Good news, I’ve been approved as a Church Planter with the Evangelical Covenant Church. I’m so excited about the future of creating a space for people to be known and loved, a place where people have a seat at the table regardless of who they are, or where they’ve been. Someone asked me the other day, after finishing seminary and being approved as a church planter, “are you super idealistic now?” I simply answered, “yes.” I am idealistic—I really believe that God wants to do BIG things through the church. I really believe that the church can harness all of its gifts, talents and resources to see a tremendous change in our world. This is why I’ve been called to plant here in Richmond, VA. This is also why it’s incredibly important to harness your voice and brand because it–quite literally–expands your reach.
Part of the process of planting, as some of you may know, is coming up with an identity. While this may seem like an easy task, let me tell you—it’s not. There is so much you have to think about, the voice of the church, the logo, the typeface (font), the color schematics, website, church décor, handouts, templates, so on and so forth. It can be a whirlwind and a headache for one person to attempt to navigate. It’s incredibly important, to think about identity and branding. I realize that this brand is going to carry with the church I’ve been called to plant for years to come. Further, note, branding communicates the vision of the church. Churches and leaders should carefully determine the mission and craft branding accordingly. I’ve been gathering proposals from a few different branding companies, so I figured I’d give a few tips to help you with branding. I hope this is helpful for those of you rebranding your organization or if you’re starting a new church.
I sound like a broken record because I feel like I’m always talking about vision and mission in my previous blog posts. It is important to over clarify that this is step one in the process of branding, or any movement in a church. Your brand identity should reflect your mission and values. If you want to reach predominantly “unchurched” or “de-churched” people you may not want to have a brand identity that is overly Christianese. So be aware of the goals of your organization and how you want to change lives. Filter every single proposal through the mission statement and if it doesn’t match up, go back to the drawing board.
Have an idea of whom you want to reach with this rebrand or your new brand strategy. Thinking through your audience will help your team or those you hire to solidify your brand come up with a clear and concise voice. Sit down and think to yourself, “what is the goal of my church; who am I speaking to?” If you’re hoping to have a multi-cultural church, your brand should incorporate a multi-cultural vibe. If you’re predominantly in an affluent neighborhood, your brand should reflect that.
Hire the right people and consult with experts. I’m going to be honest; it’s easy to cut corners on brand. For example, you can hire someone to come up with a logo, but not pay for the typeface, color palette, environment, and website. However, the reality is you’re not doing yourself–or the future of your church–any favors. You will in essence be fragmenting your voice so much that it will become convoluted and more confusing than anything else will. Hire a design firm that will handle all aspects of your brand. If you’re a church plant, like I’m doing, and money is an issue—I would recommend doing a staged rollout. We’re first hiring someone for the logo, typeface, voice, and color scheme and later we will be going to phase two and three which includes website, print collateral, and environment (décor). Be strategic and be wise with your income.
Voice: The expression of your church or organization’s brand through words and prose.
Typeface: The font or design of a particular type. This will be the font you will pick to use in all print and digital media.
Logo: A symbol or design that will be adopted by the organization as a standard. The logo will bring awareness in lieu of, or along side of, the name of the church or organization.