I need to explain myself…
I am the “Creative Arts Pastor”, and I am (kind of) “in charge” of the marketing and community presence of Greenbrier Nazarene. And I come before you today to admit that I might have made a mistake… Okay, I did make a mistake.
Over a year ago, as we were going through a rebrand (with the awesome GN logo that you are starting to see more and more), we were missing one key ingredient… As a staff, over the last year or so we have been asking ourselves the question: “Who are we?”
Who are the people that make up Greenbrier Nazarene, and what makes us unique? What are we uniquely, naturally equipped with that we can use to better our community?
One day last year, in a staff meeting in late July, Pastor Steve looked at me and said, “We need a motto! Find us a saying that we can put below our logo!” Honestly, he was completely joking. This was something that we had talked about before, but never taken too seriously. I fact, I was so sure that he was joking that I didn’t give it a second thought.
But as July came to an end, I started to begin work on the podcast series that we released last fall called “Saints of the Church”. August rolled around, and my interviews began with the six people that made up this incredible podcast series telling the history and stories behind our 114-year-old congregation. (If you haven’t listened to it yet, you can still find it on our website, app, or through our podcast on iTunes.) To get that 30-45 minutes of podcast for an episode, our conversations were sometimes 2, 3, or even 4 times longer than that. I’ll never forget finishing up recording the first episode with Mary Ann and Pat, looking down to find that I had almost two hours of recorded audio with them and thinking, “What am I going to do with all of this!?” There was so much that I had to leave out. It was so difficult to try and sift through and find the “best” stuff for each episode, because the entirety of my time together with each of these six people was incredible.
I consider that podcast to be the biggest blessing that I have received during my time so far serving in ministry at GN. Through recording those four episodes, I was able to learn so much about the heritage and ministry of GN over the history of our congregation. I was able to learn who we are.
During those conversations, there was one word that kept coming up over and over again when they would describe our church. It was so frequent that it was impossible to ignore as I poured over the audio and spent time editing the episodes. It was a short, simple word: Family.
Larry Johnson would say during our conversation, “You know… [the church] just always felt like family.”
Brother Jim Sanders would say, “The congregation really treated me like I was family…”
And when I asked Ms. Martha what makes our church special, she said “People are just kind, friendly… It’s like family.”
By the time I had finished the last interview and created all of the podcast episodes, the word “family” was ringing in my ears. It’s who we’ve been, it’s who we are, and it’s who we will be.
The answer to the question: “Who are we?” is simply: “We are your family.”
Greenbrier Nazarene is this amazing, unique place where anyone can walk in the doors and within a matter of minutes they can feel like they have finally made it home, surrounded by people that love them. When you take a seat beside someone, or start a conversation in the lobby, or join a small group, the people around you become more than just acquaintances. They become your brothers and sisters who will celebrate with you when things are going well and mourn and walk with you through the times that are bad. There are people of all ages, of all backgrounds, who have come as one cohesive group with one intended purpose – to do work for the Kingdom of God together.
If you are hurting or ashamed, GN is a place where you can find people who love you for who you are. If you are broken, here you can find a place of transformation. If you are searching for something, here you can find an answer. If you are alone, here you can find adoption.
Adoption not only in to our church family, but salvation also brings adoption into the eternal and holy family of God.
So, when it comes to a “motto”, something that can go underneath our logo, something simple that screams the answer to the question “Who is Greenbrier Nazarene?”… It was easy.
Greenbrier Nazarene – Find Your Family.
And here… Here is where I made my mistake.
Because after a year of going on this emotional journey to find this saying that, I believed, fit our church so well… I implemented it so poorly. Like soooooooo poorly.
I don’t know what I was expecting, honestly. What probably happened is that this vision of who our church is and can be was so clear to me, that I just assumed that it was just as clear to everyone else. So, I totally glossed over the most important part – actually sharing this idea with anyone. And I mean anyone! I even totally neglected to share it with most of the staff! I had mistaken my excitement as our excitement. I thought that since this motto was as clear to everyone as it was to me, then I could just slap it on our announcement slides and onto a shirt and everyone would love it! They would totally get it!
But really… not very many people did actually get it. It seemed kind of random to almost everyone but me…
So, I’m beginning to remedy this mistake with this blog. Because I want you to know how excited I am for this. I want you to know that this theme of “family” wasn’t random, it was calculated. As I look at who our church is, as I look at who we were and who we are becoming, I see a group of people who love others. I see a group of people who has a heart for their community. I see a place where “it’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way.” I see a family, who is looking to find others to join them.
With Easter coming up in a month, I think that it is the perfect time for us to show the community that we are a place where they can find their family. Each year we try to have shirts for the people from our congregation that show up to our Easter Egg Hunt on Good Friday. And as I was thinking about the design of the shirts, I realized that they are an opportunity to show almost two thousand people exactly who we are. So, I decided on something incredibly simple:
Greenbrier Nazarene… Family.
As we approach this opportunity to make an impact on our community, lets show them who we are, and who we can be for them.
Hunter Thrasher, Creative Arts Pastor
You can actually now order our shirts ONLINE! These will only be available to buy until March 13th so that we can have them in before the egg hunt, so grab one right now!
Here is the link for the ADULT SIZES ($13.50): HERE
Here is the link for the YOUTH SIZES ($12.50): HERE
Pick “Group Pass Out” at checkout to make sure that they are sent to the church for the cheapest option. We have to have a minimum of 50 shirts sold, so make sure to grab yours today!