Blessing Box: Equipping Canadian Churches

May 25th, 2017|

Graf-Martin Communications partners with Baker Publishing Group to resource churches from coast-to-coast WATERLOO—May 25th, 2017— Blessing: says it’s a special favour, mercy, or benefit (; and Merriam-Webster says it’s a thing conducive to happiness or welfare (Merriam-Webster). In Canada, blessing is something Graf-Martin Communications (GMC) and Baker Publishing Group (BPG) love doing for Canadian churches. In early 2017, the two companies partnered to launch Blessing Box, an initiative to connect new, valuable Christian books and resources with deserving churches across Canada. Four times a year, pastors, church staff, and congregation members can nominate their church to receive a Blessing Box valued at over $300 each. Ten churches from across Canada will be chosen as recipients each season, with a grand total value of $12,000 of resources sent to Canadian Churches each year. Each Blessing Box is curated to include BPG’s new and best-of resources that will inspire leaders, facilitate conversation, and encourage opportunities for enriched congregational community. The desire of GMC and BPG is that this content would feed church ministries and engage church leaders. With the loss of many Christian bookstores across Canada over the past decade, leaving many communities without a local Christian store, connecting points for churches looking for curriculum and resource recommendations have shifted. GMC’s President, Ellen Graf-Martin, is clear on the purpose of Blessing Box. “Ultimately, our organization exists to resource the Canadian church, as we support Christian content creators. I’m so glad to have found another simple way to make both these pieces of our mission come to life.” In February, interest was strong with over 1,700 church nominations for the first ever Blessing Box giveaway. Blessing Boxes filled with Marriage and Family resources went out to ten churches [...]

Why You Need A Strong Design Brief

May 17th, 2017|

And How To Develop One By Tara Hoyte A structure built on a poor foundation is destined to crumble. We’ve seen over and over that the same holds true for marketing projects requiring graphic design. Without a clear design brief, the entire project can begin to fall apart. And when a project begins to crumble, the costs begin to build up. The best graphic imagery and visual brand projects come from designers who have a strong understanding of what the client wants and needs because they have been given the information they need to complete the project. With clarity comes confidence. With confidence comes speed, and with speed comes savings and brilliant design. What To Included In A Design Brief? These things should always be included in a good design brief: Title or product name and description A good description of the specific intended audience Current trends that you would like to see implemented Who are the competitors to this project, and what you like/don't like about their brand Examples of other work or visual ideas that you feel could work, avoiding personal preference and using focus groups (even a few of your customers) if possible Clear budget (this helps us figure out how much time to spend on your project, and not go over budget) How many concepts are expected No questions – just answers! What To Avoid In A Design Brief? There are also things to avoid because they will weaken your design brief. First, being vague with statements like “I am not sure what I want, see what you come up with” or “I will know what I like when I see it,” These are two statements that make designers cringe. Some [...]

One Dominion: Prepared For A Purpose

May 16th, 2017|

Bible League Canada Celebrates Canada’s 150th With a Commemorative Book WATERLOO—May 16th, 2017— Strong and free…for a purpose. This is the message communicated through One Dominion (Bible League Canada, June 2017, full-colour gift book, $29.99) an inspiring, beautifully designed book by Bible League Canada in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Releasing just in time for Canada Day, One Dominion outlines Canadian Christian history from John Cabot raising the cross on Canadian shores in 1497 to this year’s celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. One Dominion invites readers into an exploratory journey through Canada’s history, highlighting key moments of faith and Christian influence, from the founding of educational institutions and hospitals, to the creation of countless charitable organizations and architectural masterpieces. With inspiring accounts of individuals who founded our country upon the Living Word of God, One Dominion helps readers uncover a deeper understanding of Canada’s foundations and futures, through Scripture and the tests of faith passed by those who have gone before. In this carefully crafted book, Paul Richardson, President of Bible League Canada, and Bob Beasley, Vice President of International Ministry at Bible League Canada, identify Canada’s purpose and mandate as a nation, as inscribed on the Peace Tower of Parliament Hill: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 72:8 KJV) Through stunning photography and enthralling historical accounts, this book is designed to instill confidence and hope in the Christians of Canada and encourage them to steward well the resources, opportunities, and peace with which this country has been blessed. Richardson encourages, “Canadians have much to be thankful for, past, present, and future, and much to steward well, both at home and for [...]

Week In Reviews: Our Favourites This May

May 12th, 2017|

Every day, our Nuts About Books reviewers send in reviews of their favourite Christian books and films we've sent them over the past months. We love reading these reviews and finding out what content is resonating and helpful to Christians. We trust their opinions, and think you will too! That is why we love highlighting their voices. This week, our reviewers are talking about titles from Baker Publishing Group, MennoMedia, and Mongrel Home Entertainment. We are so grateful for their partnership. (re)Union by Bruxy Cavey Is it possible that over the centuries the church has altered the message of Christ? Has modern Christianity wrapped itself so tightly in a fragmented, inactive version of the gospel that the life-changing message of God has been smothered? Pastor Bruxy Cavey thinks the answer is yes. He speaks to a new generation interested in Jesus but embarrassed by Christians in his latest book, (re)union: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners (coming May 9th, 2017). “The message of Jesus changed the world . . . until the world changed the message,” says Cavey. “But I’m happy to say that there is a growing movement of truth-seekers and Jesus-lovers who are calling for a return to the first and foundational good news message of Jesus. This book is inspired by them, and it is an invitation to join their ranks.” In (re)union, Cavey explains why Christians shouldn’t follow the Bible—but why they will want to read it to learn how to follow Jesus. He encourages readers to discover their true citizenship in the Jesus nation, where they might be ready to die for a cause but never willing to kill for one. Endorsement for (re)Union: "You’ve got a friend who [...]

Joel Sartore To Present At Local Environmental Fundraiser

May 9th, 2017|

A Rocha looks to the future of the Brooksdale Environmental Centre SURREY—May 9th, 2017— “It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity. When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves”. These are the adamant words of world-renowned wildlife photographer, Joel Sartore. Sartore has 30 National Geographic stories to his credit and has dedicated his life to raising awareness for conservation efforts through his both candid and humourous photographic style. His life work, “The Photo Ark”, is a collection of animal portraits (now available in book form), highlighting and raising awareness for endangered species. He is now halfway to his goal of 12,000 species, circling the globe as he visits zoos and wildlife rescue centres to capture his images. Sartore’s work encourages viewers to take a new perspective on nature and to appreciate its beauty, aiming to inspire restorative efforts…before it’s too late. His photographs bring to the forefront an issue which often goes unaddressed: nature needs nurture. This is the vision of A Rocha: to enable the transformation of people and places, through the joy of actively restoring and cultivating nature…for its sake and for our own.  A Rocha is a Christian conservation organization working in more than 20 countries around the world, whose Canadian flagship project is the Brooksdale Environmental Centre in Surrey, BC. A Rocha envisions this centre developing into a world-class hub for environmental education; one that will be home to a living classroom, providing hands-on learning opportunities and showcasing A Rocha's sustainable agriculture and conservation work; and a vibrant residential community of staff, interns, and volunteers, all committed to pursuing environmental restoration. To begin to turn this vision into a [...]

A Rocha Canada: Battling Bullying With A Good Dose Of Creation

April 28th, 2017|

Innovative partnership provides inner-city girls with unique opportunity for growth at A Rocha Canada’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre WATERLOO—April 26th, 2017— In a recent survey, 64% of students said bullying was a normal part of school life. With bullying serving as a key factor in poor school performance with long-term personal and community impact, innovative solutions are required. In South Surrey, BC, girls are finding opportunities for change and growth at the Brooksdale Environmental Centre, as they take both the bully and the bullied outside – together. A Rocha, an international Christian Environmental Stewardship organization with its Canadian offices based in Surrey, BC, is partnering with an innovative program developed by the Surrey Public School District. This "Girls in Action" program engages children in North Surrey's inner-city neighbourhoods who are identified by their teachers as either potential bullies or those who are bullied. From the girls’ surprised and enthusiastic responses to getting their hands dirty with farm activities, it is clear that getting up close and personal with creation is quite a novelty and requires relationship building and trust with those they’re working alongside. It turns out, nature is the great equalizer when it comes to sixth-grade pecking order. "I've learned to appreciate others," said one student after an afternoon spent on the farm. "I love everything at Brooksdale," said another, "but especially eating together as a family." It’s clear that A Rocha’s commitment to transformational engagement, seeing the transformation of people and places by showing God’s love for all creation, lived out intentionally in small ways, can impact communities deeply. When the girls visit the Brooksdale Environmental Centre together they participate in the activities of a working farm: from planting seeds to making kale chips to [...]

Week In Reviews: Thought Provoking Titles

April 21st, 2017|

This week in reviews, we are showcasing three of our favourite books and reviews from the Nuts About Books and Resourcing Leaders members. These are books we feel are important reads, that stimulate the mind and facilitate conversations. This week, we are highlighting amazing resources from Baker Books and Chosen, divisions of Baker Publishing Group. Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can't do or will never be. But that's not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters--women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God's peace-, purpose-, and joy-filled callings. With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to: Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God's Word and promptings; Usher in lasting peace through prayers that reduce panic, blood pressure, and stress; Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God's greatest gifts; Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed throughout the day; Participate in a twelve-week study guide to foster new courageous habits. Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be. Endorsement of Fear Fighting: "This is Kelly its first book, and wow it has hit its mark. Balarie has written this book for me I felt her words humble and sooth, yet confront and cut deep. Good friends tell it as it is, they want to encourage and uplift, and this author makes you feel like that friend" - City Girl Moves To The Country    Essential Worship by Greg Scheer A clear and concise [...]

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Career Opportunity: Administrative Assistant

April 11th, 2017|

Job Title: Administrative Assistant Hours Per Week : Fulltime 32-40 hours / weekly; during office hours between 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM weekdays. Place of Work: 40 Church St. West, Elmira Reports to: President & Publicity Coordinator Job Duration: Starting May 1 2017 (permanent). Compensation: Commensurate with experience and within fair market rate. Expected Results: Reduction of administrative oversight duties of Management Team Smooth transition from outgoing Administrative / Marketing Assistant Reduction of publicity administration duties of Publicity Coordinator Submit cover letter and resume to: Submission deadline: noon, Friday April 21, 2017. Primary Responsibilities Job Description (includes, but not limited to): Provide administrative support to President & Management Team Provide administrative support to Bookkeeper, using Quickbooks to input and / or process Accounts Payable and Receivable and processing reports Invoice clients and track / follow up overdue accounts Order and receive office supplies and product from clients for marketing campaigns Manage printing project coordination and obtain print quotes Manage contact and information databases Take and distribute meeting minutes as needed Ensure project management documents (time-trackers, quotes comparisons, etc.) are created and maintained Assume responsibility for office details as assigned. (i.e. corporate correspondence, parcel pickups, meal coordination, travel arrangements, etc.) Provide primary or secondary research for campaign projects as needed Assist in arranging interviews with media outlets Assist in recording/cataloguing publicity activity Assist in the implementation and tracking of promotional strategies and media outreach Greet and host visitors (clients / vendors) in our office Other duties as assigned Skill Requirements The Administrative Assistant must: Have a heart to see faith and values-based organizations grow and succeed Be detail-oriented and organized with exceptional prioritization skills Be able to meet tight deadlines Be a strong communicator (verbal & [...]

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Week In Reviews: Case For Christ In Theatres Today!

April 7th, 2017|

Don't miss this powerful film that leaders are calling the "Most Authentic Christian Film". The Case For Christ in theatres now! Graf-Martin Communication was proud to work alongside PureFlix and Lee Strobel to bring this film to Canada. We hosted a screening event in Toronto area, and were privileged enough to give our local leaders as well as influential individuals across Canada early access to view the film! Here are their thoughts on the film, and why we all think you need to see Case For Christ in theatres now! Click here for a list of theatres near you. Endorsements For The Film "The movie expertly shows us how Leslie's journey lead to Lee (Mike Vogel) using his investigative journalism skills to prove to his wife that she was believing in a lie...If you are wondering if Jesus is real and you need evidence to believe, go see the Case for Christ. You won't be disappointed" - Interviews & Reviews "This isn’t really a film for the whole family, though teens who face challenges to their faith from fellow students could benefit significantly. Taking a friend, relative, neighbor or coworker who hasn’t yet crossed the line of faith is highly recommended, because when it comes to what Christians believe, at the end of the day, the buck stops with the resurrection" - Book Shop Talk "...this film is an effective way to engage people's emotions and to present the truth of the gospel to them in a compelling manner. And as a Christian, I appreciate that I was presented with ways to defend why I believe what I believe." - Christian Fiction Addiction Invite Someone To The Case For Christ Movie We highly recommend bringing someone you know who [...]

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Mark Mattingly – The Stable Collective

March 29th, 2017|

We loved working with the team at Graf-Martin Comm, they made our entire quick trip to Canada as impactful as it could be. They worked out everything in advance and treated our entire team like family. Their relationships with media outlets and input on how to navigate the Canadian market is so valuable. We can’t wait to work with them again. - Mark Mattingly Artist Manager The Stable Collective

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