Young Catholics in America are leaving their faith in staggering proportions. Philadelphia has over 1.1 million Catholics registered within its Archdiocese; 280,000 of which are youth and young adults. In order to effectively reach these young souls, the Office of Youth and Young Adults decided that the best way to be successful is to invest in the Office’s ministry and communication strategy. It is clear that something needed to change; the ministry needed to present a life of faith in a completely fresh way.
With hearts set on leading youth towards a transformative relationship with Jesus, the Office partnered with Glass Canvas to create a strategy that will not only captivate the hearts of young people, but also empower them to go forth as leaders of this generation. Over the course of several months, Youth Ministers, Creative Directors, Designers and Programmers sat side by side to plan and execute a strategy that marries spirituality and creativity in order to fully penetrate today’s culture.
A week-long strategy session at our Fort Langley office forged a long-term relationship between our teams to operate collectively with our eyes on a unified set of goals. We have since partnered on various initiatives, continuing to propel the ministry forward.
Leading and transforming young people take more than just regularly-scheduled activities in the church basement; in order to truly inspire youth, the Office needed a game plan, something that saves time, effort and finances from going in the wrong direction. The Sprint provided a fertile environment where dreams and goals were able to take root and grow. Together we were able to articulate Why the Office exists, How they want to operate as a ministry, and What they need to do in order to reach their goals.
Together, we created a Communication Strategy that succinctly summarizes who the Office is as a ministry and the heart behind why it exists. We came up with “Why Statements”, Core and Operating Values, with internal and external audiences in mind. We devised strategies and communication tools using easily-transferable language that the team can use to reach the rest of the world, from teens to donors and everyone in between.
In order for the Office to become “all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22) the ministry needed a fresh name, a name that would capture the essence of the Office and appeal to a culture that has become increasingly immune to the voice of the Church. With a clear understanding of the ministry’s core values, we went through a naming process developed by Lexicon and Google Ventures in order to bring to light a new name fit for the ministry. After much prayer and discernment, the Office’s new name came to surface: Anthem.
Anthem is inclusive, bringing all people together without exclusion. Although the word anthem comes from Christianity, it has become universal and attractive to people both inside and outside the Church. This hidden homage to being rooted in the Church is intentional. Anthem is also simple and memorable with the ability to cross language and barriers.
With clearly articulated Operating Values in our back pockets, we developed Anthem’s tone, language, and visual identity to reflect the spirit of the ministry.
To capture the essence of the conversations and plans that we have made together, we invested in the creation of the Anthem Playbook: a physical document that summarizes the dreams shared, the decisions made, and the details regarding execution.
Young people today can hardly imagine what life without the Internet was like. Knowing that much of our audience is comprised of “cyber-seekers”, a.k.a. people who would first get to know Anthem by investigating the website, we knew that it was of utmost importance to invest heavily into our web presence. Much like a “front door” to ministry, we created the website to reflect Anthem’s personality. From images, to font styles, to language, we ensured that Anthem came across as fresh, friendly, and welcoming to all those who come by.
Content plays a tremendous role in keeping a person engaged on a website, so we collaborated to create a content strategy that ultimately reflects the heart of the ministry. Articles are raw and relatable, written with the heartfelt intention to draw people into a sense of belonging to a community where they will be welcomed as they are.
We came to the conclusion that we needed to plan a variety of events that would speak to youth and young people at different points in their spiritual journeys. We knew one thing to be sure: Anthem needed to commit to providing high quality, well-produced live events as an avenue for youth ministers to invite teens into the heart of Jesus and faith community.
We also understood that promotion and marketing play a key role in inviting young people, so with risky authenticity we created stunning visuals, from eye-catching GIFs to printed materials. Unabashedly Catholic yet cool and youthfully exuberant, we created promotional material that can make young people curious how a church event seem so… fun.
Young people crave goodness, seek truth, and are captivated by beauty. This gives us a very real opportunity to reach out to them in a relevant and meaningful way. These initiatives allow us to continue to find ways to make an impact on the lives of young people in Philadelphia and beyond.