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A New Logo [5/21/18]

A few reflections on a new church logo.

The idea of a logo is ubiquitous in our culture. Everyone knows what a logo is. It’s a swoosh. It’s the shape of a soda bottle. Its a couple of golden arches. We are consumers and when we think logo we think brand identity. We think brand loyalty. We think celebrity endorsement. We are a symbolic society and ever more so with the advent of the internet. These days it is more important that people recognize your logo than it is that they know what you do or what you sell.

I am sometimes tempted to be cynical and skeptical about branding. I do not want to spend endless hours on how to sell and how to advertise. The church is not a business in that sense and I am leery of treating people who need God’s grace as consumers and customers rather than the weary and heavy laden who come needing rest. We come as lost sheep in need of a good, good shepherd not a good good production.

Maybe it’s my cynicism that blinded me to the fact that the word “logo” should be very familiar to seminarian like me. The word logo is actually an abbreviation of the word logotype, which comes from the Greek words: λόγος (logos) "word" and τύπος (typos) "imprint." It means the imprint of a word, or these days the imprint or image that immediately reminds us of a word (or brand) that we love. Greek is the language of the New Testament and Λόγος is the same word that the Scriptures use to identify Jesus. John 1 says that he is the logos of God, God’s word in the flesh. Hebrews 1 says “he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

I’m grateful that God made himself recognizable in the person of Jesus and hopeful that a simple and beautiful logo can capture the heart and passion of a place called Grace.

I’m excited about this new logo because I think it captures several important parts of our identity at Grace Sacramento. I hope it is an imprint of who we are.

First, I believe that this simple skyline tells the story of our primary mission to call the people and the city of Sacramento “Toward God.” The historic looking church reminds me that it is not something new and improved or super glitzy that we are doing. We are living out the historic gospel of Jesus in the midst of a watching world.

Second, it is new. We felt strongly over the past year during the merging of two churches that a new name and a new logo needed to symbolize and personify the coming together of two groups into one new church because of the gospel. A symbol of that reconciliation should be something brand new, not the same as either of the parts, and yet be a reminder of the best of both of those histories.

Third, it fulfills the definition of a logo. I believe that it has the potential to become recognizable without words or explanation. It should remind people of us when they see it. But a symbol does not make us who we are. What we are will define what people think of when they see the symbol. The task, as I see it, is to become a gospel loving, people serving, grace-centered place that enfolds individuals and families into a relationship with God through communion with us!

Finally, I think its fun! There is a line in a video we made several years ago that said, “We take God’s word seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” Over the years I have loved that Grace is a place where it is Ok to fumble your lines, trip on your shoe laces and just laugh at yourself when necessary. There is a “whimsical” quality about this logo that I love. I hope that we can communicate truth to a world in an unexpectedly whimsical way. I hope that this symbol reminds people of a place that is often full of laughter and always full of hope.

Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature….wow! What kind of impression would we make if we were a more approximate imprint of the one we follow...I like the logo.