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New logo reflects discipleship agency?s new vision

Feb. 8, 2007 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

Bishop Michael Coyner

The United Methodist agency responsible for equipping churches and their people to make disciples for Jesus Christ has a new logo and a new focus.

“Equipping World-Changing Disciples” is the tag line on the new brand and theme of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, which launched the image Jan. 24. The logo is designed to reflect the agency’s new vision and to promote a consistent image.

The agency also has streamlined its name, replacing “The General Board of Discipleship” with the acronym “GBOD” and adding the tagline to create a distinct and compelling personality.

“Most of those we serve already call us GBOD, so using the acronym is familiar to them,” said Indiana Area Bishop Michael Coyner, president of the agency’s board of directors. “Customer research told us that those who don’t yet know our work were confused by the old name; many thought it was the name of a committee. We’re excited because this new look reflects our strategic direction.”

The agency provides resources and services to help congregations, church leaders and other Christians make new disciples and to help those disciples grow in their understanding of God and respond in faith and love. Among its resources are books, classes, workshops, retreats, consultation and The Upper Room daily devotional guide.

The new tagline is designed to reflect the agency’s focus.

“Equipping world-changing disciples embodies who we are and what we do,” said the Rev. Steve Horswill-Johnston, director of communications and brand strategy. “In our collective work, we equip leaders and church members to be world-changers. The power of our brand is enhanced by this theme line.”

The new brand replaces the agency’s former logo used since the 1980s, which consisted of the name “General Board of Discipleship” with the Ithicus fish symbol centered underneath.

The Rev. Steve Horswill-Johnston

“The old logo served us well for over 20 years, but the fish was too similar to other marks to allow it to be properly registered and protected,” Horswill-Johnston said. “Updating the look helped us reflect our new direction and better connect with those we serve.”

While GBOD becomes the new name for its audience, “The General Board of Discipleship” remains the name used in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s book of law.

“I’m excited that over the years to come, the new identity will feel like ‘home’ and we’ll enjoy the new energy it brings to our work. It will help the church see our work as a collective whole,” Horswill-Johnston said.

The new slogan of “Equipping World-Changing Disciples” also drives home the United Methodist agency’s efforts to become more customer-focused.

“For 35 years, GBOD has continually worked to discover fresh approaches to equip disciples in today’s world. Until now, we have largely focused on our products,” said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive for GBOD. “Our focus is changing to building and strengthening relationships, which increase the quality of the resources we offer and create innovative partnerships for making world-changing disciples.”

Agency executives say the new logo is especially important as GBOD prepares this year to launch several new strategic initiatives, including a Discipleship University and an emphasis on launching new churches.

*This article was adapted from a news release by Jeanette Pinkston, director of media relations, United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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