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AUGUST / 2003 The Design of Church Planting
by David Gagné, R.G.D.

September is just around the corner and the seeds are being cast for many new churches to begin taking root. Statistically most churches begin to take root during the first few weeks of September in North America simply because children are back in school, adults are rested after summer vacation and life generally for most enters the daily routine. If you're in process of a Church Plant you'll want to read this article further - and if you have already planted and are in the growing phase you may wished you had read this earlier.

Before I begin - All praise and glory be to Jesus for He is the reason why we are all involved in His great plan of presenting His salvation to all. Some are hands, some are feet - we simply are a part of the body that provides a service to the global Christian community. We communicate through effective design to today's sight and sound generation that being a Christian is the ultimate adventure; the highest calling and we do so in excellence - as excellence is our standard.

The Soil and Seed.
Planting a flower requires the soil to be worked to make way for the seed. The seed is placed and then the dirt covers it over. Similarly when you plant a Church, there is much work to be done, the "soil" or in our case location must be carefully selected and much effort goes into making sure that once the seed, the Church, is planted that it will blossom. During this time consider yourself to be in the soil, getting ready to bring forth life to the surface but until you do no one knows there is a seed in the ground because they can't see it. It is vitally important during this stage that you look into Church marketing. Some folks have a problem with this term - for a latter letter - fact is though, that unless you are prepared to reach the community in the same or better manner that the world does through effective communications, they will either not take notice or be drawn by what the world has to offer.

Items that are proven effective and cost efficient include postcards, door hangers, business cards, flyers, newsletters, posters, etc. If you are considering to communicate via the web I would suggest ezines, invitations, e-cards, website obviously, etc. At Ministrybeehive Christian Communications we have experience in designing all of the above - in excellence - and we completely provide custom designs to suit your churches vision and mission to reach those you desire to reach with the Message.

Sprouting Season
Your hard work is beginning to see the light as your seed begins to break through and reach the lost. How will they find you though? If your Church is portable then make sure that you place a sidewalk sign outside the facility you meet at including your Church name, time of service and telephone number. If you have not got a logo by now, now is the time to make sure you do! (See May's Advice article.) If you are meeting at a permanent location, talk with your local signmaker and discuss inexpensive but effective means to bring attention to your new Church location. The more people that see your sign the better!

When a visitor walks into your church first impressions matter. Consistency is key to communicate to the visitor that you are not a fly-by-night operation and that you take ministry very seriously as is projected by the interior signage, events posters, your Church bulletin, a welcome banner above the entrance, etc.

Time to Blossom!
Once your Church plant has been nurtured through effective communications both visually and audibly, it is no time to rest. Constant communication is required to reach those that have not been reached. Continue to do the things that worked during the planting phase - if something didn't work, simply don't do it. Seek advice from your newly developed core - they will know the area better, the people closer as they live in it. If you need to seek professional advice on creative marketing to work alongside with your team, please contact us and we would be glad to discuss creative solutions with you.

From seed to soil, from soil to sprout, from sprout to blossom - it is important that the image you project from the start is excellently designed, professional in all aspects and remains consistent. The corner-store understands these basic marketing practices and retains visitors. The same simple guidelines apply for any Church but for a new Church it is imperative you do it right the first time - second chances are rare with first time visitors.

Please contact us to discuss your Church planting challenges. We've assisted many churches in developing effective marketing solutions to meet their outreach requirements. As you plant, we will help water but it is God who will grow His ministry. Be blessed in all you do for it is unto the Lord Jesus we labour.

David Gagne, R.G.D.
Creative Director
Ministrybeehive Christian Communications

David and Isabelle Gagne have over 20 years combined experience in marketing and graphic design. He and his wife operate Ministrybeehive Christian Communications serving churches, ministries and organizations the world over with excellence in graphic/web design and marketing strategies. They may be reached for Media Ministry consultation at thegagnes@ministrybeehive.com

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