I am going to shift the content of this blog over the course of several posts during the next few weeks as I focus on a few more of the practical aspects of my role at Meadow Heights Church. I will be talking about more of the practical applications I have experienced over the past few years. I will also be interviewing several folks in the near future who will bring additional insights to the realm of creative arts.
I want to start however with some thoughts from Mark Batterson. Mark describes the process his team goes through with a concept he calls "sermon branding." Mark is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. and someone I have referenced on this blog quite often. I love his writing, and his book "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" is a must read.
Sermon branding is very similar to the process we go through with the programming of a new message series. Here are the main categories Mark's team goes through:
Seven Steps to Sermon Branding:
#1 Come up with a series title
#2 Create a series logo
#3 Design a series evite and invite
#4 Brainstorm Big Ideas
#5 Shoot a Series Trailer
#6 Design a microsite
#7 Add Sermon Props
Let me comment on how we approach the topics above...
We do pretty well developing a series title. We will look at several message series from other churches and then combine the best ideas with many of our own. Then we'll brainstorm a title that is creative, compelling and captures the attention of the audience.
We'll then create a series logo. Again, we use a lot of graphics from other churches, but we also use Photoshop to create our own stuff, often times with stock photos. We'll then take those images and create our e-vite on www.meadowheights.com. We'll also create some invite cards for folks to hand out to their friends.
Our brainstorming process usually happens much sooner than number 4. A lot of our creative energy is captured in a weekly programming meeting, and then we'll take those ideas and blend them together to create the branding for a series. Brainstorming big ideas is a huge part of our strategy.
Number five is definitely something we see ourselves producing in the near future. We try to come up with a series opener, but I really see us moving this area forward with more creative opening videos and "teaser" videos to promote upcoming series.
Designing a micro site is a very cool thing to do. We tried this for the first time with the "Larger Than Life Blog." We had nearly 1000 people over the course of three weeks take a look at our blog. It was interactive and a great place for folks to share their stories and experiences. This is definitely something we'll be doing again in the very near future.
Last, but certainly not least, are message props. We are definitely in favor of using props or visual illustrations. This can be done live or via video for effectiveness. Different types of people learn via different methods, and church should not be the exception to this rule. We love to teach by using all types of learning styles - from visual to aural to practical applications, this is a huge strength of our teaching team.
I'll spend time in a future post describing a typical week, not just on the branding front, but an in depth look at the processes we go through when developing all aspects of the weekend. Until then!