to do with my life. Now, I absolutely love being a YouTuber, because I know that God uses my story—and my transparency—to make a difference in people’s lives.
Shelby Johns on Being a YouTuber
Why did you start making YouTube videos?
I love making YouTube videos because I have a passion for sharing faith-based content. While there is so much great content out there, you’d be surprised at how hungry people still are for an authentic, positive message. I love how encouraging and real the YouTube community is, and it is a joy to create and connect on this platform.
What are some of the challenges of YouTube?
I think YouTube can be difficult at times because it involves being so vulnerable. You put your thoughts, your heart, and your life out there for everybody to see, and that can be pretty nerve-wracking! But at the same time, that’s what makes YouTube so great. You have this unique opportunity to open yourself up in a pretty personal way. You get to be a part of your viewers’ stories, and they become part of yours. The risk is granting the world access to your life—vulnerability—but the reward is intimacy. You get the chance to impact anyone in the world in a very real way.
What have you learned through YouTube?
I’ve learned a lot. How to use a camera and edit a video for one. But the main thing I’ve learned is the size of the impact social media has on people. What we share matters. We can use social media to build an idol to ourselves, or we can use it to share a message that carries people into eternity. My desire is that the message I share would be of the real hope offered to us through a life in Christ.
Favorite thing about YouTube?
I have to say, one of my favorite things about YouTube is the awesome people. Mandy Meehan (cough, cough). Mandy and I started our channels at about the same time. We started talking through a little comment or message here and there. Then one day we just decided, “Hey, let’s FaceTime!” It was all pretty much history from there. Mandy’s faith, hope, and joy are so apparent on and off camera. I am so thankful for her story. I know it encourages me and so many others!