If I were to give you 60 seconds to write down as many Kidmin themes as you could, how many would you be able to list? 5? 10? 30? Here’s another question. If I told you to take 1 day and search online, how many could you list? I just did a google search and the first link I clicked gave me 93 different potential names.
And therein lies the problem. We have no shortage of names. But a list of names doesn’t guarantee a good brand for you or me. And although deciding on an brand or identity for your ministry is ultimately a decision between you, your church leadership and God, I’d like to help you out. The church I serve went through a ministry rebranding about 4 years ago and it was a great learning experience. We’re a fairly large church, so there were a lot of people with different ideas and opinions. And although it was a lengthy process, we ultimately settled on a great identity, in part because we asked the right questions. And what are those questions? I’m glad you asked.
1. Why do I want to brand my ministry?
I assume since you’re reading this, you are thinking about branding (or re-branding) your ministry. The first question to ask is simply, “why?” Maybe you’re bored with your current branding. Maybe your ministry doesn’t have a brand at all. Maybe you need something fun to get your kids excited. Maybe you need an identity to help “sell” your ministry to the rest of the church. Maybe you want a cool brand so you can theme your environments. Or maybe the answer to ALL of these questions is yes. That’s fine too, but as you move forward, keep your purpose in the front of your mind. Let that drive your decisions as you answer the next questions.
2. What is my ministry about?
If I asked you to describe your ministry in 1 sentence, what would you say? Think long and hard about this one. What is your ministry about? What do you value as a kidmin? If you had 30 seconds to convince someone why they should try out your ministry, what’s your “sales pitch”? This is where you need to start. Before you even think about a theme, you have to figure out who you are. Take my church for example. If someone asked about the children’s ministry at Southland, here’s what I’d tell them.
The Big Picture Show (that’s our theme/brand) is a place where you learn that God is the STAR, the Bible is the SCRIPT and You get to play a BIG PART.
Basically we looked at our ministry and realized there are 3 major things we are about:
- Everything starts and ends with God. He’s the main Star of everything we do.
- The Bible is our script for every lesson and life.
- God has a plan for each of us.
3. What do I want my brand to say?
Fast forward a couple years down the road to your new established ministry brand and to when you talk about your ministry to parents and kids. What does the brand say? To a brand like LifeKids (LifeChurch’s children’s ministry), it says that they are a kid’s version of the church. On the other hand, a brand like Promiseland (Willowcreek’s children’s ministry), says they are there to teach kids about God’s promises. Whether you intend your brand to say something or not, it does. For example, I’ve seen a lot of churches use acronyms for their ministries (F.R.O.G., C.I.A., etc). Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, make sure you put the intended meaning with the letters. If not, people will decide what it means…correctly or incorrectly.
(Down the road when you decide on a brand, come back to this question and make sure you look at it from a visitor’s point of view. Assume you know nothing about your church. Is there anything your brand says (or alludes to) that you don’t intend?)
4. Do I want the brand to be tied to a theme?
Once you have established why you want to brand your ministry, what your ministry is all about and what you want your brand to say, its time to start thinking about the brand itself. At this point, there are two very different avenues to travel, and there are pros and cons for each.
- Non-Themed Brand (Elevate, Promiseland, SE!Kids (Southeast Kids), etc.)
- Themed Brand (All Star Kids, Big Picture Show, UpStreet, etc.)
Both avenues have their pros and cons. The themed brands give you a snapshot of what their ministry is about. Without knowing a thing about their church, I can tell you that UpStreet is probably themed like a city street and All Star Kids is probably baseball or sports themed. Non themed brands don’t tell you as much. Elevate only tells me that that’s the name of their children’s ministry.
But themed brands have their cons too. A themed brand can pigeonhole you into a theme you may not want 5-10 years down the road. We thought long and hard about our theme, “The Big Picture Show” because we knew just that. We knew that we were setting ourselves up for decades of movie themed environments. But we were ok with that because the theme is broad enough to allow us to go in several different directions.
5. What’s my brand?
At this point it’s time to start figuring out your brand. Grab some key leaders in your ministry. Grab a couple kids. Get ideas. Then throw all of your ideas up against your answers to the above questions. If a brand sticks and you like it, you may have just figured our your new ministry brand!!!
Next Blog…Bringing Your Brand to Life
Once you have a brand, it’s time to bring your idea to life with a logo and themed environments. Next post we’ll take a look at what to look for in a logo and a theme.