Logo 2012

History of Logo 2012

When Lakeshore was planted as a new church in 1987, the founding members envisioned a different kind of Missouri-Synod Lutheran Church. They wanted Lakeshore to be a church focused on reaching out to the unchurched and those without saving faith in Jesus. This meant Lakeshore intentionally went in the direction of offering only a contemporary worship service with a focus on doing ministry in a way that didn’t look like other LCMS churches. At the same time, Lakeshore wanted to stay true to its Lutheran doctrinal foundation – which means being completely based on the authority of God’s Word and centered on the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This desire to be an alternative kind of Lutheran church with a focus on winning the lost to Christ is at the heart of the DNA that forms and shapes who we are today as Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship Church.

As part of our Ministry Action Plan that was approved by the Governance Ministry Board and presented to the congregation, the staff met with a church consulting team called Church Solutions Group to begin work on a facility use plan and to develop a new logo as part of a branding identity package. The goal was to reach more people with the Good News of Jesus. The first step was to review with them our identity, our values, and our mission. Then, the Church Solutions team guided us through a process to develop a new logo so that it reflects our identity and our mission to joyfully connect people to the love of Jesus!

With their wealth of experience working with outreach-oriented churches and assisting them to go forward in mission and grow for the sake of God’s kingdom, the Church Solutions Group team helped us to develop our new logo.  There are two elements to our new logo that “brand” who we are and what our mission is.

The first element is the presentation of our name, which in full is: Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship Church. Each word in our name is meaningful to us in describing who we are, but it’s also a mouthful to say all at once and all the time. Which is why we’re always abbreviating our name!  Often we will merely refer to our church as “Lakeshore.” Many times we’ll hear “Lakeshore Lutheran.” Other times, especially in print, the longer “Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship” is used without “Church.”  Once in a while I’ve heard people say, and I’ve also said, “Lakeshore Fellowship.” So, what’s the best abbreviation of our name for a new logo, especially when we consider our identity and our mission to reach the lost and the unchurched?

Our full name is and always will be Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship Church. After the staff prayerfully considered the advice we received from the Church Solutions Group to more effectively focus on outreach, and once we received the prayerful approval of the Governance Ministry Board, which represents the whole congregation, we confidently chose to abbreviate our name for branding purposes as “Lakeshore Fellowship.” This is a bold and exciting move that focuses on reaching out to the lost and the unchurched with our Lutheran Christ-centered message of God’s love. This really matches who we are as a church and our outreach-oriented DNA.

According to our branding experts at Church Solutions Group, “Lakeshore Fellowship” is the best way to present our church name in a way that will reach and invite people to worship so they can hear and receive the love of Jesus. “Lakeshore” is iconic in our name and representative for the area, while also evoking the image of water – used in our logo image. And the word “fellowship” calls to mind a warm sense of a loving family and a caring community. These qualities are very attractive and inviting to people. And they also sum up the character of our church and what we want to communicate to the world.

This branding advice from the Church Solutions team is confirmation of earlier advice that the leadership of Lakeshore received from a Michigan District official during the Call process. He said that Lakeshore would be better off in its outreach if it didn’t use “Lutheran” in its branding name. And speaking of confirmation, when Steve, the missionary we support, was visiting us from China, he referred to our church several times as “Lakeshore Fellowship.” Amazingly, he didn’t know anything about our branding project, but I was impressed by how His reference to us as “Lakeshore Fellowship” summed up his perception of who we are.

One last incident that confirmed this for me happened recently. My former South Dakota District president emailed me to ask about a class I taught for the District a couple years ago. He was involved in my receiving the Call to Lakeshore and he knows that our name is Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship Church and that we are an outreach-focused church. However, I was stunned when this conservative District President referred to our church a couple times as “Lakeshore Fellowship.”

This really shouldn’t be surprising because many of the fastest growing churches in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod don’t use the word “Lutheran” in the branding of their name, for the same reason: to reach the unchurched.  For example, my home church in Omaha, Nebraska, is now King of Kings Church. There’s a new church planted by the District in Seward, Nebraska simply called The Rock. Also, Church Solutions Group has worked with a fast growing LCMS church in Katy, Texas, named Cross Point Community which worships at three different campuses.

Now, we know and are grateful to God for what the word “Lutheran” represents in our full name. Yet, the unfortunate reality is that the word “Lutheran” often is a significant barrier for many people that would hinder them from visiting our church. What do I mean? Well, unchurched people these days usually have no idea what “Lutheran” means – unless they’ve attended a Lutheran church at one time in their life. Or they often have a wrong or even a bad idea of what “Lutheran” means.

You'll run into people who will say: "Lutheran? Isn't that like Roman Catholic? No thanks, I wouldn't want that for a church." It can conjure up images of a "High-Church" liturgical worship – which we're not, and which also is not essential to being Lutheran. If that wasn't a challenge enough there are also some bad connotations associated with the name "Lutheran" in peoples' minds because of the direction taken by the largest Lutheran church body in America – the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in American). I've run into people, and you will too, who will say something along the lines of, "Oh, you're Lutheran. That's the church body that accepts homosexuality and no longer believes in the Bible." While that unfortunately describes some Lutheran churches that definitely doesn't describe us as a Lutheran church.

One last significant hindrance with the name “Lutheran” – or any church body label like “Baptist” for that matter –  is that it communicates to many people, especially the younger generations, a sectarian, we-are-right-and-everybody-else-is-wrong attitude that is dividing the Christian church. Increasingly people do not want to participate in something they perceive as a separatist, tribal church that views itself as the only true church on earth. This reality is pointed out by authors like David Kinnamon and Gabe Lyons in their book unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why It Matters or John Armstrong in his book, Your Church is Too Small – Why Unity in Christ’s Mission is Vital to the Future of the Church.  This also takes us back to something Martin Luther said which made his intention clear: “Do not call yourselves Lutherans, call yourselves Christians. Has Luther been crucified for the world?”

Since the name “Lutheran” registers as a zero or a negative for an increasing majority of unchurched people, the Church Solutions Group team advised us to abbreviate our name for branding purposes so we can more effectively reach the lost without any unnecessary hindrances. By abbreviating our name as “Lakeshore Fellowship” in order to reach more people with our Bible-based, Lutheran teaching on Jesus and His saving love I believe we will be more “Lutheran” than ever before. When people’s hearts are captivated and won over by the love of Jesus as taught in God’s Word and demonstrated in our lives, then those people connected to Lakeshore Fellowship will grow in learning that our focus on the Good News of Jesus’ love is what we are all about as a Lutheran church.

Yes, people will be able to easily find out that Lakeshore Fellowship is a congregation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. This secondary branding will be used in strategic places like on our website and in our bulletin so that people will know whom we are associated with. However, right away people will know there is something very different about us. They will first come into contact with Jesus and His love before anything else.  And that’s exactly why Lakeshore Lutheran Fellowship Church was planted as congregation! That’s our DNA as a church! People have said and will continue to say, “Is this really a Lutheran Church? Could this really be a Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregation?”

And yes, people will be taught Luther’s Small Catechism and our Lutheran doctrinal foundation. As people are grounded in these biblical teachings, they will realize that our Lutheran identity means nothing more and nothing less than that our ministry and mission are based completely on Holy Scripture and focused on the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. And our core identity as Lutherans is what   unites us with all Christians who believe in Jesus and with the whole Christian church throughout history since the beginning when Jesus gave us our central mandate: “Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

I mentioned that there are two elements to our new logo that brand who we are and what our mission is. The first element is the abbreviation of our name as “Lakeshore Fellowship” to more effectively reach the lost and the unchurched. The second element is the image accompanying our name that pictures our identity and mission. It's the picture of a water drop splash, which you probably figured out from the video previews you've seen for a while now.

Even though the word “Lutheran” is not in the abbreviation of our name, our Christ-centered Lutheran teaching is pictured by this water drop splash.  This image portrays how God’s love in King Jesus impacts our lives and through us impacts the world.

Just as a splash begins with a drop of water that falls from the sky, so God the Father’s love comes down to us through the Good News of His Son, King Jesus. It starts with God. It’s His initiative. He comes down to us. The Holy Spirit causes that Good News to impact our lives like a falling drop of water impacting a motionless surface of water.

Not only does the water drop fall into the water, but the impact of that water drop causes a backsplash! In the same way, the love of Jesus enters our hearts and gives us saving faith, and the impact of His love causes a backsplash so that our hearts begin to increasingly reach up to God in worship, prayer and praise.

Along with the backsplash reaching up to the sky, the impact of the water drop also causes the water to ripple out in ever-widening wave circles. When our lives are impacted by God’s love for us in Jesus, then His love begins to ripple out from us in waves, as individuals and as a church. Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the living water of life, those waves of God’s love extend out in ever-increasing circles, starting with our family and neighbors, to our community and state, to our entire nation, and finally to all the nations of the earth so that more and more people may be impacted by and connected to the waves of God’s love.

This is the impact that King Jesus wants to make through us as a church. In fact, this is what it truly means to be Lutheran. And this is who we are as Lakeshore Fellowship.  We are here to joyfully connect people to the love of Jesus!

Pastor Chris Boehnke

Read 1303 times Last modified on Monday, April 02, 2018

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