In August 2017, Faithlab crosses the seven year mark. Across the past seven years we have enjoyed working with a wide range of churches and religious organizations. We often reflect on the fact that we work with some incredibly nice and awesome clients. It is exciting to support the work of wonderful congregations and meaningful organizations.
The idea for Faithlab emerged as we realized that there were few creative firms focused squarely on the communications needs of congregations and religious non-profits. We were convinced that such work was more than a technical task (although technical skills are involved), and more about understanding the unique needs and culture of congregations and non-profits. Faithlab sees its work as helping these groups "tell their story" — since for many that story was hidden or little known.
Across these seven years we have discovered that the energy we put into getting to know our clients and their organizations and churches really matters. It means we can do a better job supporting their work, and create things that genuine and effective. It also means we have gained a lot of new and wonderful friends. Most of the churches and organizations that we have worked with continue to connect with Faithlab — in fact some are already on their second or third project with us!
We have also sought to be an incubator for new ideas, innovative projects, and, in particular, to support and encourage young persons as they create new projects and resources.
A Growing Team
At Faithlab's beginning the lone full-time staff was David Cassady, with Jean Trotter and Carol Brown playing part-time roles, primarily working with preschool and children's missions education resources that Faithlab helps produce with CBF. For two years, we enjoyed having co-owner Jim Dant full-time as a conference and retreat leader, consultant, and author. Jim became the pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and continues to be a supportive advisor in Faithlab's work.
Over time we added additional freelancers — persons who helped with logo design, writing and editing. Today, Faithlab has three full-time employees, two part-time employees, and nearly twenty freelance copy-editors, designers, coders, writers and podcasts personalities on our team.
So if you enlist Faithlab to work on your project, you will likely work with several of these persons: David Cassady, Jean Trotter, Megan Carpenter, and Stephanie Wohl. We are proud of their creativity and commitment to helping faith-based organizations grow and thrive.
Growing List of Client Churches and Organizations
FaithLab's first client was Baptists Today, and we continue to work closely with them even as they have grown and become know as Nurturing Faith Journal. We also enjoy working with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the New Baptist Covenant, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, and the CBF organizations in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. We work closely with CBF National, editing and aiding in the production of the Spark and Form resources, the Dawnings initiative, and New Church Starts.
Faithlab began with a strong presence in moderate Baptist life, working with congregations large and small to provide helpful communications services. We have worked with new church starts, such as Christ Church in Cairo, Georgia, as well as larger churches like the First Baptist Churches of Augusta, Georgia; Greenville, South Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Washington, D.C..
In the last few years Faithlab has also become known in Methodist and Disciples of Christ churches. From Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida, to Concord Christian Church in Concord, California, and National City Christian Church in Washington, DC (new site to launch in 2017) and others, we enjoy working with these diverse congregations.
We have also developed a growing collaboration with groups in the wider religious sphere, including several interfaith organizations. Religions for Peace USA, the Interfaith Observer (an online journal), the Shinto Foundation and the Faith and Culture Center (Our Muslim Neighbor project) have all been supported through the work of the Faithlab team.
Did you know Faithlab produces a full-featured Bible study curriculum for youth and adults? Faithelement is an innovative curriculum resource delivered entirely online, including a podcast, weekly video, and multiple approaches for teaching. Produced by a team of thirteen persons, these resources include fresh content each week. David Adams is the lead editor for the series, while Nikki Hardeman is the on screen Bible Background leader.
We also publish a wide range of youth resources at Youth Ministry Conversations, edited by Andrew Noe. These resources include Bible studies, retreats, games, 3D Devotional Boxes (watch the video to see how they work!) and more. All are available online for download and are written by ministers active in youth ministry in local congregations.
In 2016 Faithlab helped launch a second podcast (beyond our weekly Faithelement podcast). The new podcast was named "Glass Half Full" and is co-hosted by Nikki Hardeman and Erin Robinson Hall. Together, they discuss those parts of life that can fill (or sometimes empty) our cup. Check out their podcast at whatfillsyourcup.com or on iTunes.
Growing in Partnerships
Several years ago, Johnny Pierce of Baptists Today and David Cassady sat in Macon’s Panera Bread and envisioned adding a Bible study curriculum component to the journal. Some months later, a new curriculum was born, named Nurturing Faith. A year or so later, the same team, adding Lex Horton, began publishing books under the Nurturing Faith imprint. Today over forty books have been published, with Faithlab playing a role in the editing and production of many of the titles. More books are in the pipeline for 2017. Check them out at Nurturingfaith.net (a brand-new website just launched in 2017, developed by Faithlab).
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship sees Faithlab as a partner around support for their churches and with a variety of projects. Faithlab has worked with the New Baptist Covenant since its inception, and continues to be a partner around communications projects to this day.
Without the passion and energy of churches and religious organizations Faithlab would not exist. The trust so many of these groups have placed in our work is humbling and exciting to us. We look forward to the next 7 years!