Communicating DNA

In an editorial interview that appeared in Worship Facilities Magazine, CDH president Bill Chegwidden explains how branding your church facility enhances your vision for the future and potential for success.

“Every building tells a story,” says Bill Chegwidden, president of CDH Partners Inc., an architectural planning firm based in Marietta, Ga. “Our most successful buildings tell the story of the church inside the building.”

To make his point, Chegwidden describes a recent project, The Gathering in Sevierville, Tenn. “The pastor started the church several years ago with the vision that it would be a place for gathering all God’s children. In effect, the whole building is a sign that shares that message and vision.”

The church’s entrance is an open and inviting area with a terrace. A large picture window lets people outside see the fireplace in the lobby, while people within the church have a view of the mountains. A large “G” sign—cleverly representing both the “Gathering” and “God”—brands the church. “The building becomes a billboard,” Chegwidden says.

Together Forever: Vision, Brand and Signage

Mark MacDonald, creative director of Pinpoint Creative Group in Winston-Salem, N.C., a full-service branding, design and social media firm that specializes in working with churches, describes a church’s brand as, “The main benefit people derive from attending your church.”

As is the case with The Gathering, the architecture of a building and the signage outside and within the building—from static wayfinding signs to digital signage that promotes events—should all point to the church’s brand.

Whether it’s intentional or not, every aspect of your church advertises your church. “If a church is not actively advertising, not keeping all these things in mind, that’s still an advertisement,” Chegwidden says.
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