Category Archives: News

Launching Your Next Church: A Recap of Aspen’s 2017 Alignment Conference

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What do we do when we run out of space? How do we answer God’s call to plant another church or campus site? Where will we find the resources we need to launch a new church? How do we train leaders and raise funds? How do we engage Millennials? Is it even the right time to start thinking about planting a new church?

As a church leader, you may find yourself asking these same questions. Weren’t able to make it to Aspen’s 2017 Alignment Conference? Here’s a quick recap of the main stage keynote talks.
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How to Think Strategically (and Spiritually) About Church Expansion: An Aspen Podcast with Thrive Christian Church

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Whether you’re considering the launch of your first multisite campus, thinking about planting your tenth church, or exploring the relocation of your existing church space, you must think strategically about that expansion process.

The two guests on this fifth and final episode of the Alignment Conference Podcast know that reality all too well.

For nearly three years, Bob Gray, project developer at Aspen Group, and Graham Richards, senior pastor at Thrive Christian Church, worked alongside each other exploring new growth opportunities within the church. And this past summer, all that work came to fruition with the opening of Thrive’s new site in Westfield, Indiana.

In this episode, Bob and Graham reflect back on that process, discussing the questions they worked through, including:  How do you know when it’s time to make a change, and, what kind of change should be made?

On October 17, Thrive Christian Church will host the 2017 Alignment Conference, giving church leaders a chance to see firsthand the impact that a new, strategically-designed space can have for a church. Listen to this podcast, and you’ll be well prepared for this year’s event.

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Why You Need a Church Communications Team

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How can your church—especially if you have multiple locations or plants—grow and develop in the critical ministry area of communications? How can you reach multiple generations of people? How can you connect with new people? How can you help people take next steps to learn more about your church, get involved, and grow in their faith?

It takes a dedicated communications leader and a team (of staff and/or volunteers and other support) to intentionally and strategically organize the various communications messages that your church has to share with your congregation and community.

Having a key, strategic communications leader with a team and support is imperative, especially if your church is growing and/or going multisite.

Key Priorities for Communications

Although churches vary their models as they grow, we find there are key areas and priorities when it comes to communications. Your communications leader and supporting team will help your church’s leadership plan around issues including:

  • Site naming
  • Branding/the visual identity of your church
  • Key and priority messaging (and knowing how to handle other messaging)
  • Worship services (all communications surrounding and during your services)
  • The guest experience and next steps for guests
  • The church member/regular attender experience and next steps for regular attenders
  • Website/social media
  • Internal communications (especially within the various ministries like Children, Students, etc.)
  • And so much more!

Solidify Your Communications Ministry Team

One of the best ways to plan for additional growth or momentum with your communications efforts is to ask yourself (and your communications leader) who you need to add to the communications team.

Every team will look different and might include paid staff, volunteers, freelancers/contractors, and interns. Depending on your immediate needs, this team may be made up of individuals who can assist with:

  • Big picture planning and strategy
  • Content development/writing
  • Graphic design
  • Website/social media work
  • Video and photography
  • Project management

The end goal? To have your church’s communications leader and team help create, organize, plan and implement effective communications messages for your congregation and community. Investing in your communications leader and his or her team will be an integral part in helping your church reach as many people as possible for God’s glory!


Leah Norton serves as Director of Client Strategy & Partner at Fishhook – an Indianapolis-based communications agency that collaborates with churches. Leah will be presenting at Aspen’s 2017 Alignment Conference. Register today!

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How to Respond to Your Church Planting Call: An Aspen Podcast Featuring Patrick O’Connell

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The tug. The calling. The spiritual tap on the shoulder. However you describe it, you’re certain that God has laid it on your heart to plant a church. But you’re less certain on what to do next.

Where would you plant it? How do you gather a team? Do you have staff ready to launch these new churches? And if so, how will they actually do it? Who’s going to pay for it? What kind of budget is even needed?

Or maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you’re an experienced church planter who now leads multiple campuses. How do you not only hold it all together but also maintain energy as you try to keep your organization moving forward?

In episode 4 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Patrick O’Connell, director of NewThing Network, answers several key questions about church planting and expansion strategies. Whether you’re brand new to church planting or a seasoned veteran, Patrick shares a wealth of information for church planters and leaders who are eager to answer God’s call to plant a church.

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3 Key Reasons Why Churches Launch New Sites

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When Aspen Group partnered with Barna Group on the More Than Multisite research project, our teams went into this study thinking that leaders in growing churches want to know how to plant or “go multisite” and to learn best practices in terms of branding, facilities, organizational structures, and so on.

In the past, space constraints would have been the main driver for churches looking to launch new sites. According to our findings, facility constraints or accommodating growth barely register as primary reasons. Even among the secondary reasons for adopting their particular model, these drivers are mentioned by only one-quarter or less of any group. Read More