Largest Private Aquarium in a Church?!?
Have you ever seen a church aquarium? A REAL LARGE church aquarium?!? On Friday I met with the Pastor of IBOC (Inspiring Body of Christ), which is a vibrant, growing church located south of Dallas. Four years ago, they approached a friend of mine, Greg Barron, to build them a new building. Not just an ordinary building, but one that people would hardly believe. One that’s God-sized.
Barron Group (one of our design-build clients in Texas; and a member of the National Association of Church Design Builders) was awarded the contract. A $40,000,000 3-year contract.
Pastor Rickie Rush took us on a tour of his facility. He was so giddy to show us every part of this amazing building. Recently, IBOC was named as the best design/built structure in Texas by TEXO. So more than the Pastor was excited about this grand worship area.
From the moment you meet Pastor Rush, you know he’s a special man. His contagious, energetic way makes you want to do better for God. I can see why Barron created such an amazing facility for him. He dreams big, has a heart for God, and motivates everyone around him. But if you ask Rickie, he’s quick to say all this is for God.
3 simple essentials of the success of IBOC (church aquarium):
A Purpose (Thread)
When you walk into any entrance, you’re greeted by Aquariums and a large wall beside each aquarium that spells out the purpose of IBOC. We’re called to be “fishers” of men. And the aquariums set the branding thread perfectly. All the fish come from various environments from around the world and now have to co-mingle. They have to go through a “decontamination” process before entering. Then they’re on show. Pastor Rush believes that the church acts as the decontamination zone before we’re “on show” as believers. The fish theme is everywhere in the church (kid’s areas and even a wave pattern in their spacious hall carpets). There’s no way that anyone can attend or visit and not know their purpose or thread. Singleness of purpose is the key to a lively, growing church. That’s why the Be Known for Something church branding team wants YOU to discover your thread.
The Pastor runs this church like he runs his life. And I mean literally runs! He’s a small-in-stature yet a large-in-presence person. He never stops loving. When our small group went on the tour, he took the time to hug each one of us and tell us why we were special. Since I was the designated photographer, he took the time to tell me I was doing a great job. His passion for being Christ-like poured from him. And that emotion transcends to each volunteer. His presence motivates. In fact, (at the time) the whole church is run by only 7 full-time employees and multitudes of volunteers. Motivation always flows from the top down. If the Pastor doesn’t have energy, the church won’t. The Pastor MUST exude the church’s thread for the church branding to work.
A People (Audience)
Rickie is clear that he wants to win the world for Christ. And he’ll start in his targeted community. He loves each person who attends and is committed to influencing them to accept Christ. That targeted audience is talked about and prayed for regularly. The more you target a specific audience, the more you’ll see the results. If you want to get a clear idea of YOUR audience, consider a Be Known for Something focus group or demographic analysis. Pastor Rush talks of specific stories of lives changed in his community. He knows them by name. Start small with a target of who you want to reach (personas) and you’ll grow faster than aiming for a huge territory.
Yes! You too can discover a thread to make you unique, relevant, and needed in your community. We’d love to help. It won’t even require millions of dollars! Details for our Be Known for Something Process (see some of our work)