Website Design & Development – Grace Churches International

The Grace Churches International (GCI) website design project was a ground-up full scale endeavor that began with assessing the GCI brand identity, surveying website administrators and visitors, and creating a solution that would meet the users’ needs and the goals of GCI. Wow that was a mouthful. It sounds really boring too—but it wasn’t! It was actually quite a fun ride.

GCI is the family of churches to which my own home church belongs. Even that term “family of churches” is an intentional descriptor that we created to differentiate GCI from denominations. GCI is a group of churches, U.S. military chaplains and affiliated ministries that just like hanging out together. We encourage each other, help each other through difficult times, and try to be family for each other. My job was to take the very corporate-looking website we created in 2008 and rebuild a new site that matched the new brand identity for GCI. A lot can change in 3 years, and that was certainly the case with GCI. The 2008 site was commissioned to be professional, corporate, lofty, complex and business-like. Since then, the idea of “family” has grown to be the predominant direction of GCI, and the 2008 design brief became tremendously outdated.

I began by interviewing and consulting the GCI decision-makers on what makes GCI unique. What are the values and goals of GCI — what separates them from other church networks? What is the corporate culture of GCI? What do they want the experience of member churches to be? These questions and others were what I used to ascertain what the message of the new brand was to be.  They didn’t want to change their logo, but instead wanted to a new website that would represent who they are.

I followed up the consulting with a survey, sent out to a representation of people who use the GCI website — member churches’ leaders and staff, GCI admin staff who would use the backend, and normal people who would go to the site to see what’s new in the GCI network. I combined the results of that survey with the goals of the GCI leadership and began to craft a design that would “say” all of that.

The site is built on WordPress for easy management, and I have created training videos to enable the GCI office staff to maintain the site. I also provided internet consulting services to the staff.

Click to visit the GCI website.

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