Part of the Congregational Visioning Process has been clarifying the direction of the church. One of the major ways we did that was by creating new mission and vision statements to guide the church as we move forward. We had several good statements before, but honestly, we had too many and they weren’t simple enough for everyone to memorize and use when talking about the church. Church Council voted to adopt these new statements several months ago, buy we have been waiting to roll them out until the whole visioning process was complete and we were ready to move forward as a church.
Here are the new statements:
Mission: Creating a community connected to God and others
Vision: Filling every neighborhood with the good news of God’s love
The logo we have been using for the past several years incorporates the mission statement that has previously been used: a community of faith, hope, and love. It became apparent during the CVP process, that significant changes in our branding would be necessary to implement the CVP work.
Also, we realized that it’s extremely difficult to to communicate (i.e. through external marketing) with our surrounding neighbors and using the moniker of “First Church” - there are 6 other First United Methodist Churches in a 10 mile radius of our own, not to mention dozens of First Churches in the same area - Baptist, Presbyterian, take your pick.
First Church simply isn’t descriptive enough as our primary name to give people the information they need to know who we are and where we are. And First United Methodist Church Carrollton is simply way too long to be used in normal conversation. So we needed to find a moniker that was descriptive and usable.
Architects and designers on college campuses have learned not to build sidewalks when they add buildings to campus - they wait a year and wait to see where the kids wear down the grass, and put sidewalks in the paths that are already used.
So we started deliberately listening to how people referred to the church. Far and away, the most common usage is First Methodist Carrollton. It’s not universal, but it’s definitely the go to description.
Sarah Bales is a professional freelance graphic designer. She regularly does work for ACU and Baylor, as well as local businesses and she works on a lot of our projects as well. Years ago when she worked for ACU, she was the graphic designer and worked alongside the creative director with an outside firm to rebrand the university. I had done extensive work with Sarah to refine and improve consistency in the implementation of the previous branding. For the past two years, I’ve been working with Sarah on developing more effective external advertising in our neighborhood and at community events like Carrollton Switchyards in which we have found First Methodist Carrollton to be extremely effective. “First Church” is not effective as our main moniker, but it is effective as our website URL. We have no plans to move away from firstchurch.net, but to make other changes that will help us connect with our community more effectively.
After it became clear in the CVP process that we would need to look at the overall branding, we started by looking at the branding of just over 100 churches - both mainline denominations and nondenominational. We narrowed the field down to 27 logos as positive reference points, and began the brainstorming process to create a new look for our church. We wanted the logo to reflect the mission and vision statements and the idea of connecting people to God and others, and doing that not only in our neighborhood, but neighborhoods across the world. We started with four different designs, and half a dozen variations of each, narrowed it down to the two that best worked with our mission/vision, and asked for the input of a community of church communicators. About 40 of them weighed in, and we landed on this design.
The cross is a means of connection for all people, all around the world. We’re connecting neighborhoods, from Carrollton to Cambodia, with the good news of God’s love. We’ve been using blue and orange in a lot of our marketing materials for some time now, and from a professional graphic design perspective, it’s a good mix of vibrant color and energy with dependability.
Church Council will be officially voting to adopt this logo and the moniker First Methodist Carrollton next week. Once they adopt the new branding, we’ll start the process of rolling out all the new pieces that go with it and have everything in place by Easter. Trustees have approved new external and internal signage, and we have a plan to in place to update all the pieces that currently have the logo, as well as add some fun swag that we want to take all over town.
I want to make sure everyone here knows the reasons why we have initiated this process – especially as they relate to the work being done through the CVP to refine the mission and ministry of our church.
Again, the primary reason we’re doing all of this is to better reach our community. People living right down the street don’t have any idea we’re here. People trying to get to our church can’t find it. It’s important that we are consistent in how we present ourselves, from what people get in the mail, to what they see on Facebook, to what goes on our website, to what they see driving by on the street and finally, what they experience when they walk in our doors. And to assure that what they see and hear is clear and focused in a way that helps them become a part of the life and ministry of our church so they, in turn, can extend our reach further into our neighborhoods and our community.