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Hillcrest Church
Expansion Plan/Media Introduction Campaign
In September 2001, Hillcrest Church in Dallas, TX opened an 1,800 seat worship center in conjunction with its 17th anniversary. Lovell Public Relations worked with the church for 18 months to plan an eight-week celebration. While the primary goal was to provide church members with a memorable celebration, a secondary goal was to “officially” introduce Hillcrest to the local community and media.
During this pivotal part of Hillcrest Church’s history, the church was presented with an unanticipated challenge with the horrific events of 9/11. Lovell Public Relations had to quickly reposition events and adapt the church’s media campaign to the ever-evolving circumstances surrounding the national crisis.
To generate community interest in the planned activities.
To maintain the media’s interest in the events throughout the eight-week period.
To adapt the media plan in the midst of a national crisis.
Strategies/Tactics (before 9/11):
Arranged for nationally known speakers to participate in weekend worship services.
Organized a diverse line-up of performing arts activities.
Assigned church leaders to plan events to generate excitement among members.
Provided the organizing committees with guidelines and materials.
Placed print and broadcast advertisements.
Invited city government leaders to anniversary weekend services.
Provided media with information on the most prominent speakers and performers.
Strategies/Tactics (after 9/11):
Revamped the media strategy to account for the national crisis.
Distributed information to local media announcing special services offered in response to 9/11.
Targeted media for an event that was appropriate given the news focus—the 11th annual A Night to Honor Israel, one of a few activities nationally in which a Christian church reaches out to the Jewish community.
Secured participation by key political participants in the anniversary weekend.
Drew over 17,000 participants throughout the eight-week celebration.
Secured local media coverage of the events in The Dallas Morning News, Plano Star Courier, Ft. Worth Star Telegram, and Texas Jewish Post, as well as a lead news story for A Night to Honor Israel.
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Hillcrest Church opened the doors of its Performing Arts Center to the community with a performance by the nationally acclaimed Ballet Magnificat.