Our Turn Update #4

Church Family,

A little over six weeks ago, we celebrated our one-year anniversary of the launch of the “Our Turn” campaign. That weekend, we came together and had a time of prayer devoted to asking God for the necessary provisions in the days, weeks, and months ahead as we planned to break ground. In the weeks following this event, we have encountered a significant hurdle that has delayed our plans to break ground that I want you to be aware of as we process how to move forward.

As we approached the time to close on the loan with our bank, the appraisal on the project (including our current building and land) came back significantly lower than anyone, the bank included, expected. The portion of the appraisal that was most surprising was the assessment of our existing facility, not the new construction. For a little perspective, our current facility at our Sunwest Campus was appraised at $3.5 million in 2006; the appraisal a few weeks ago came back valuing the current structure at $2.6 million. With the way that property prices have increased over the last decade in Waco, particularly in the Woodway/McGregor area, this was obviously not something that anyone expected.

To put it plainly, this appraisal has made closing with the bank impossible until we get more cash and we are able to put more money down up front. After receiving this news, we have been working through what this means for the project and how to move forward. It’s clear that we still have the ability to make the project happen, but it is going to take a little longer than we expected.

As we look at how our finances have been trending, things are going incredibly well. I am very encouraged by where things stand and how sacrificial so many people have been in their giving. I have attached a detailed breakdown of how the first year of the “Our Turn” campaign is trending so far in a separate sheet for you to review.

While our financial situation is looking incredibly solid right now, we also have some clear challenges that are right in front of us in order to get this project to the construction phase and continue to move forward. The challenge we are facing is that waiting much longer to close with our bank would mean running the risk of increasing the cost of the project and significantly delaying the timeline for construction. Just so I am clear: we don’t necessarily need more money than you pledged; we need as much money as you can feasibly provide as soon as you can possibly provide it.

I know that mass communication on a project of this size and scope can create some fears and doubts that are unnecessary, so I want to close by reminding us of an important story in Scripture that can help frame the task at hand in a helpful way. In Numbers 13-14, Moses sent representatives from each of the 12 tribes of Israel to scope out the Promised Land. When they returned, Joshua and Caleb saw a clear pathway God was making for them to inherit what He had already promised. The problem was that the other spies evoked fear, doubt, and panic from the people of God and made them question God’s promise to them. In Numbers 14:11, God asked Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?” The question wasn’t if the feat was possible. God had already called and equipped them to accomplish the task at hand. The problem was their lack of faith. The reason God was frustrated with them for their lack of faith was because He had already proven Himself to be faithful every step of the way.

We are more than able to accomplish the task God has set before us. Don’t be afraid. Don’t get frustrated or jaded. Don’t dream about going back to a place that we’ve already left and wasn’t where we were supposed to be anyway. I am asking for you to operate out of joy and with an “abundance mentality,” rather than acting out of fear and from a “scarcity mentality.” Press forward, simply do what you can, and be someone with a “whatever it takes” mentality. You won’t regret it.

 

In Christ,

Brady Herbert

 

If you missed the update on Sunday, check out the video below.

2015 Sermon Graphic Recap

Each year, our Lead Pastor, Brady Herbert, does a Sermon Recap where he revisits and reflects on his favorite/least favorite sermons/sermon series from this past year. It’s really cool to look back and see his thoughts on the series/sermons, but personally, it’s also a unique way to process and remember what all God had taught me over the course of the year.

A lot can happen over the course of a year. In 2015 there were a total of 8 different sermon series with 8 stand alone messages as well. Being an artist and therefore a very visual person, I correlate memories and ideas with visuals. For instance, when I see a sermon image from the past year, it brings back all the corresponding “big ideas” I might have taken away from that series. That’s one reason I believe it’s so important to create memorable graphics for each series – these are images that represent God teaching us powerful truths. Many times, when you listen to a song from your past, it can immediately take you back to that point in time and you instantly remember the season of life you were in. I think images can do the same thing. Sometimes after a year has gone by, just trying to remember what a sermon series was about could be extremely difficult, but looking at an image can be really helpful in recalling those lessons God showed us during that time.

That’s one reason I believe it’s so important to create memorable graphics for each series – these are images that represent God teaching us powerful truths.

That being said, I wanted to look back at 2015 and the images I created for the sermon series. This is a helpful practice for me personally, but I hope it can be just as meaningful for you as well. Below, I’ll go into detail about each sermon series image (I am not covering stand alone sermon images). I’ll talk about my favorite, my least favorite, and things in between. Please feel free to comment below with your favorite and least favorite (of course with your reasoning, too). I love hearing how meaningful, or not, an image was for you during this past year and your time with Harris Creek.

So, with that being said. Here is my 2015 Sermon Series Graphic Recap.

If you needed a reminder the 2015 sermon series, here are the 8 images I’m critiquing:

 

Favorite Overall Sermon Series Graphic:

89
Ethos

WHY?

This might be my overall favorite in similar ways to why “The Noonday Demon” was my “most surprising” image last year – the series was incredibly meaningful for me and therefore the image carries a lot of meaning as well. Along with that, aesthetically, this image matches my personal design preference (many images I design for Harris Creek might not be). I can’t take credit for the heart diagram image in the background because I did not draw it, but I added several effects and edits I added to make the final product you see above. The only thing that still bothers me is what’s called the letter “kerning” (aka spacing) between the letter “O” and the letter “S.” I somehow missed that in the original design..but it still is my favorite from this past year!

 

Least Favorite Overall Sermon Series Graphic:

98
Life After Life

 

WHY?

Everyone is saying a collective, “WHAT!?” right now, I know. So many people made comments about this design and how much they loved it. But just based on personal preference, I don’t love it. I love muted colors or neutrals – so you can see why this might not personally speak to me. It obviously fit the series really well – so it was successful as a series image, just not my personal favorite. Once again, to be honest and up-front with what I’m taking credit for, I did not make the butterfly. That is an image I grabbed from an online source. You all can tell me how wrong I am in the comments below.

 

Most Surprising Sermon Series Graphic:

97
#Blessed

WHY?

This image was such an evolution of ideas – I definitely didn’t start out in this direction. Honestly, to begin with, I was quite stumped as to how this series could translate into an image that wasn’t to much of a “stretch” to understand or too abstract. I think that’s why this turned out to be the most surprising in the best way possible. This one of my top favorites as well, and it also might be the most I’ve ever manipulated an image for a series graphic. I had to photoshop quite a bit out of the original water photo, then grab the man from another photo, fixing what’s called a “color cast” on the guy to make him match the water and appear as one cohesive image. This was a technically challenging image to make, although the outcome was pretty simple. I just love the subtle nudge towards the tagline the “upside down nature of the gospel” and therefore flipping the water on it’s head. It makes the image kind of “trippy” and unexpected. So I think there’s a lot of symbolism there. The color theme on this is also one of my favorites – muted, but not all neutrals. The steel blue hits just right to me. Definitely an unexpected outcome for this series image!

 

Most Disappointing Sermon Series Graphic:

90
The Great I Am

WHY?

Easter/Lent sermon series images are always so hard to nail down because you know you’ll be stuck with that image for a long period of time. As I start to design images that will be used for an extended period of time, this paralysis tends to seeps in during the design process. Therefore, it’s daunting to land an image for seasons like this. This series, that talked about the many different attributes of the “Great I Am,” also made it difficult to nail down a singular image since it covered such a wide variety of topics (thanks Brady). Since we changed the weekly sermon series images depending on the attribute we focused on that week, it also made this a dauntingly huge sermon series image set to make. On top of the usual images I make for every sermon series (title slides, content slides, posters, Instagram, etc.) I had to do all of those for EACH sermon instead of one for the entire series. That could also contribute to the negative feeling I have towards this image – justified right? Right. There were tons of opportunities with each name of God to get really crazy creative with it. I could have taken this a few steps farther and I would have been happier with it. The final outcome just wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.

 

That’s all I have! To be clear, these are just all MY opinions. Not anyone else’s. Just mine. I definitely want to hear from you too! Leave a comment with your ranking and thoughts on any of the graphics from 2015. Comment below!

 

 

Living Water Well Update: Uganda

This past year, our congregation generously gave to Living Water International to bring clean drinking water and the message of Jesus Christ to those around the world. We recently received an update upon the completion of a well project that we funded in Uganda. The well was constructed at a place called Kikoni Standard College that has 1,200 students and 80 staff members.

John, our contact with Living 86A08793-0B4B-4CC5-B7D2-6BC53FE9BAC9Water International, says Kimono Standard College “initially depended on a shallow well for their immediate water need. This posed extreme management, health and sanitation challenges. The students, particularly the weaker … girls and some boys had to walk long distances to unsecured unprotected water sources-the hand dug well searching for water. Physical fatigue, stress amongst the school population, and learning time lost (i.e. Time Poverty), affected school performance and enrolment children spend long hours hunting for water. Also, the girls were endangered by the unfriendly school environment characterized by inadequate sanitary facilities.”

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In response to receiving this new clean water station, one of the 16 year-old girls sent her personal thank you:
“I thank you for this water. The school administration told us it will be developed into a production well serving whole school. We shall no longer walk long distances hunting for water from hand dug well or spend long time queuing for water. Thank you!”

Why Is It My Turn?

I walked into Harris Creek a few months over 6 years ago – a bright eyed, 18 year old, freshman at Baylor who visited for the first time with her roommates because they were offering free lunch (and what college student doesn’t love a free lunch ammiright?). There was only one service being offered at the time and probably about 300 people attending that morning – Harris Creek was a very different place than it is now. But after attending that morning, I never went anywhere else. I fell in love with the heart of the people and mission of Harris Creek – something that didn’t change with a church that exploded in growth in the following year.

Continue reading “Why Is It My Turn?”

2014 Sermon Graphic Recap

Each year, our Lead Pastor, Brady Herbert, does a Sermon Recap where he revisits and reflects on his favorite/least favorite sermons/sermon series from that past year. I love reading his thoughts on each series he liked or maybe didn’t like — it also brings out a little nostalgia in me from the past year.

A lot can happen over the course of a year. In 2014 there were 52 different sermons preached at Harris Creek which includes 8 different sermon series with quite a few stand alone messages peppered in there as well. I’m a really visual person so a way I can remember what I learned from sermons in 2014, is to remember the graphic that I made to go along with a particular series. Many times, that will spark in my mind what I learned by seeing that image I associated with it.

That being said, I wanted to look back at 2014 and all the images I created for the sermon series to remember what I learned during those seasons, but also to tell you which ones I liked the best and which ones maybe not so much. I also want to hear what you think! I love getting feedback for my work good or bad. And yes I’m totally opening things up for you to share what you think — just keep things civil please — let’s not get carried away here. I hope this also shows how much effort and thought goes behind each and every graphic we make to further the sermon series.

So, with that being said. Here is my 2014 Sermon Series Graphic Recap. 

In case you forgot, here are all the sermon series graphics from 2014. For many, if not all, of the “stand alone sermons” I use predominantly premade graphics (for time sake), so for recap purposes I am going to stick to the complete series graphics all of which (besides the “Essentials” series) I personally made from scratch. I feel I can speak most into those. If you want to see a complete archive of all our sermon graphics, feel free to go on our website to our sermon page to reference every single graphic we’ve used for the past few years.

 

 

Favorite Overall Sermon Series Graphic:

The New Exodus
The New Exodus

Why: As simple as it might seem, this graphic is loaded with meaning. From the red “blood-esque” brush strokes being wiped away, to the beautiful scenery peaking through — It was one of those moments where what I was thinking in my head translated well to the computer and then to this title graphic. The contrast in terms of legibility works well, and I always love designing with realistic photos like this. My one draw back to this would be I wish I would have done “The New” in a different font than the Exodus. But hey, isn’t hindsight 20/20. My take-away from this sermon series was really, if anything, a realization of how expansive the biblical narrative truly is — how stories in the Old Testament are not obsolete and instead show a beautiful picture of what was and is still to come. 

Least Favorite Overall Sermon Series Graphic:

For the Love of Money
For the Love of Money

Why: My “go-to” design style isn’t normally extremely graphic in nature. And no, not “graphic” in the way most all of you are thinking as you read this. Graphic as in, dealing with mostly geometric shapes and vector elements, not pixel based images.  I enjoy dealing mostly with photos and overlaying elements with those (aka pixel based). That being said, I realize we all need some diversity in our lives, so every once in a while I will mix in some “graphic” style series graphics. This one for me just didn’t pan out. It’s a little plain and simple, which isn’t always a bad thing, but this time it is. To end on a positive note, I do like the symbolism of the “strings” tied to the money. Aka money comes with strings attached. 

Most Surprising Sermon Series Graphic:

The Noonday Demon
The Noonday Demon

Why: This graphic started in a completely different direction then slowly evolved into what you see here. We started in the obvious direction of plants, nature, seeds, etc. and just couldn’t land it (pun definitely intended). Finally, in hashing out the sermon series even more with Brady, we began to go a more photo realistic route (surprise…my go to). There were a lot of different images and iterations of this we went through — train tracks, airports, someone sitting on dock looking off in the distance — all of which could’ve been great. I LOVE this one we landed on though, and still even have this image as my computer desktop to remind me of this series. The elements I love: 1. The subtle look over his shoulder the person is giving to his bicycle, 2. The slight touch of red color in the right corner, 3. The crisp clean font 4. The bicycle symbolizing wanting to go, move, or our mobile culture, take your pic. This one surprised me in the end, and I love the outcome. This one might be tied for my most favorite graphic in terms of the symbolism in it. First glance its not impressive, but paired with the sermon series, it’s special.

Most Disappointing Sermon Series Graphic:

The Art of Peacemaking
The Art of Peacemaking

Why: Ironically, I might have spent the most time on this graphic. All the different elements and piecing them all together was a task. The reason it ended up being disappointing to me was that it didn’t translate as well onto huge screens. I should have made the contrast a little more pronounced and therefore some of the elements would have been more visible. They got lost in the sea of black a little more than I wished. That being said, I love the look and feel of it, its very different than other things I’ve done before, but overall a little disappointed with the final look of it.

 

To be clear, these are just all MY opinions. Not anyone else’s. Just mine. I welcome yours too! Take the poll below or leave a comment with your thoughts on any of the graphics. I would also love to hear if you are a visual person who remembers sermons based on the graphics associated with them. Comment below!