Converge MidAtlantic

Converge MidAtlantic

Starting Churches, Strengthening Churches, Supporting Pastors, Reaching the World

By: Kirk Hadden | Case Studies Church Branding featured

A supportive church network— for 100+ churches

Many Churches, Many Cultures: One Network

Picture a corkboard map of the U.S. with pins and strings connecting 100+ churches over several states. Imagine your job is to communicate support and maintain a church network for all of them. Now imagine navigating all of that after the pandemic.

That’s the task that Regional President Brian Weber and his team at Converge MidAtlantic faced. Not only is Converge MidAtlantic the largest Converge region, but it is also one of the most diverse with rural and urban churches that vary numerically—and culturally.  

There was no question: Converge MidAtlantic found themselves facing a communication challenge that required strategic messaging.

Converge MidAtlantic

Converge National: 1879 to 2023

Converge is a national movement of gospel-centered, culturally diverse churches. Their mission statement is “starting and strengthening churches together worldwide.” The goal is threefold: to start new churches, help those churches stay connected to each other, and then help them be strong and vibrant so they can serve their communities. They also have international ministries with a focus on starting gospel movements among the world’s least-reached people groups. 

Currently comprising ten districts, hundreds of churches, and national and international ministries, their roots reach all the way back to mid-19th-century Swedes who emigrated to America in pursuit of religious freedom. 

Those Swedish immigrants organized as a fellowship of churches called the Swedish Baptist General Conference, and they had a focus on reaching communities with the gospel, especially other immigrant communities. But as Swedish immigration declined, English became the predominant language used in churches, and more and more non-Swedish churches were planted and organized.

In 1945 they renamed themselves the Baptist General Conference, and as a missional movement, the BGC became a multiethnic, worldwide family of believers and churches: diverse, yet committed to the common mission of fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) for the church.

Toward the end of the 20th century, the Baptist General Conference name began to feel limiting, so in 2008 the board of overseers approved a new missional name: Converge.

Rising to the Challenge

As a region, Converge MidAtlantic is comprised of over 110 churches scattered across nine different states. The goal was to strengthen connections between these pastors with Converge MidAtlantic providing support for them as well as funneling resources to and between them.

The challenge was how to communicate with all of these churches in ways that would help the regional office to clearly communicate to pastors, invite church planters and pastors, and encourage collaboration and participation in Converge.

An additional complexity was that while they had many churches under their purview, some were disengaged or didn’t know exactly what Converge had to offer.

So when Regional President Brian Weber was elected in 2018, he knew he was up for a communications challenge.

Communication As Necessity, Not Luxury

Brian describes his job as “to foster a community of local churches and leaders so that they’re in relationship with one another.” Fostering those relationships and the interconnectivity of member churches is his passion.

Because Converge places high value on the autonomy of the local church, Brian is not a top-down leader. Converge doesn’t operate as a hierarchical denomination, so Brian says, “Our structure is completely dedicated towards serving the local church, so my role as regional president is below the church…Any authority that’s granted to me is relational.”

“Our structure is completely dedicated towards serving the local church, so my role as regional president is below the church…Any authority that’s granted to me is relational.”

He also faced the additional hurdle of the scope of his mission as a regional president because, as he put it, “I’m not like a pastor in a church that has a pulpit on Sunday and gets to share every week with his people. We are 100% reliant on our communication strategy.” He wanted to inspire his regional leaders with a message of unity, but how? It would need some clear strategy accessible to everyone.

COVID brought additional complications. It meant suddenly needing to adapt to a conglomeration of online communication, hybrid communication, and some print communication. Even though Brian had been working on a communications strategy since he was elected, “COVID came in and changed the game.” 

During the pandemic, the Converge MidAtlantic team spent a lot of time learning about different solutions people were trying, such as the development of online ministries and broadcasting services, and trying to pass on what worked to their pastors. Sometimes that was easier said than done, and they also saw some communication gaps they were eager to address.

According to Brian, “A lot of churches, sometimes they do a great job with internal communication…but we see this increasing gap in our communication between the church and the community. And church organizations like ours wrestle with both of these things like trying to communicate well among our members, but then beyond our members to our region.”

Brian and his team met at the beginning of 2023 and realized that to be their best, Converge MidAtlantic needed a messaging strategy to leverage all of the communication tools at its disposal to bring clarity, efficiency, and unity to its churches and encourage more collaboration and participation within their region.

Brian recalled, “We needed to figure out how to communicate to people in this post-COVID era and in the ways that people are listening to today. What are all the tools in the toolbelt in terms of how we communicate to our pastors and leaders and how we recruit church planters and new pastors and develop pastors and leaders? What does it look like to be a fully engaged church in a community like Converge MidAtlantic?”

At a Communications Crossroads

Converge MidAtlantic reached out to ArtSpeak to help bring clarity to their communications through branding and strategic messaging. The first step in the process was for them to complete a branding questionnaire, a series of questions to help ArtSpeak learn more about them as an organization: their aims, goals, and needs.

Brian didn’t go it alone when it came to the questionnaire. He wisely leveraged the questionnaire’s full potential by bringing his team members on board and inviting their input by setting up focus groups. He said, “I gathered as much of just talking about what is Converge MidAtlantic from our local church leaders as I could. Those local church leaders serve on my board and they serve on other teams for me. Then I submitted that to your team.”

Converge MidAtlantic

The next step, an on-site consultation, brought the Converge MidAtlantic team and the ArtSpeak team together for two days of productive collaboration to work on brand messaging and strategy. Brian’s leaders were in the room and some representatives from each of his different teams worked with ArtSpeak strategists. Together, they unpacked what made Converge MidAtlantic uniquely equipped to reach the pastors in their vicinity.

When reflecting on the experience, Brian said, “Part of our relationship with ArtSpeak has been helping us get better clarity about how we talk about ourselves … What was really fun to watch was to see your team synthesize the ways we talk about ourselves and then think particularly about the audiences that we’re communicating to, and then put in a language that better communicates or helps us put some rhetoric behind sharing with our constituents what we really believe about ourselves.”

ArtSpeak’s team collaborated with Brian’s team to create a messaging blueprint to articulate who Converge MidAtlantic is and what they want to say to their pastors.

Converge MidAtlantic

Clarity That Brings Confidence 

Brian discovered that the messaging blueprint empowered him and his leaders with confidence in their communications. The messaging blueprint brought clarified language for him and his team which also created unity. He described the customized messaging strategy ArtSpeak provided them in this way:

“I made this analogy: It felt like you’re looking forward to your wedding day and you go to the tuxedo shop, they did all the measurements and everything and they had the whole thing tailored and now it was time to put it on. When I received this report [the messaging blueprint], and they said, ‘Hey, this is messaging. This is how you describe yourself. This is how we think it’ll help you describe yourself to others,’ it felt like putting on a tuxedo that fits. We’re reading it, and we’re like, ‘Hey, everything we say about ourselves is in this, but it’s packaged in a language that makes it very easy.”

Converge MidAtlantic

Looking Ahead

As they look to the future, Converge MidAtlantic isn’t missing a beat or slowing down. Brian’s vision for synergy, unity, and collaboration is being communicated with greater clarity. He says, “We live in a very polarized and increasingly divided society, whereas Jesus’ first prayer for the church in John 17 was that we would be one. We’re not all meant to be the same, but we’re meant to be united in spirit and in purpose.”

They’re continuing to launch more churches with a national push The 312 Initiative, designed to plant more than 312 churches in a five-year period from 2020 to 2025. Brian recalled, “I know one of the things that connected us early on and that we had access to you and really started talking about our mutual passion for new churches. And the beauty of the new church endeavor, the church planting endeavor, is the idea that you get to start something from scratch. I know that you provide similar services for that church planter and that launch team to think about, ‘Hey, how do we communicate who we are for the very first time?’

With clear messaging in hand, Converge MidAtlantic leaders have more confidence articulating their vision and reaching more pastors and churches in their region. They’re connecting more churches on their map than ever before.

Brian reflected, “If any leader is struggling with that tension of trying to just have confidence, that is what I think is great about our experience with you. After receiving the Messaging Blueprint, there’s a great deal of confidence in how to talk about one’s self. If a church is looking to clarify their messaging to feel more confident about how they talk about who they are in a way that bridges the gap to the people they’re trying to reach, I think that’s a great space where ArtSpeak can make a difference.”

Get Clarity That Brings Confidence and Builds Momentum 

At ArtSpeak Creative, we’re passionate about helping life-changers.

We want to help you achieve your mission and articulate your purpose through messaging and strategy that brings clarity and grows that internal confidence so that you reach more people.

For a free 30-minute consultation, contact us