Where History Meets Vision
When University Christian Church called the Rev. Dr. Russ Peterson as their pastor, he was thrilled and humbled. It’s his dream job — but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t be hard work.
University Christian Church, founded in 1873, is the flagship church of the Disciples of Christ denomination. It’s the church connected to Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, Tex., and they have strong ties to Ft. Worth’s history.
Dr. Russ said, “I always feel the need to sort of take off my shoes when I walk in the sanctuary because it really is a place where I encountered the holy and the sacred in a very real and tangible way. I have always looked upon this congregation as being an amazing church.”
But he also knew that the church’s history wasn’t enough to sustain it. Though they were still committed to generosity and service in Ft. Worth, Dr. Russ — along with his congregation — wanted to make a bigger impact.>> Related: How 150-year-old University Christian Church Is Reaching People Today
Refocusing and Returning to First Principles
As the campus university for TCU, college students remained an unspoken priority. But the church as a whole felt like they weren’t reaching those people God called them to help. And the church’s storied history was a hindrance.
Dr. Russ said, “We really wanted to be more outwardly focused and forward-thinking instead of relying on that reputation. We didn’t want to drive into the future with both hands on the steering wheel while looking in the rearview mirror.”
That’s when Dr. Russ, the leadership team, and several core members set aside time to refocus for the future. They created an exciting new list of Core Values and decided to launch a service called Ten:10, directed toward college students and young professionals.
They also contacted ArtSpeak Creative for fresh branding, consultation, strategy, and a new website.
“Have I told you lately that I love you?”
First, University Christian arranged for two of our team members to come for an onsite visit. They toured the church, got to know the city, and interviewed church members.
Then, when we dove into their Branding Questionnaire, we were amazed by the care and heart that went into their new core values: discipleship, curiosity, inclusivity, vulnerability, generosity, and compassion. We leaned in and crafted much of our messaging around these values.
We built their core story around one of Dr. Russ’s early experiences leading the congregation. He had spoken to a group of key leaders, and his heart overflowed for them. He said, “Have I told you lately that I love you?” It became a turning point in his relationship with them. It also became the cornerstone for their core story.
University Christian’s former logo was a rendering of their very famous church steeple, but they wanted to move away from their brand being associated primarily with their building.
Their new logo is a refreshing take on the St. Andrew’s cross, a symbol integrally connected to their denomination. Their logo remains rooted in UCC’s history while inviting their audience into a journey of curiosity and generous connection.
Their colors, typography, and graphic elements are all anchored, warm, and inviting while infused with bright, delightful, contemporary accents.>>Related Service: Church Branding
Radical Generosity, Service, and Coffee
University Christian’s leadership team successfully introduced the church’s new brand to their congregation, inspiring excitement about their future together. The communications team even turned their Core Story into a beautiful video featuring Dr. Russ on a tour of several recognizable Ft. Worth landmarks.
University Christian continues to influence their city through radical generosity and service among their neighbors.
And as of the publication of this article, they plan to launch their Ten:10 service on Sunday, August 29, 2021, at 10:10 am. This coffee-shop-inspired gathering features acoustic music, a relaxed liturgical style, and a partnership with local artisanal coffee brewers, Ampersand.
Their new website launches soon.
Want a look behind the scenes? See the mood board that inspired this brand.
“The best investment that this church has made … hands down.”
“ArtSpeak did such an amazing job of taking it so much farther and deeper and wider and helped us focus on those people that we believe God is calling us to reach. And I can unequivocally say, this is the best investment that this church has made in decades, hands down.”
Rev. Dr. Russ Peterman
University Christian Church
Ft. Worth, TX
“The branding process with ArtSpeak has been second-to-none. Outstanding work, and outstanding people.”Alex Westbrook
University Christian Church
Ft. Worth, TX