Spirit & Life Has a New Look
Back in 2010, when Spirit & Life Church was being formed as a new church plant of the United Methodist Church, founding pastor Matt Meisenhelter had made a list of potential names for the church. At the top of his list were “Life Church” and “Spirit Church.” The former was already being used by a mega church with locations across the country and a major online presence. The latter had potential for being misunderstood. So late one night, Matt prayed, “God, what name should we give to this church?” He did a Bible search for “spirit” and “life” and came across John 6:63, where Jesus says, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” He took this as an answer to his prayer and thus our church was given the name “Spirit & Life Church.”
Spirit & Life is more than just a name. In our mission statement, we say that we want “To help people authentically encounter Jesus Christ.” When that happens, lives change. Encountering Jesus is to experience new life. In 2 Corinthians we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” As we enter into Christ, we are promised new life. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom. 6:4)
God also promises to fill us with a new Spirit. “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19). Before he returned to the Father, Jesus promised to send us the Holy Spirit, who would teach us all things. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth… the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:16, 26)
Our vision, our prayer, is that Spirit & Life is a place where people encounter Jesus, and when they do they know new life and are filled with a new Spirit.
Growing in Relationship
Receiving a new spirit and new life is only the beginning. It’s the beginning of a life of discipleship, where followers of Jesus grow in their relationship with God and with one another. We’re encouraged to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) and to work together as a body to increase in our maturity. “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph. 4:16)
Growing in Service
As we experience new life and grow in Christ, we’re called to live lives of discipleship. Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) Again Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 16:16)
We want to have an impact in our community. We want to radiate God’s love to Forest Park High School, to Dumfries, Montclair, Dale City, Woodbridge, and Northern VA. We want to live lives of service to God that will change our community and our world.
Conceiving a New Logo
When we set about to design a new logo, our intent was to capture the essence of what Spirit & Life Church stands for. This included both the elements of the name (spirit, life), and also the concepts behind them (growth, service). To this end, we’ve landed on the new look that includes a tree and water arranged in a circle, with a modern font choice beneath. Let’s look at each element individually.
The water in the logo represents spirit, and specifically the Holy Spirit. In Scripture, we often find water in relation to the Holy Spirit. In Genesis we read that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Gen. 1:2) Water is significant in baptism, and closely correlated to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” (Acts 10:47)
In Revelation we see a picture of the River of Life, a vision of what life will be like when God establishes the new heavens and the new earth. “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1) Here the life-giving properties of the Spirit of God are signified through the water that nourishes life in the new world. This is the picture we’re aiming to communicate through the water in the logo.
It’s also significant to point out that the water is active, moving. It’s not stagnant. It’s flowing, waving, indicating its life-giving powers.
The tree in the logo represents life. It signifies both the new life we receive as we trust in God, as well as the fruit that we bear as we abide in Christ. “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4)
Note that the tree has many leaves, showing that it is growing and bearing fruit, and forever reaching up and outward. Moreover, the leaves are all connected, to the trunk and to one another. This is symbolic of our unity as one body of believers, a church that is living in unity. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Cor. 12:13)
The tree and water are arranged in a circular shape for two reasons. First, the circle has historically been used to signify God. It suggests the everlasting and eternal nature of God (a circle has no end and no beginning), as well as the fact that God is perfect and holy.
Second, the circle is not confined and so represents outward movement. Just as water ripples outward in a circular pattern, so we seek to be a church that impacts our community and world.
The font used in the logo is called Campton. This font was chosen primarily because it is clean and modern. As a church, we seek to be relevant to contemporary society, to meet people where they are at, and this font choice is an expression of that desire.
Green and blue are obvious choices for the tree and water, symbolizing life and vitality. Bright and modern hues are used to further convey a sense of vibrancy. These colors attract attention (great for our signage!) while expressing a welcoming and inviting attitude.
También en Español! (Also in Spanish)
Spirit & Life has two services, one in English and a second in both English and Spanish. Not only do we host a bilingual service, we’re a bilingual church. To that end, we’ve designed a version of the logo in Spanish, in an effort to better communicate our desire to be a church that reaches out to all people, irrespective of language or ethnicity.
Our vision as a church is “To be a living sign of God’s presence in our community.” We’ve designed our new logo as en expression of that desire—to be a place where people encounter Jesus and experience new life, where they grow in faith and in relationship with others, bearing the fruit of the spirit, and where our faith is expressed in lives of service. We pray that our new look faithfully expresses this desire and serves to help motivate our church body to live out our vision, and to invite our community to come and experience first-hand the life-giving power of the Spirit of God.