Creativity fosters better leadership, problem solving and promotes teamwork.
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Our short-term memory can’t handle everything that you throw at it. Writing things down keeps you from losing ideas forever.
So you are thinking of planting a church. That’s great! It’s incredible actually. You’ve taken on an age old tradition of planting a life-giving community of believers in what could be a very dry desert. Your passion for planting may be your greatest asset, but it’s not enough to get people to actually show up.
Statistically in the US, of the some 375,000 churches—over 70% have 100 or fewer attendees. Over the past 20 years, the median attendance size has decreased by over 50% from 137 to 65 attendees in weekly worship services.
Recent studies have also shown that practicing christians have dropped by almost 50% since the year 2000 and that church membership in the US fell below 50% for the first time in 8 decades. Many cite division and hypocrisy as primary causes for this. We’ve actually gotten very proficient as the church at prioritizing our defense of viewpoints over defending people… and this, according to Andy Stanley, ranks among the top reasons people leave the local church.
Not to sound all doomy and gloomy, but this information matters. Being brave enough to take the plunge into church planting is the first step, knowing how to break through the noise is the second.
As a modern day church planter, you are stepping into a minority of builders. Only 18% of churches that exist today were planted since 1990, making the median founding date of churches in America 1950. We haven’t moved the needle in over half a century… even with all the life giving mega churches we’ve crafted and sustained.
The communities we’re planting in at large may very well think… “oh look, another church plant”, but if we are willing to pair our passion and calling with wisdom and data, it may very well be a church plant like nothing they have ever seen.
So what does this look like at a quick glance?
It’s simple really. You and your launch team members are truly the most excited people about your plant. However, that excitement won’t translate en masse to the audience you are planting to, which means that you’ll need to do the work to find out how to build a bridge between your excitement and their hearts and minds.
So what steps should you take to build this bridge?
Research. There are plenty of resources available to pull accurate demographic studies on communities. This data will not only help you understand who lives in your backyard demographically, it can also help you identify primary concerns and felt needs.
Concept Your Launch Campaign. A concept is essentially a big idea centered around a creative approach to both design and messaging. We recommend two fronts for this, one being a general awareness campaign that starts months in advance of your launch, and a second more targeted campaign centered around a cohesive launch series. Why a series you may ask? We’ve found that organizing your opening set of talks around a central topic (previously identified in the research and a primary concern) creates more margin for connection if spread out over 4 weeks or so. This process can also alleviate tension around what attendees can expect to experience in a service as you can easily lay this groundwork out in the marketing campaign.
Blitz. It’s not enough to simply push the great concept you’ve come up with out over social media, although that can be effective. It’s also not enough to drop large budgets on EDDM mailers void of a fuller strategy. We recommend a pinpoint targeted campaign that reaches into the primary neighborhoods near your location. Utilize both digital and print mediums to create multiple cohesive touchpoints that piggyback on each others successes. Ideally, your future church attendee would not only get a stellar magazine style mailer that catches their attention, but also a digital ad and personal invitation that all flow together with matching design concepts and messaging.
There’s a lot that goes into this journey we call church planting, and you’ll get a lot of chances to polish your process over time. However, your launch (or re-launch) campaign matters. Getting this right could allow you to step into your church plant with a momentum that otherwise may take years to create.
At Yellowbox, we exist to develop creativity in the local church. Sure, we provide services, but ultimately we want to see your vision come to life, even if that’s without using us to do it. Our team would love to chat and discuss your ideas for your upcoming launch—no strings attached.
Send us a DM @helloyellowbox or e-mail us at email@example.com for a free consult!