LifeBrook Church

LifeBrook Church

How LifeBrook Church rose from ashes to neighborhood impact

By: Amy George | Case Studies Church Branding featured

Key Points

  • Lazybrook Baptist Church (now LifeBrook Church) in the Houston area was facing decline after 60+ years, but they had a heart for revitalization.

  • A series of crises, including COVID-19, flooding, fire, and a robbery, threatened to derail their efforts.

  • Pastor Zach Brackett partnered with ArtSpeak Creative to lead his church through a renaming and rebranding project designed to connect with the church’s upwardly-mobile neighbors in the Houston Heights district.

From devastation to revitalization

LifeBrook Church (formerly Lazybrook Baptist Church) hasn’t had it easy. When a lightning strike set the church’s sanctuary on fire, Pastor Zach Brackett and his congregation were still getting to know each other.

Leadership transitions take time for all to adjust, but neither Zach nor Lazybrook Baptist Church got that chance. They were too busy surviving crises together.

The revitalization strategy the leadership of Lazybrook hoped to implement—to better reach their neighbors and find a new name—would have to wait. Because obstacles kept hitting them, one after the other.

LifeBrook Church

A tough start to a new season

In September 2019, Lazybrook Baptist Church brought Zach on as their new lead pastor. Right after the holidays, the church offices flooded.

The COVID-19 pandemic followed. The congregation practiced social distancing and held online services.
Just as they were readjusting to in-person services in August 2020, a lightning strike caused a fire that destroyed their sanctuary. Insurance complications followed, displacing services to the church fellowship hall for three years.
On top of all these trials, in 2020, their church also got robbed.

“I’m smiling now, but over the past five years, there have been plenty of tearful nights on my knees,” Pastor Zach recalled. “Being out of the sanctuary for three years, navigating an insurance company that didn’t want to pay to fix our sanctuary, and going through COVID…. There have been some really difficult seasons.”
The complications all demanded attention and multiple levels of troubleshooting; plus, the church still needed a strategy for reaching their neighbors.

A church ready for change

Lazybrook Baptist Church called Houston home for 62 years and was originally planted near the Heights area to reach people in the surrounding community. However, after the church faced a steady decline in attendance over the past decade, most congregants drove in on Sundays from areas outside the neighborhood. And because the neighborhood was gentrifying, the congregation looked different from the community too.

Lazybrook’s leadership knew it was time to revitalize and rethink its strategy as a church.

Lazybrook’s leadership knew it was time to revitalize and rethink its strategy as a church. After hiring Pastor Zach, they put together a discovery team to assess the church’s current state. 

The name Lazybrook Baptist Church was a hurdle in itself. The discovery team uncovered a major issue: The church’s neighborhood didn’t know who the church was. Lazybrook needed a messaging strategy to create a presence in the community that people would recognize and connect with. 

It was time for a rebrand and a new name

The challenge: reaching upwardly mobile families

Lazybrook wanted to reach young families and see generations grow up in their church. But they had no way of building relationships with those families. At least, not yet. (When Zach became lead pastor, his own kids were the only ones in the kids’ ministry.)
“If you look at the two biggest neighborhoods by our church, very young, dual-income families make up the neighborhood,” Zach explained. “They’re upwardly mobile…. One of the things that kept coming up was the theme of the hamster wheel, just running to catch yourself.

“How does the gospel address that? That’s one of the things we wanted to address in the name and the branding.”

They needed to create connections, opportunities, and interest for their local community to engage with their church and with Jesus. But they knew they couldn’t do it alone. That’s when they contacted ArtSpeak.

Collaboration for a rebranding strategy

ArtSpeak sent a team to Houston to meet with the church’s in-house discovery team for a two-day consultation and a mutual brainstorming session for rebranding.

ArtSpeak team members conducted workshops, facilitating conversations around discovery and expansion. These sessions helped the teams connect and understand the church’s needs and goals.

The Lazybrook team wanted to grow, and their heart as a church was to bring connection and joy to their community and be known as servants who cared.

The Lazybrook team wanted to grow, and their heart as a church was to bring connection and joy to their community and be known as servants who cared. They intentionally showed the love of Jesus through kindness outreach projects, including cleaning bathrooms at local businesses, paying for people’s coffees, and sometimes even just distributing free Dr Peppers!

This was the heart the community needed to know was right in their neighborhood.

Together, both teams focused on the rebrand’s strategic goals, which included a new logo and design elements, a messaging and communications strategy, and a new name.

From “lazy” to “life-giving”

When it came to his church’s name, Pastor Zach had friends who would joke, “LazyBrook? Is that a retirement home?”

Though the church was more than 60 years old, its profile in the area was nearly nonexistent, which meant it was time for change. ArtSpeak worked with LazyBrook to walk through a renaming process

After deep discovery, both the Lazybrook team and the ArtSpeak team ideated separate lists with hundreds of names. After this, they narrowed the list down to a few front-runners that represented the church’s culture. 

As part of the ArtSpeak renaming process, research and collated demographic data from the church’s surrounding neighborhood were analyzed. These findings pointed the team toward a name focused on life, conveying a sense of vibrance and connection.

After much discussion and weighing the many options, the church settled on their new name: LifeBrook Church

Related: How to rename your church: the complete Waypoint story

LifeBrook Church

A fresh brand for LifeBrook Church

With the synergy of both teams, LifeBrook rolled out a new brand, including a new visual direction and logo, strategic messaging, a fresh website, and a new name.

LifeBrook Church wants people to know they can connect to real life in Christ. (Their new brand promise is “Pursue Life.”) Because the church is built around connection with God and others, it was important for that concept to come across in their branding.

The logo design reflects their heart for connection, as the dynamic, interlinking diamonds represent the active camaraderie of their church family. The idea behind it was inspired by the Venn diagram: LifeBrook Church is a place where the Church and the gospel overlap, and people are in the center of that community.

Another of their goals was to allow the brand elements to showcase who the church is without being overly done or too distracting.

Their team wanted primary colors like red, blue, and yellow, so ArtSpeak’s designers presented them with bold and punchy options that still work cohesively to provide a focused yet robust palette. The result was striking colors with stark contrast, making their visuals easy to focus on. The new brand reflected a streamlined simplicity.

The variable font family, the Acumin typeface, gave them a lot of freedom in application and creating dynamic type layouts to reflect action and emphasis. The primary element for their designs was a connecting line to complement their interlocking logo and reference their deep connections to each other.

Meeting the neighbors

The rebrand brought results for the church: New people came through their doors—and not just any new people, but people from their neighborhood.

“It’s been a pretty positive response. We’ve had a number of people come in. And the visitors and guests we’re getting now accurately reflect the community around us,” Pastor Zach explained. 

“I don’t hear as many jokes about the term ‘lazy’ being in our name. We’re doing a lot of the stuff that we were doing when our name was Lazybrook, but it’s connecting better because people resonate with LifeBrook…. Before, there were people less than a mile away who didn’t know it was a church, but now more and more people are aware that we are here. We’re seeing the rebranding and the marketing helping people resonate, and we’re seeing an increase in guests.”

LifeBrook Church

LifeBrook Church’s plans for the future

Now that they’re established and connected to their community,LifeBrook dreams of an even bigger way to serve the families in their neighborhood. They plan to open a preschool in January 2025 to help dual-income households. Pastor Zach is eager to see it happen.>

“It will be another way to love and support the community around us. We want to be here to help them as a family and to help point them to the true life that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

But Pastor Zach has even more on his mind: how he and LifeBrook can help other churches facing difficult times. They want to be conduits for church revitalization.

When he remembered where LifeBrook had been, Pastor Zach reflected, “We had a church that had been here a long, long time and was looking to minister to a very different community than they had originally started ministering to. 

“How do we help revitalize churches that are in decline or come alongside other churches that are where LifeBrook was five or more years ago and encourage them? There are millions and millions of people in Houston; we’re not competing with other churches. We want to see them grow and thrive.”

A partnership that built momentum

According to Pastor Zach, with new branding and a new name,LifeBrook Church gained new momentum.
When he reflected on his partnership with ArtSpeak, Pastor Zach summed it up like this:

“It was fantastic. We absolutely loved working with ArtSpeak…. My undergraduate degree is in communications and marketing, so I love this stuff, but having y’all, as experts in the field, come in and help lead that team so that it was really a shared journey together was tremendously helpful.

“Also, for the congregation [it was helpful] to say, ‘Hey guys, we didn’t just sit in a room, throw mud at a wall, and see what sticks. That’s not what we did. We hired ArtSpeak, and this is what they do. Their heart is to reach people with the gospel, and so their heart is to help us connect with the community around us so that we can see people come to Christ.’

“It was a huge benefit for me as a pastor personally having you come in and sort of lead and guide that team in a very helpful way, in a very well-thought-through way…. It was a blessing to me, and it also was nice because there were some things that you could say that were a lot easier to hear from you than from me.

“It was amazing. Hands down, you should definitely reach out to [ArtSpeak]. You were so instrumental in helping us think through our branding. Helping us not just think through it because it’s one thing to get a new name and new logo, but to get a new name and new logo that connects with the people in our community was vital, and you did a great job of helping us think through that and helping us navigate this process. And you were just fun to work with!”

Ready to reach people?

Intentional branding can do more than just identify a church or organization; it can also build momentum that draws in the community.

If you’re ready to take the next step and bring your vision to life with strategic messaging, captivating visuals, and effective marketing, the team at ArtSpeak would love to connect with you.