Our church has recently experienced a sudden change of leadership. In the midst of this change, our Communications Team was called upon to help reinforce and define why we do what we do as a church. We knew the key to keeping people engaged through the change was a clear, simple message. One our church body could easily identify with.
In any church or organization, there can sometimes be a strange predicament. A predicament where there is a lot going on?fun, exciting, impactful, talked about things. While we get excited about these things, we can struggle to see how they fit into a larger mission or vision.
When there is a lack of clarity or definition on a mission, scope creep is nearly inevitable. Almost everything and anything can be justified to a loosely defined objective like ?help people?, ?reach the community?, ?impact the world?, ?build a better tomorrow?, or ?make disciples?. However, without clarity, what was designed to be an inspirational rallying cry is unintentionally dismissed as a platitude. Clarity can build momentum as people are united by an understanding of where they are going and how to get there.[quote]When there is a lack of clarity or definition on a mission, scope creep is nearly inevitable.[/quote]
We needed to find this clarity. Our solution was revealed in a definition?the definition of our mission: Make Disciples. Clarity through definition, executed through design.
The Process of Discovery
Our task was to visually communicate that our church had three distinct ways in which we make disciples: connecting people to God, people to people, and people to outreach.
Early in the design process, we recognized the challenges of the project. We were called upon to create visuals to represent God, people, connecting, outreach?these were all abstract concepts. Additionally, it would take tremendous time and resources to have a new visual take hold with our audiences. We knew the importance of this project and the weight of what we were working on.
Then something happened. One of the talented designers on the team recognized a solution that was right in front of us. What if we took something so familiar and communicated it in such a way that people would never see it again the same?
The Solution in the Familiar
Our church?s logo has been in place for over 15 years and includes an outline of a cross, a semicircle around the cross, and ten triangles radiating like rays outward from the circle. We realized these were three separate elements that perfectly represent the concepts we are trying to communicate. The cross element would be the connecting people to God aspect. The semicircle surrounding the cross would easily represent the connecting people to people and our desire to see people surrounding themselves with others who share their faith. Finally, the rays pointing outward convey connecting people to outreach as we hope to see people reach out and serve others. It was simple, familiar, and impossible to not see the representing parts when you look at again.
We knew visuals weren?t enough to drive our point home. So for each visual we created, we added a written definition. We wanted to show a simple, memorable representation of people connecting to God, to other people, and to outreach. We looked to keep our definitions both concise, but also meaningful. Leaning on the research of speaker/author Simon Sinek, we sought to define these areas by being sure to emphasize the why that would resonate with the reader along with the what and how we seek to go about making disciples. Clarity of mission without reason will only move people so far. Clarity of mission with purpose can take your communication further.[quote]We knew visuals weren?t enough to drive our point home.[/quote]
The initial reaction among leadership was a great success. People understood the concept right away when we presented it. Many who saw it offered additional perspectives. One, in particular, was how this visual representation is both a new way to see what our church is about, but that it is also all about what our mission has been since the church started. To him, in many ways, it brought healing through a difficult time in our organization.
Few things can help unite and energize like clarity and definition of a mission. As we began to plan the rollout, excitement and anticipation built among the staff. What we say is important is reflected by the environment our guests experience week in and week out. Now, after three weekends of casting this mission and vision to our church, the people that attend are seeing and hearing this articulated mission with clarity and understanding.[quote]Few things can help unite and energize like clarity and definition of a mission.[/quote]
As you look across your organization, look for ways you can be inspired by what is already around you and familiar. Try to see things in new ways. Push for clarity and definition wherever possible in the role you have, because that definition can make all the difference.