Historic Vancouver Island Church Gets a Face-Lift

Coastline Church in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is a century-old church with a history on Vancouver Island dating back to 1923. As a downtown fixture, Coastline’s focus has always been on its people first. When the time came to consider updates to the church’s facilities and brand, its leadership team led the way by gradually easing members into the idea of change.

Over a period of eight years, Lead Pastor Andy Moore has been slowly and methodically working with the congregation at Coastline, leading the way toward changes that will help the long-established, multigenerational church connect with a new generation of believers.

“Your facility, your name, those kinds of things—they’re the cup, and the cup is important,” Moore says. “But what’s inside the cup is more important.

“The ministry you’re giving, the people you’re touching, the lives being transformed—those have to stay the goal,” he adds. “It’s not a name or upgraded building that’s going to fix those things. Your heart for Jesus, your love for people will win.”

Moore’s team has focused on nurturing members into this new season, rather than rushing or forcing abrupt changes.

“It takes a lot longer to get people to come along with you than you might expect,” Moore says. “As a leader, my tendency is to move on to the next thing. But [I needed to] slow down that process and realize that the goal is to bring people along with you.”

Telling the Story

Initially named Victory Temple, then later, Glad Tidings Tabernacle, Coastline traces its roots back to the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. That historic event, which lasted from 1906 to 1909, sparked the modern-day Pentecostal movement.

Coastline served as the home base for the British Columbia Bible Institute when it was founded in 1941. The church also has functioned as a leader in church planting since its early years and now plays an active leadership role with ARC Canada, among the many other ministries it facilitates. Alongside ARC, Coastline works to plant independent churches, with a particular focus on Vancouver Island.

In 2017, Coastline’s leadership team began to envision changes to their facilities that would encompass its future vision for its surrounding community. The church first engaged my team at PlainJoe: A Storyland Studio to help them master plan and design much-needed changes that were largely people-centric and that would allow for greater fellowship within the building, as well as greater access from outside.

“We had a vibrant, life-giving church community that gathered inside the walls on Sundays, but our building was definitely not telling that story,” says Oliver Stenberg, creative director at Coastline.

Since its inception, Coastline has occupied a few different locations in Victoria. Their current property is situated downtown, with buildings built in the 1920s and the 1970s, respectively. According to Moore, Coastline’s historical facilities had no lobby or room for connection, making it cumbersome for members to have conversations before or after worship. Its original mid-century modern design was stylish back in the day, but no longer functioned well.

As part of the remodel, church leadership renamed their older building The Atrium, which contains space for connection, a coffee bar, a mezzanine, extra rooms and a secondary space for events. The building is a nod to the marriage of the modern and the historical, boasting open, arched windows from its original design and modern touches that make visitors and members feel welcome.

Another notable change was reversing the building’s main entryway. We transformed the back of the building into the main entrance so that it faced one of Victoria’s main streets, allowing for greater visibility and access downtown.

A New Name and Vision

With renovations and changes to their facility underway, Coastline set its focus on a full overhaul of the church’s brand. Specifically, they wanted to select a new name. The renaming process would connect the proverbial “cup” with not only its members, but with potential new members from the community.

Moore and his team felt that the name Glad Tidings Tabernacle—which had been abbreviated to GT Church by that time—was too disconnected from younger generations.

“We found ourselves hiding the name Glad Tidings more than using it,” he says. “It’s not very user-friendly.”

Selecting a new name that felt current and relevant, both to the modern era and the mission the church embodies, was essential. While the phrase “glad tidings” was once widely known, it has since fallen out of use outside most modern religious communities and organizations.

“We’ve been aware for many years that the name probably wasn’t as relevant to people as it once was,” says Lisa Moore, pastor at Coastline (and Andy’s wife).

Ultimately, the idea for their new name, Coastline Church, emerged from their heart and mission for Vancouver Island.

“They really wanted to tie in to the idea that they’re an island church,” says Phil Taylor, executive producer at PlainJoe. “We landed on Coastline Church, and that seemed to fit with what they were trying to do.” 

A Team Effort

Coastline’s new visual design encompasses a modern look and feel, while still paying homage to the church’s 100-year history. With the tagline and big idea of “On the island, for the island, since 1923,” Coastline clearly communicates its history and its purpose to the community.

Some of the visual elements of the new design include a brick overlay that features a topographical illustration of Vancouver Island, and an indoor wall mural depicting both the new design and photographs from the church’s storied history.

Not only did church leaders participate in the planning and creation of the rebrand, long-established elders did, too. It takes great courage, patience, discernment and insight for a church to effect an impactful transformation that keeps it relevant not only to its community, but also to members of all ages. We were particularly inspired by the thoughtful, multigenerational effort Coastline’s leadership embarked on as a collective.

You don’t have to remodel, rename or rebrand your “cup” to nurture what’s inside. It’s possible to lead your members into new seasons by prioritizing them as you do so, feeding their spirits with Christlike love and care. Andy Moore advocates not only working slowly to effect change, but continually casting vision for your church to embrace as the future unfolds.

“Keep dreaming dreams and encouraging your people,” he says, “because the resources always follow the vision.”