This is the last of a number of posts on the work our team did during Creative Missions at three Baltimore area churches.
First Baptist Church Brooklyn (FBC) was the only church we worked with where we weren’t able to see a typical worship service. Despite being able to see how the services operate and meet with their congregation, we were able to accomplish some quick wins just touring the building, meeting Pastor Ronjour Locke and his outgoing administrator, Abbey. Pastor Ronjour was truly excited to talk about the ministry he does at the church and candid about what the church needs to overcome to be relevant in the future. First on the agenda was a an audio issue that needed to be addressed so they could present a crisp, clear message for their weekly podcast. Evan Courtney and Jason Kempf stepped in from another team to lend a hand and delivered a quick diagnosis and solution. Once we installed it we were good to go with an excellent sounding podcast. We accomplished some other miscellaneous tasks that cleared some of the visual clutter and improved flow around the building. It’s amazing how moving and removing just a few key elements can create a sense of space.
We sat down to talk about identity and the fact that FBC is an incredibly diverse church with 100-year-old roots. Their mission is to display and declare the greatness of Christ in all of life, so that all may delight in the glory of God! The conversations sparked a number of ideas from multiple members of the team that ultimately meshed together to create a beautiful new logo that pays homage to the past and represents the diversity of the future; all of which is centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. From there we worked to create a consistent brand across their bulletin, connection cards, brochure, letterhead and business cards. Though their building communicated that FBC was a 100-year-old church for the caucasian community, Pastor Ronjour truly desired to show the community that First Baptist Brooklyn was an active and diverse congregation so we created a large, inviting banner for display on a wall outside the building to do just that. Eric and Denisse worked incredibly hard to get these pieces just right and it shows!
First Baptist had an incredible administrator who, due to an upcoming wedding and subsequent move to live with her new husband, was leaving her employment at the church. She had accomplished a great deal of work which had made our job incredibly easy and if it weren’t for her groundwork we may not have pulled off as much as we did. She had created a beautiful site on another platform, however, the site would “break” quite often, due to issues with the overall platform, and she would have to fix it. With her impending absence she graciously gave us permission to update the site to a more stable platform as well as match the new branding and display the diversity of the church with a site with large photography features. I think Nate nailed it once again with a great website.
As we prepped for the video and looked for the perfect place to shoot the welcome video, Pastor Ronjour showed us around the Brooklyn area and described the very real struggles of the neighborhood . As he spoke you could hear his heart for the area and the impact God’s church could have on Brooklyn through FBC. Monica really captured the essence of the neighborhood and was careful to catch the beautiful details and texture of Brooklyn.
Here’s a shout out from Pastor Ronjour about Creative Missions:
We had a great time working with Pastor Ronjour and Abbey at First Baptist Church Brooklyn and look forward to see how God uses the Creative Missions week we spent together. It was a true privilege to serve. My only regret was that we weren’t able to be there on a Sunday morning for their worship.
The next few posts will give you a very brief overview on the work our team did during Creative Missions at three Baltimore area churches.
We knew going into it that The Light Church was going to be different. Set in the arts and cultural district of Baltimore, The Light Church was in a prime location for artist pastor, John Kovacs and his vintage clothier wife, Maria, to reach out to artists and others to live as bright reflections of their Creator. The service had a flow and cadence all its own, encased in the beauty of stained glass and cathedral church ceilings with hints of urban white noise from the street below. Mike led an impassioned worship set followed by testimonies and stories with refreshing candor. Pastor John challenged everyone to imagine what the Kingdom of God would look like “on earth as it is in heaven.” After service we sat down to, what I would call, “family dinner”, a weekly meal that everyone gathers around to connect as any family would. Our conversations had a soundtrack of outbursts of laughter from other tables, kids running around and friends talking between forkfuls of delicious food. It was truly a family gathering. We spent the evening gathered around Pastor John and asking question after question about the brand and culture of the church. Clearly this was a different church experience for many on our team and we needed to be certain we were honoring its design and intent.
When we met the following afternoon everyone was excited and a little nervous to see how this would flesh out. We landed on the terms “organic” and “family” as we discussed the brand of the church and that set the tone for our design. We unearthed a prior logo attempt the church had made and resurrected the “flame” icon and set to work crafting a hand-lettered logo that captured the essence of this organic family church. What we ultimately landed on felt right to everyone and opened the door to finish strong. We created a-frame and sharkfin signage to mark the entrance which was previously unmarked and thus unknown to guests. In place of bulletins and guest packets the church already handed out a handmade zine that immediately helped you understand the space and experience you were about to encounter. It was a beautiful piece and represented the church well. For the first time in Creative Missions history we created buttons and magnets as hand outs featuring artwork from their congregation as the texture for the logo. Eric captured the hand-lettered logo artfully and Denisse carefully worked with Pastor John to get the color-scheme just right. After all, Pastor John, “went to college for color.” And they nailed it.
How do you create a digital version of this church to exist on the web!? At first, we almost thought it couldn’t be captured. As Nate and I explored some options and templates we landed on the idea that this site needed to be stripped down. Plain vanilla with a twist. Nate and Monica had artfully captured candid video from the service, and the family dinner and put together a looping image for the homepage that perfectly captured the experience. We converted their old site which was flash-based, no logo and hefty admin costs to a free forever donated hosting site that accurately reflected to visitors what they would encounter when the y walk in the door. Great job, Nate!
Monica captured some incredible B-roll footage of the Mount Vernon area. Its tall buildings, statues and landmarks made for a great setting; even more captivating was some of the footage she got from the service and the family dinner. An incredible welcome video capturing the heart of The Light Church.
“I had in mind that this week would be a chance to catch up on some long overdue web and print redesigns. I thought that anything in this area would be a step in the right direction. Then you guys showed up and completely knocked my expectations out of the park! Wow, I can’t believe how much was accomplished in such a short time, and on top of that, the quality of the work that was done here. Blessed and grateful only barely begin to describe how I feel right now.
The final result of the work was fantastic. You have made a room full of artists smile which is hard to do.
“The final result of the work was fantastic. You have made a room full of artists smile which is hard to do.” Pastor John Kovacs
One of the biggest takeaways from your being here is the reminder of how powerful our communication is and the potential that is hidden in so many of the creative mediums, when utilized well. I am motivated more than I have been in a long time to steward this area moving forward and keep this going. We like to keep things simple. Now we have something that is simple yet compelling.
Along these lines, I have been thinking….what will the impact be of these short few days and all the hours and creative energy that were invested here? I have no doubt that the fruit will be a hundred fold. I am confident that people will get a clearer glimpse of who The Light church is as a result of your investment and hopefully as a result they will ultimately get a clearer glimpse of who Jesus is. That is my hope, prayer and belief.”
We appreciate the kind words and heartfelt assessment from Pastor John and truly enjoyed the challenge that the experience offered to capture such a unique culture. What a tremendous privilege to be involved with this phase of what God is doing in The Light Church.
The next few posts will give you a very brief overview on the work our team did during Creative Missions at three area churches.
One of the churches my team worked with while we were in Baltimore for Creative Missions was Freedom Church. When you walk in for the first time on a Sunday morning you feel something special. Diversity is the word that comes to mind–not in the way many churches or organizations tout and display casual diversity–but in a locking of arms among cultures and generations that is clearly fostered and lead by godly leadership. It’s tangible; it’s beautiful. It was truly incredible to be a part of. The team helped in 3 main ways: Design, Website and Video. We also had great conversations on the Sunday morning experience.
The church had already spent valuable time with a talented designer creating a logo. However, having recently moved a few minutes away to a donated church building, a tweak in the edgy-ness of the logo was warranted to reflect the new community they were in. The edges needed to be rounded up a bit to reflect an even more diverse congregation.
Pastor Michael Crawford is a man with big vision and we aimed to supplement that vision with some series artwork and collateral to make inviting visitors easy for members of the congregation. He knew exactly who he was trying to reach, where to find them and how to appeal to them to come to church. We knew that once they came in the door any visitors would need to know where to go and how to get there so we designed signage that would point them to where to securely check their kids in and easily find the rooms the children where to drop them off. You can view all of our designs in the branding overview to the right. I think Denisse and Eric did an incredible job on the design!
Like the logo, the website needed some minor tweaks with updated, larger and more dynamic photography and a cleaner home page. The church was already doing a great job getting their sermons up online immediately following the service as well as a focused devotion that occurs on Sunday mornings that the church has added to the service in an effort to include women more in ministry from the platform. We updated the logo on the site and made it easy to see the churches address on every page with a link to directions and service times. It makes a huge difference when you can quickly and easily find out where the church is and how to get there. Friendly, inviting photography gives visitors a sense of what they’ll experience on any given Sunday. Nate really did a great job cleaning up the site and I believe a few more small tweaks are still to come.
Pastor Mike has a vision to have half of the church’s website be video based and to that end we shot and edited a number of videos that will appear on the site in weeks to come. The stories that we heard during the videos were incredible and perhaps we’ll feature them here another time. Monica did a great job working quickly to edit as many of the videos as she could for the church to put them to use in the weeks to come. Here is a short welcome and introduction video that will appear on the website soon…
Here’s a shout out from Pastor Mike…
It was an incredible opportunity to work with Pastor Mike and their intern Kyle and move the ball forward on projects they were waiting on due to lack of time and resources. Though we only spent two full days with Freedom Church the impact that it had on each team member was amazing. It was truly a privilege to serve Freedom Church.
I just returned from another incredible #CreativeMissions trip; this time to Baltimore, Maryland. Once again, a team of 30 creatives helped 20 churches with communications needs both big and small. You can read the wrap up piece from Church Marketing Sucks.
My team was stacked with talent this year with the presence of:
We had the opportunity to spend time with three different churches, their pastors and leadership as we addressed needs varying from video, photography, design, experience, branding and websites. We left humbled by what God is doing in and through each of the leaders we worked with and over the next few days I’ll show you how God used our team to meet as many needs we could in just a couple days of focus on each church.
By the time we were done, the overall #creativemissions team had donated over $100,000 (based on average freelance pricing) in hours to these 20 churches. I can’t wait to tell you the stories from the week!
For the past three years I’ve enjoyed the privilege of spending a week each May helping pastors and churches all over the country with marketing and communications needs through an effort known as Creative Missions. Again this year, in partnership with The Center for Church Communication, Creative Missions will match the abilities of creatives from all disciplines with the needs of churches whose leaders understand the value of communicating with excellence and will ultimately run with the resources they are given at the end of this intense week of creative service.
Creative Missions is about creating sustainable solutions for churches to effectively communicate the ultimate message of God’s never-ending love for each community they’re involved in.
This year, 30 creatives will converge on 15-20 churches in the city of Baltimore, Maryland on May 17-23. Our mission is motivated by the voices of leaders we’ve supported in the past:
Baltimore is also rich in historical importance with past creative residents including Edgar Allan Poe, Billie Holiday, and Francis Scott Key.
However, recent numbers are eye-opening in terms of violence, poverty, and fatherlessness.
Baltimore is in desperate need of the gospel.
Weʼre building five teams to accomplish a three-pronged strategy:
If the idea of Creative Missions resonates with you, there are number of ways you or your organization can still be a part of it:
There will be more ways announced soon that you can provide additional support to the overall trip as we seek to meet every need we can for the churches we will be serving alongside in Baltimore.