Wife. Mother. Author. Recording artist. Life coach. Motivational speaker. Entrepreneur. Minister.
“I’m kind of a jack of all trades,” Myesha Chaney says, a bit understated.
The 37-year-old mother of three and wife of senior pastor Wayne Chaney of the Antioch Church in downtown Long Beach tends to stay busy — very busy.
“I learned a lot as I went on in life,” Chaney says. “At any given time, I can be doing five or six things at the same time. Accomplishing things is how I got my emotional needs met. Now, I try to be mindful of the one thing that we can never get back and that’s time. With time, I want to squeeze out of it all the things that bring me the most joy, which is probably helping people in all ways.”
Chaney’s roots are planted firmly in Long Beach — Starr King Elementary, Hamilton Middle School, Jordan High School and Long Beach City College — but she has touched lives around the world. The Chaneys were on the reality TV show “Preachers of Los Angeles” on the Oxygen channel for two years and for five years the couple had a Sunday evening radio program on KJLH called “Real Life with Wayne and Myesha Chaney.”
“We actually miss the radio show, especially in the times we are experiencing,” she says. “It was great. It was powerful. Both shows were unique experiences for us.”
Now, the Chaneys are embracing new ways to communicate to their congregants by going digital. There is a podcast in the works, they fill social media with positive messages and the Sunday services are live-streamed. Social media is everything, she says. It is how the church engages and evangelizes.
“We are 100% online, a completely digital worship,” Chaney says. “We do a live service and then stream it on Sunday. We make it all work. We hope it translates well.”
The streamed services are a thing to behold; the production quality is top-notch and it’s all done with volunteers. Each service starts with around 20 minutes of songs with Chaney as the lead singer. Chaney says she has been singing for as long as she can remember; it was a way for her to be expressive. While all her family members could carry a note, she’s the one who “stepped on the gas.”
“I learned how to be in front of people in church from the age of 6,” she says. “Robert Browning, my high school theater teacher, was instrumental in my journey. He was the one who said to me, ‘you got this, you get a lead role, not a secondary one.’”
Chaney doesn’t take a secondary role when it comes to being a volunteer, either. Volunteerism is important to her; she believes it goes hand-in-hand with being generous.
“Showing up. Being agreeable. Being easy to work with,” she says. “To serve and be of service feeds something in me. It’s a big thank you God for everything you have given me. I feel I could give it away without question, without looking for some reward, just out of sheer gratitude for life.”
Chaney, who holds two masters degrees from Biola University — one in soul care and spiritual formation, and the other in leadership — believes that kindness has to do with caring for humanity in a delicate way; that the mind, body and soul reflect kindness.
“I do think I invest in kindness by treating each person with care,” she says. “I’m mindful of all of our flaws and brokenness and so I first engage people in the way I want to be treated. And I’m also a flawed person and frail and have my highs and lows, so I want people to treat me with kindness. I make the investment by seeing the best in each person.”
Chaney is still trying to find the perfect balance — organizing the lives of a 14-year-old, a 13-year-old and an 8-year-old — knowing she has a future beyond being a room mom. Because while there is organized chaos in life right now, she is still a passionate person. She loves working with organizations that reach at-risk girls in the foster system. And the church works with Precious Lamb — the preschool that promotes faith building and school readiness for children facing homelessness.
“I just did a video series called ‘Life in Between,’” Chaney says. “I just talked about how we manage with being in-between — not really what it used to be, but we are not really where we are going to land — and how to make the best of these moments. Having endurance, perseverance. How to be sad. How to be angry. How to breathe well. How to say goodbye to what used to be.”
Even though life will never be the same, Myesha Chaney will continue to make a difference, in big ways and small ways, as often as she can.