A Place of Racial Reconciliation in St. Louis’ Metro East
Sundays at Living The Word Church feel like family reunions. But everyone’s invited!
Their musicians draw from a diversity of traditions. The biblically-based preaching invites participation. And the Sunday morning atmosphere is all about connection.
But Living The Word Church, pastored by David Hawkins, is more than a great Sunday experience. Based near East St. Louis, Illinois (Pastor Hawkins’s hometown), their front door is a few miles from people in significant need. The congregation feeds the hungry through meal programs and “mobile markets.” They’ve been heavily involved in the reading program at a local elementary school.
And they’ve cultivated camaraderie with other churches from various traditions and backgrounds. Living The Word Church stands as a beacon for reconciliation in St. Louis, a metropolitan area known for racial turmoil.
Creating Momentum through 2020 and Beyond
Living The Word Church is a haven for people hurt in unhealthy environments. But just like churches everywhere, the pandemic (and the inability to meet in person) stood as a potential obstacle to their church’s health and momentum.
Part of that momentum was completing renovations on a newly-purchased building. Up to that point, the church had leased auditorium space. And they were $1.3 million into a $3 million building project and needed to raise at least $300,000 to meet together by their goal of Spring 2021.
They also needed to keep their congregation inspired, growing in faith, and helping those in need, whatever happened. Pastor Hawkins contacted ArtSpeak Creative to refresh the church’s branding and website. He also planned to leverage our team’s writers, designers, and developers to supercharge the church’s fundraising project.
Messaging Strategy, Identity Design, Website Design, and Fundraising
ArtSpeak went to work. Living The Word Church knew God had called them to reach burned-out souls who need a fresh connection to God and a healthy church community. Our Messaging Strategy for them included a handful of personas (fictional characters that represent their larger demographic). We also created value propositions and a Core Story to connect the church to those they feel called to reach.
We also chose Pulse Words, words meant to inspire the visual identity and aesthetic of their brand: Rise, Radiant, and Kinetic. We created a logo for them that represented their goal to make disciples: two triangles, linked together, pointing upward.
Then, we custom-created a background pattern that’s instantly recognizable as their church. In their font package, we provided a serif font as a decorative display element to give a human touch and emphasis to the otherwise geometric fonts used throughout the brand.
Finally, we chose a color scheme of vibrant red and blue against darker colors. The overall effect is both exciting and welcoming, like a beacon in a dark place.
Our web led them through our website design and development process which included building a fundraising landing page and brochure. We drew from the newly established messaging strategy and visual identity design to write the copy and design the look and feel of the church’s new website.
Using a Fresh Brand to Inspire
Since Living The Word Church launched its new brand and website, it’s taken some incredible leaps forward.
First, Pastor Hawkins leaned on the Messaging Blueprint to refresh the church’s vision statement: “Find Healing, Restart Your Fire, Make a Difference.”
Secondly, his leadership team now begins every staff meeting talking about one of their personas. The marketing personas inspire project ideas and direct their goals and budget.
Finally, the church was able to reach beyond their congregation to inspire giving. Using their ArtSpeak-created fundraising landing page and brochure, they began reaching out to others willing to lend a hand.
A partner church committed $100,000. That act of generosity helped precipitate an Easter-week appearance on a local news station and another $163,000 that same month.
And it all worked together for their goal: Living The Word Church held its inaugural meeting in its new building on May 9, 2021.
>>Want a look behind the scenes? See the mood board that inspired this brand.
Providing “Opportunities to Reach Your Goals”
(Through the branding process) “we were able to create life in our leaders — so go the leaders, so goes the church. And so our leaders got reignited in that process. And now they’re leaning in with a newfound passion … Our messaging helped us have a clear ask, a clear direction, and a clear story…
“I would tell any pastor that if you want to motivate your leaders and your church constituents, put a message in front of them that clarifies who you are and who you’ve been called to reach. It will give you purpose behind what you do and even provide opportunities to reach your goals.”