Archive for the Media Communications Category

Should Our Church Have a Website?

Posted in Media Communications on April 18, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

Honestly, I don’t really hear this question a lot. Part of me wonders if it’s because everybody already knows the answer, or they feel like they should, so they simply don’t ask the question: Should our church have a website?

The simple answer.
Yes. Absolutely. In every situation. Your church should have a website. (Well, unless you’re Amish, I guess. Then it might not be consistent with your values. But otherwise, yes!)

Because if you want new people to come to your church (and if you are a church, you really should want this), the new people are going to want to visit your website before they come.

You know that Bob Dylan song, “Times, They are a-Changing”? Well, they’ve already changed. In the past two decades, the internet has invaded almost every single home in the United States. Not only that, we now we carry it along in our pockets in our smart phones. If we have a question, any question, this is where we go. We google the weather, sports scores, make up tips, recipes, even the answers to basic math problems. And where do we go if we want to try a church? Yes. We google it.

I guarantee you that every single week young families in YOUR community are searching the internet with, “(City Name) Church” and clicking on whatever pops up first on the list. You want to be on that list.

Well, what about word of mouth? Don’t people ask around to find a new church?
Absolutely. Word of mouth is a great way for people to find out about your church. But do you know what they will do, right after they hear about your church for the first time?

Yep. They will google it.

They will want to know exactly where you are located (with an address to enter into their GPS, which probably resides on their smart phone), what time your service starts, whether or not you provide child care (if they have kids), and maybe a little glimpse into what to expect when they arrive. That’s it.

And honestly, that’s all the information that you absolutely need to have on a website. It doesn’t have to be complicated with several pages and lots of information to read through. Keep it as simple as possible. Make the information easy to find. Add an e-mail address or phone number if they want to contact you with questions, and you’ve got everything you need to have a successful website.

It doesn’t have to be difficult, or expensive, or complicated, or a big ordeal to get a website up for your church. But it needs to be done.

More questions? E-mail me at

Rachel Woolard headshot - circle smRachel Woolard
Director of Media

Back to School… Again.

Posted in Media Communications on March 18, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

Let me tell you a few things about myself: I’m 28 years old. I already have a good undergraduate degree. I went to Johnson University (back in the old days when it was still JBC) and have a very practical degree in Media Communications. Oh, and a great job with the VEF. So… why on earth would I disrupt my entire life and go back to school now?

If I’m being honest, part of it is just because God opened up the doors necessary to make it easy. My now-husband, Zach, got an entry-level job as an Academic Advisor for Liberty University Online; They are growing like crazy. The job itself was a blessing, but the perks are the real kicker: free school. For him and for me. More than that, though, is that I’ve learned a lot about myself and about the church since I graduated in 2009. Working with the VEF has exposed me to my own strengths and weaknesses, and some of the strengths and weaknesses of the church as a whole.

My 1st day at Johnson in 2004. My, how things have changed.

My very first day at Johnson in 2004.

There are so many churches that are struggling with communicating their message of hope to the younger generation (those in their 20s-30s). These churches desperately want to speak the truth of Christ’s love into their lives, but there is a language barrier… well, of sorts.

With the constant advancement of modern technology, marketing firms, HD video, smartphones, and much more, young adults of today are incredibly visually savvy. Whether or not they personally can draw, code, or produce, they still innately understand concepts like quality, success, and virality through media. In other words, when it comes to the media you use (or don’t use) to promote your church, they instinctively know whether or not you know what you’re doing and they make assumptions about your church all along the way.

Since graduating, my passion has become helping churches connect visually with their target demographic. Creating logos, print materials, branding, building websites… all of those things that the 20-somethings have grown up surrounded by. But for me there is still so much to learn.

That’s why I made the commitment to turn my life upside down for a while to pursue a BFA in Graphic Design – in hopes that the quality of the media I can produce for churches will grow and grow. Because the church needs people that can speak this visual language fluently, and the world needs people who can help translate the message of the gospel into the lives of the lost.

Rachel Woolard headshot - circle smRachel Woolard
Director of Media

Just My Type: A Lesson on Typography

Posted in General Advice, Media Communications on February 13, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

Typography-01Typography is the appearance and style of any printed matter. Whether we realize it or not, it is a part of our every day lives. Every newspaper article, blog post, poster, billboard, or anything with any kind of letter forms on them at all are communicating something with the style of fonts that they use. And I guarantee, if it looks good, they thought long and hard about it.

So, What is Your Church Communicating? 
Depending on the fonts you choose to use for bulletins, event posters, and your website, you could inadvertently be telling visitors that you can’t be taken seriously… or that you take yourselves TOO seriously.

Picking an appropriate font may seem complicated, but here are a few tips:

Simple Things to Avoid:

  1. “Comic Sans” or “Papyrus”
    • Just trust me on this one and remove these font choices from your list of possibilities.
  2. Decorative Fonts
    • Use these elaborate fonts very sparingly, if at all. They may look pretty, but they may also get in the way of your message.
  3. Three or more Font Styles on a Single Piece
    • Two is enough. Use bolds,  italics,  and other similar variations for variety.

Simple Things to Try:

  1. Keep it simple!
    • Timeless fonts like Arial,  Futura,  and Garamond have been around forever for a reason: They work!
  2. Choose 2 great fonts and stick to them. (Three, tops!)
    • Choose fonts that have a lot of varieties built in (Bold, Italic, Condensed, Light, etc) so that you don’t have to use 5 completely different styles to get your point across.
  3. Get Feedback
    • Run your ideas by someone else before making a final decision.

    Rachel Woolard headshot - circle smRachel Woolard
    Director of Media

nZone’s Grand Opening and Raving Reviews

Posted in Church Planting, Media Communications, Outside Article Reference on January 16, 2012 by Waypoint Church Partners

New Life’s sports complex, dubbed nZone, had it’s grand opening on Saturday, January 14th in Chantilly, VA!

Leading up to it’s opening, the local newspaper, Centre View Northern Edition, published an article, raving about the facility and the community driving it. Here’s a sample:

Click on the picture to read it in full size.

To see the rest of the article, you’ll need to download the entire newsletter, which you can do by clicking here: Center View Northern Edition, Jan 12-18th.

The Newest Initiative: Soon To Be Announced…

Posted in Church Planting, Media Communications, Waypoint Events on May 24, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Rachel Price, Director of Media Communications

I’m really excited for this coming Wednesday for many reasons.

Once a quarter, several church planters from around Virginia get together to learn, pray, and share stories and resources with one another. This coming Wednesday is the next of these Virginia Vision meetings, and I have a lot of stuff to share with our church planters. Not only do I get to talk about the exciting progress on the Kingdom Equation program, but I also get to announce the newest VEF initiative: The ReVAMP Project.

I can’t give out all the details yet, but Virginia Vision church planters are going to get a first look at the new program before we announce it to all VEF supporting churches. We believe this program will be further evidence of the VEF’s commitment to supporting churches in all the areas where they have need.

Check back soon for more details!

Ministry Value in Facebook and Twitter: Tip #2 – Facebook Lists

Posted in Media Communications on April 26, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Rachel Price, Director of Media

Tip #2: Facebook Lists
The under-valued beauty of Facebook is that you can make it as organized or disorganized as you desire. Especially as you gain more and more friends, it can be hard to remember who you met where, or remember which of your elders you can send a message to through Facebook. This is where “lists” come into play.

When you “Add a Friend” or accept someone’s friend request, it will give you the option to “Add to List”. My advice? Take advantage of this. Organize your friends in whatever way makes the most sense to you. I have lists to separate my small group from people who live in Richmond, college friends from high school friends, family from coworkers, etc. One person can be on several lists (ie. Small Group, Area 10 Church, and Richmond) or on none at all. This way, if I want to send a message to the people in my small group that I’m hosting a game night, I can just write a message to “Small Group” and it automatically attaches all of their names to that message. Or, if you just want to catch up with the people you went to college with, you can click on “Friends” in the left column of the main page, click on the “College Buds” tab (or whatever you name it) that pops up, and it filters out all the other information. It’s a beautiful thing.

Want to catch up? Tip #1: Facebook Friends

Ministry Value in Facebook and Twitter: Tip #1 – Facebook Friends

Posted in Media Communications on April 9, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Rachel Price, VEF Director of Media

These days, you can’t even listen to the news without the news anchor pulling up the station’s Facebook group, telling you to “become a fan” or “follow them” on Twitter. Especially if you’re just starting to dip your toe into the world of social media, the amount of seemingly random and useless information can be entirely overwhelming. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, and you can find order within the chaos. You may even get a few ministry leads that you might not have discovered otherwise.

Tip #1: “Facebook Friends”
Everyone has their own system of choosing who will be their “Facebook friend”. Some people will try and befriend people they’ve never met before, while others will pick and choose those that they would call true friends. Being involved in ministry, however, makes things a little complicated.

If a new teenager shows up to youth group on Wednesday night, never talks to you, and yet the next day “friend requests” you – what do you do? Or you make a connection with a local business owner and wonder if you could use their services for a church function – is it appropriate to search for their name on Facebook, or will that creep them out?

For the most part, people are always glad to get a new “Facebook friend” even if it’s more like a passing acquaintance. As a minister or church leader, I would never pass up the opportunity to develop a new relationship, even if it’s a digital one (at least for now). But don’t just stop at “friending” them. Send them a message about how great it was to meet or reconnect with them, and be specific about the encounter (to remind them and show that it was a meaningful interaction to you).

I wouldn’t, however, start friending people you’ve never actually met before, unless you have an obvious, strong connection. For example, your cousin gets engaged and you’ve never met their fiance, but you plan on attending the wedding. In that case, send them a message with your friend request introducing yourself and expressing how you’re looking forward to meeting them soon. Otherwise, if you don’t know them and you offer no explanation as to who you are, it’s just creepy.

Content that Keeps People Coming, part three: Have Content!

Posted in Media Communications on March 3, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

…Need to catch up?
Read [part one: Be Clear!] and [part two: Be Consistent!]

In today’s face-paced world of Facebook and Twitter, it may seem like people are throwing around ideas and information faster than you can keep up. The sad truth is, however, most of the information filling your “News Feed” has absolutely no practical application for your life. Why should I care whether Susie just brushed her teeth? Why did Steven broadcast to the world that he is eating soup? The reality is that while they may be communicating a lot of clear, consistent information, the content is irrelevant.

Don’t fall victim to this trap. Just because you’re trying to be consistent, doesn’t mean that you have to have new information on your website every day, or even every week. Highlight what is truly important, and people will come back looking for more.

However, no news is not good news for your church! People want to know what your church is doing for their community on a regular basis. So, be active in seeking out stories of change and hope in your congregation. Do an article on the single mom who found Christ and was baptized last week. Publish how much money was raised at last nights’ Missions bake sale, and where that money is going to go. Write about things that matter to the Kingdom. And if you don’t have any real content to write about… go out and do something worth noting.

Content that Keeps People Coming, part two: Be Consistent!

Posted in Media Communications on February 16, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Rachel Price, Director of Media

…Need to catch up? Read [part one: Be Clear!]

You must set a standard of consistent change before you expect people to check back for updates. If your website has lain dormant for the past year, don’t expect people to immediately start checking it every week for the sermon podcasts you’ve started putting so much effort into.

Set a goal for yourself to write in your blog once a week, have the sermons up by Monday afternoon, or to try this “Twitter” phenomena at least twice a week. Once you start being truly consistent, so will the people you’re trying to reach. If they KNOW that the website is the best place to get an updated calendar of events, then that is where they will check first, instead of e-mailing or calling you. If they still don’t get it, point them back to the website, telling them to make sure they check there first next time.

It may take a little time, but the results will be worth it in the long run. The key is that you have to set the standard  of consistent change before people are willing to change their habits.

Want to read more? Read [part three: Have Content!]

Content that Keeps People Coming, part one: Be CLEAR!

Posted in Media Communications on February 2, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author    –    Rachel Price, VEF Director of Media

While I realize that not everyone is aesthetically minded, there are basic concepts of marketing that any minister or ministry volunteer can utilize to communicate announcements and news more effectively. I’ll even do you preachers a favor and put it into a minister-friendly format, by having three distinct points… that all start with the letter “C”.

When you have a lot going on in your church, sometimes it’s hard to fit all of the events into a Sunday morning bulletin or on your website. How do you keep it organized so your average congregant can find the information that applies to them specifically?

Pick TWO fonts.
Let’s use a basic church bulletin as an example. Some churches try to separate different messages by using different font for every announcement. This usually just ends up making your bulletin look jumbled and disorganized. For now, just choose two fonts (you can move up to three if you’re feeling really confident in your design capabilities). Use the bolder, more graphic font as your header, and use the simple, easy to read font below. Then, repeat that same pattern again… and again. This will make your church bulletin more streamline. People will clearly know when one announcement stops and the next one begins. If you have a youth event, go ahead and spring for that third font, but only use it as the header – keep the details of the event in the same basic font you were using before.

Fonts can be a very valuable tool when coming up with an “image” for a certain event, but don’t over complicate it. If you can’t read the text at arms length, try something different. (I personally recommend – they have thousands of free, downloadable fonts for you to play around with).

Want to read more?

Read [part two: Be Consistent!] and [part three: Have Content!]