A Place to Be Real
If you visit Holmes County, Ohio, on a Saturday, expect a traffic jam. It’s not just the horse-drawn buggies (there are loads of them). But you’re also likely to find yourself in a line of Amish-curious tourists who want to take home a little piece of the quaint, simple life Holmes County represents.
But there’s a hard truth under the town’s quaint surface. Hurting people — including many victims of abuse — need a safe haven where they can find a trustworthy community. Many who cloak their pain with symbols of both status and piety need somewhere it’s okay to have a problem. A place to be real.
Grace Church, pastored by Larry Kaufmann, serves as that place. It’s a multisite with a vision to heal the world and make disciples in rural America.
Culturally Relevant, Authentic, and WelcomingAs Grace Church’s influence has grown, they’ve needed to make their presence in the community distinct from their past reputation. Though the church always had always identified as “Mennonite,” that denominational definition no longer communicated everything Grace had become. It’s a place of forward-looking outreach, heartfelt worship, and excellent production.
To reach people in their community who were “done” with church-as-usual, they planned to refresh how they presented themselves in Holmes county. Grace’s deeply compassionate congregation realized their church had become a home for hurting people who needed healing. And they wanted it clear that anyone would feel comfortable at their church, whatever their background.
Plus, Grace was branching out to a new and different demographic. In 2020, its second campus in nearby Sugar Creek was flourishing. It had also launched a third site in Millersburg, an area with a greater number of struggling families and fewer people attending church. That’s when they decided to contact ArtSpeak about rebranding their ministry.
A Heart for the Gospel at Home and Around the World
Grace Church began work with ArtSpeak Creative just as pandemic restrictions started to loosen. We visited their church, got a feel for their context, interviewed congregation members, and got to see how their mission was making an impact on their county.
We worked with Pastor Larry and his team to focus their message and speak directly to their widening audience. They had already established well-crafted phrases around their mission and vision, so we built a messaging strategy on their strong foundation.
Then, we chose visual elements to reveal Grace Church as they are: A healing place for a hurting world. We wanted to clarify they are both members of their context yet distinct from the surrounding Amish and Mennonite culture.
They chose a hand-lettered logo, which we combined with a warm and inviting color palette. Every aspect of their new branding communicates healing, welcome, and a sense of joy.
In their Style Overview, one image says it all: their hand-lettered wordmark (“Grace”) wrapped around people from their congregation.
“Our Best Days Are Still Ahead of Us”
Grace Church dreams of making more disciples in rural communities. As of May 2021, their Millersburgh microsite, which was meeting at a local coffee house, had grown to over fifty weekly attendees. And the church board purchased a property for the campus to put down roots.
And though the church focuses on their rural context, their passion for hurting people worldwide shines through. Their partner ministry, 58:12, has safe houses for abused women and children in Holmes County, Haiti, and Thailand. One of their residents said:
“I cut out an ad and put it in a drawer after I discovered 58:12 Rescue in the newspaper. My husband’s increased beatings finally left me hospitalized with brain trauma. When I walked into 58:12 Rescue, I was terrified. I couldn’t sleep, out of fear that he would find me. The staff made me feel welcome and more importantly, safe.”
Grace Church continues to look toward the future. As Pastor Larry said in a Facebook video announcing the purchase of the new building in Millersburg, “I believe our best days are still ahead of us.”Want a look behind the scenes? See the moodboard that inspired this brand.
Walking with the Grace Church Team
“ArtSpeak walked alongside of us and were available to give us an amazing rebrand of our church! Responsive, flexible, adaptable, and high quality output. We loved working with them.”Katelyn Lubwama