Surrounded by snow-capped mountain scenery begging to be Instagrammed at every turn, a team of creative missionaries from 17 different states and England spent the week pouring into ministries in Alaska, a state where license plates say “The Last Frontier” and snow is measured by the foot.
“Alaska is a beautiful place. But the real beauty is the people,” said Creative Missions founder Cleve Persinger at the beginning of the week when the Anchorage region was hit with a late spring snow even for Alaska standards. “That’s why we’re here, to help introduce the people to the creator of all this natural beauty.”
Cleve and a crack team of 29 communications professionals hailing from places like Hagerstown, Md., Hollywood, Fla., and Portsmouth, England, did just that working alongside pastors and church leaders in and around Anchorage for the week.
Pastors like Jay Dagenhart, who moved to Wasilla last fall from Virginia to plant OnMission Church: “As a church planter out here, sometimes I feel like an island,” said Jay. “Spending time with (the creative missionaries), I feel vindicated.”
The team that worked with OnMission developed a new website, shot and edited a promo video, designed an invite card, took photos, and worked with church leaders on worship and service programming.
This astonishing amount of output for a team of five led by Kelvin Co, creative arts pastor at The Oaks Fellowship, was replicated in four other teams who collectively completed:
- 14 branding projects (logos, letterhead, business cards, etc.)
- 5 style guides (helping churches know how to be consistent in their messaging)
- 10 website designs or redesigns
- 13 tech, worship & programming projects
- 3 invitation or rave cards
- 9 signs (including indoor & outdoor)
- 8 social media strategy & execution sessions
- 6 welcome or promo videos
- 5 photo shoots (family sessions or church photo sessions)
- 5 general communication audits
- 3 podcast setups
Adam Legg, creative arts and communications pastor at ChangePoint Church in Anchorage, had a unique perspective on the trip as the only non-cheechako (slang for newcomer to Alaska). ChangePoint Church served as an evening base of operations for the team through the week.
“It’s been surreal,” Legg said of the experience. “It’s helped me realize even though doing ministry in Alaska can be lonely there is this huge family of church creatives that may not be in Alaska but they are just a phone call or email away.”
In addition to hands-on projects, creatives led workshops for ministry leaders, missionaries and nonprofit leaders in Kenai and at ChangePoint Church at the end of the week. The workshops, like all of the work, came at no charge.
“Yesterday’s generation was reached through crusades, Bibles and guitars. Today’s generation will be reached through social media, YouTube and interactive experiences,” said Leigh Sloan, co-pastor of Resonate Church in Anchorage. “Creative Missions equips ministers to turn an ageless message into a present reality.”
Perhaps the coolest thing about this trip, as with previous Creative Missions trips to Albany, N.Y., and Northwest Arkansas, is the soul care that happened. Burdens were lifted. Spirits restored. Sustainable solutions have been created to help churches more effectively share the good news and make a difference in Alaska. The status quo has been challenged.
- Follow along with Creative Missions for the full social media experience.
- While this year’s trip is now over, there are still bills to pay. Make a donation to support Creative Missions.
- Last week we released Dangerous: A Go-to Guide for Church Communication. It’s an ebook written by Creative Missions participants that captures many of the lessons and insights they share during the trip. A portion of the proceeds support Creative Missions. Learn more about the project and buy a copy.