Pastors Joe Horan and Dr. Grant Arinder each led thriving churches in Starkville, Miss. But each church faced hurdles when it came to reaching their communities.
Starkville Community Church was growing fast with a population of next-gen and young families, but lacked seasoned leaders. Calvary Baptist Church had deep roots and experienced leadership, but they wanted to reach more young families and singles.When they decided to merge, both pastors knew it was time to invest in their shared identity, audience, messaging, and vision. That’s why, at the recommendation of Replicate’s CEO Vick Green, Joe and Grant invested in pairing ArtSpeak Creative’s branding process with Replicate’s vision consulting to bring clarity to the future of Bridgeway Church.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe realized though his congregation was growing, they needed extra support from their church. That’s when Joe joined Replicate’s Collective to get ongoing support from other pastors and keep building the vision for the church.
“We spent 2020 and 2021 trying to figure out how can we be more intentional about making disciples. The Collective was a real big step in that process for me. And so it really helped me begin formulating some thoughts, finding what that answer needed to be,” said Joe.
Joe brought the work from his time in the Replicate Collective, and Grant brought his church’s longstanding mission, vision, and values. ArtSpeak’s team worked with both pastors and a combined branding team for a discovery session identifying what values the two churches held in common.
Then, they dove into the demographics of the communities this new church would be reaching: the audience they were best equipped to invite into discipleship. For this new church, they wanted to reach unchurched and de-churched people who were historically divided—racially, politically, and culturally—across the seven-county area. It was about building bridges.
ArtSpeak Naming and Messaging
ArtSpeak’s team worked with the Merger Exploration Team through several rounds of name ideation, conducting community surveys on the top choices. The result was a name that mirrored the new church’s identity and vision: Bridgeway Church.
From there, ArtSpeak took Bridgeway’s new identity and audience and helped craft shared-win messaging that connected with the root hope of their primary audience. It was all about connection. Starting from two separate churches, a single church snapped into focus with their one-liner: “Bridgeway Church invites people from all walks of life to connect with Jesus, with others, and with the world.”
ArtSpeak Visual Identity
The designers at ArtSpeak worked to create visual branding that spoke to their vision of building gospel bridges. They incorporated masculine colors in the navy and deep blue palette along with a primary font of Norwester that felt regal and strong. Tying it all together was a logo featuring an archway, a literal bridge for their church to emulate. It was a sturdy foundation that Bridgeway could feel confident building on.
Replicate’s Multiplication Master Plan
Joe’s time in Replicate’s Collective program led him to ask the right questions when it came to the merger, but now that they were one church, it was time to get specific about Bridgeway’s vision. That’s when Joe reached out about Replicate’s Multiplication Master Plan.
Replicate and Bridgeway spent eight months working together to create Bridgeway’s unique disciple-making movement. “We assessed their disciple-making culture, we articulated their disciple-making movement, and then we activated their disciple-making movement,” Explained Vick of Replicate. “I remember saying, ‘This vision plan is going to be awesome because they’ve got some great clarity and they’re creative, strong leaders, and they’re going to do something with it.’”
Ready to Build Gospel Bridges
For Joe, Grant, and all of Bridgeway, the ArtSpeak branding process and Replicate vision process have jumpstarted the future of a new church. “We’ve put together our discipleship pathway. We looked at and redefined our Horizon storyline for the next seven years,” Joe said. “So we have our 2030 vision defined. We’ve got our three-year strategic objectives of what we want to see happen between now and the end of 2026.”
And best of all, Joe felt the shift toward the new vision from their people. He said, “The buy-in among the staff is infinite levels higher. Even the buy-in as we’re sharing it with our people, because it feels like it’s our language. And so it’s been everything that I really hoped it could be.”
“It’s been the best money we’ve spent.”
“As we look to the future, we’ve kind of rephrased our mission statement to say that we want to be about helping each other build gospel bridges to Starkville and beyond. That’s everything we want to do—we want to help connect with those who aren’t connected with Jesus and not connected with the church. And so as we look to the future, I think that’s in our heart: How can we do that and do it faithfully, biblically, and as unapologetically as possible.
“It’s been the best money we’ve spent. I would look at any pastor and say look, I think we have a grasp of our identity that we did not have before. We have a pathway to communicate it both inside our ministry and out in our community that we didn’t have. I feel confident that I could step into any context and communicate who we are because of the tools that both ArtSpeak and Replicate have given us. They’ve raised that confidence level up high. For us, it was 100% worth it.”
Co-Pastor Joe Horan, Bridgeway Church
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