Big thanks to everyone who backed this project and made it a reality. To keep up with the progress of this project, please go to unchurching.com. There, you'll also find cartoons, animated videos, and information about more cool upcoming projects like this one!
The Comic Book
Younger generations of Christians can no longer connect with organized church. But, frankly, they shouldn’t have to. There’s nothing in the Bible that says we need to meet in special church buildings, have Sunday morning services, listen to sermons, give tithes, or even have pastors. (That’s news to most churchgoers, but it’s true!)
According to the Bible, the church isn’t a place we go or a thing we do; it’s who we are as a community of believers. That means we can “have church” anywhere, all the time. That means believers who don't go to church can simply live as the church. And that's great news!
So, I want to take this message and put it into a medium that’s concise, visual, and engaging. Namely, I want to make a comic book. And I hope you’ll not only help me create this comic, but that you’ll help me give away copies to young believers everywhere. I want them to know they don’t have to go to church to be the church.
In order to figure out my workflow and calculate how long it would take to produce a full comic, I created some proof-of-concept pages. They also serve as a really good example of the type of comic I want to create. Not a story about superheroes in spandex, like a lot of comics. But a teaching comic that dialogues with the reader and uses interesting visuals to reinforce the message of the book.
I'll be sketching everything by hand, then doing the rest of the illustration and coloring work on my Mac and iPad. And I'll be creating all the various graphic elements on separate layers, just in case we raise enough money to create the spinoff motion comic! (See the Stretch Goals for more info on this. Super cool!!!)
Digital and Print
Obviously, I'll be able to create a digital version of the printed book, as well. And these digital copies will be DRM-free, meaning you can share them as much as you like, with as many people as you like.
Ex-pastor, Artist, and Author
My name is Richard Jacobson. I’m an ex-pastor, who creates cartoons and animated videos about church. I’ve also written a pretty good book about all this stuff, titled Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity. And I’m the co-host of The Unchurching Podcast.
Here are a couple of cartoons I created for my Unchurching website. You can also find several of my animations on YouTube.
Why I'm Doing This
We're Failing Younger Believers
The church is rapidly reaching a crossroads. Young people are leaving in droves because they can no longer relate to churches that look more like corporate America than the simple Christian communities described in the Bible. If we don’t wake up and start encouraging younger believers to find church community outside the box, we leave them with no alternative but to abandon church altogether. I hope you'll help me encourage them to seek genuine church community, outside the organized church box.
There are lots of exclusive rewards for backers that will only be offered this one time, here on Kickstarter. Speaking of which, that probably includes the comic book itself. So, order plenty of copies, just in case this is the one-and-only time it ever gets printed! (It's very likely!)
Every contribution matters, so thank you for supporting this project! This first level gets you an email notification when I have the next giveaway of the Kindle version of Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity. It also gets you a digital download of "Richard’s Recommended Reading List"— my list of must-read books about church-outside-the-box in PDF format. But that’s not all! You’ll also receive all the "for-backers-only" updates, along with any bonus stuff I might include because you guys are so awesome. If that wasn't enough, you'll also be the first to know about Unchurching news, events, and other meet ups.
NOTE: A physical Kindle reader is NOT REQUIRED to read the Kindle eBook version.
Welcome to the next level. This $10 reward package gets you a gorgeous digital copy of the Unchurching Comic Book as well as everything in the aforementioned "Thank You Goodies" package. The digital comic is DRM-free, so you can share it with your friends! This level also includes the Unchurching: Kickstarter Special Edition. That's a special eBook version of Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity that includes exclusive context, such as deleted chapters from the original publication and more.
This package will figuratively take you behind the scenes with this cool “Making Of” eBook that includes a collection of raw pencil drawings, used in the layout out the comic book, alongside the vector drawings used in the book, and the final colored panels! You’ll also get the stuff listed in the $20 reward package listed on the right side of the project page.
Here’s the first package where you’ll get a PHYSICAL COPY of the Unchurching Comic Book. Actually, you’ll get 3 copies, because the real goal here is to spread the message. Yep, this package comes with everything in the $35 reward package listed on the right side of the project page.
Some more about the comic… There are a total of 16 pages, plus the cover. The front and back cover will be printed in full color and the inside pages will be in black and white. BUT, if we reach our first stretch goal, we’re going to print these in FULL COLOR. More about that later on…
This package comes with 5 copies of the comic for you to cherish or pass out to whomever you please. It also comes with a never-before-released, professionally recorded audiobook of Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity. This package also comes with everything mentioned in the $50 reward tier listed on the right side of the project page.
This package also includes:
• Audio Commentary: A brief bonus commentary by the author, also exclusive to Kickstarter.
• Online Book Study: Receive an invitation to a closed Facebook group, seven-week book study of Unchurching, led by the author.
What’s really special about this package is that it comes with a sampling of unflattened full size files from the comic. You’ll know what that means if you’re an ART LOVER. Also, it comes with everything in the previous packages, PLUS a video tutorial detailing how the comic was made where you can watch recordings of my step-by-step process from rough sketch - to vector - to finished artwork. Plus, get a sneak peek at how the separate assets could be repurposed for another really cool project. In addition to the stuff in the packages above, the Art Lover's Package also includes:
• Full-Size Files: Download unflattened hi-res Photoshop files of actual comic pages, so you can deconstruct each layer of the final layout, and see how I separate assets into layers so they can be repurposed.
• Immortalized on Website: Your name will be listed in a special thank you section on the Unchurching website, detailing the comic book project.
• Immortalized in the Digital Comic: Your name will be listed in a special thank you section in the digital version of the comic book.
Plus, you get everything listed in the $75 reward package on the right side of the project page.
I’ve always been drawn to you, but now I want to draw you! In return for your support of helping me to achieve my goal, I will draw a sketch of you. Just provide me a (completely appropriate) photo of yourself for me to sketch. I'll write a hand-written thank you and draw your portrait, either in a realistic sketch style or in a cartoon style (your choice). I’ll send back a digital download of the drawing that you can send to your friends or make your profile picture. This package comes with all the stuff in the $100 reward package listed on the right side of the project page.
This means you're hardcore. I love that! Not only are you helping to really bring this thing to life, but you’re gonna get 50 comics to pass around, a hefty haul of the printed version of the comic: 1 copy for you and 49 more to give away and hopefully start a full-on revolution in your area. This level also comes with an autographed print copy of Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity and a super advanced sneak peak at my next project. See the full list of everything you get in the $200 reward package on the right side of the project page.
This tier also includes:
• Your Name in the Printed Comic: Your name will not only go down in infamy on the website and in the digital version of the comic book, but in the PRINTED VERSION as well. Everywhere this thing goes, your name will go with it as a big fat thank you!
Wouldn’t you just love to take a drive and pop in an old fashioned cassette tape of Unchurching The Audiobook!? I love the feeling of listening to a tape in the car, and I hope you do, too. That’s right. Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity on a series of 3 super-cool collectable audio cassettes. Another Kickstarter exclusive. You'll also get everything the $250 reward package list on the right side of the project page.
Let’s get to know each other. This package includes two hours of video chatting via Skype with you or your group. This can be a one-on-one call about life, movies, and 80’s music. Or it can be a “how-to” consultation about any of the things I've done so far: creating a series of YouTube animations, self-publishing a book, co-hosting a weekly podcast, building a rapidly growing online community, coordinating and facilitating a national conference, creating this comic book, you name it!. I’m just so thankful for your support in helping me to make this dream become a reality. This package also gets you:
• Autographed Copy of Book: Autographed print copy of Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity with a hand-written thank you and your portrait drawn by me, either in a realistic sketch style or in a cartoon style (your choice) on the inside.
Check out the list under the $400 package on the right side of the project page. for the full list of everything this reward level includes.
LIMITED TO 5 BACKERS
Want to be in the comic? You can! This level gets a cartoon version of yourself (or someone else of your choosing) drawn into one of the panels of the comic book. Once approved, this cartoon cameo will be immortalized in all versions of the comic: digital, print, and any spinoff works. (By choosing this option, you agree that you have the permission to use the likeness of whomever you submit for inclusion in the comic.)
You’re pretty invested in what I do by going for this package. That means a lot, so I’d love to include a lot of things from the packages above. See the full list in the $500 reward package on the right side of the project page.
I will personally come hang out with you one-on-one, or come speak to your group, and it will be amazing. This can be an informal hang-out time, any number of impactful talks, or a facilitated group dialogue with a Q&A session. This can also be a graphic facilitation: a combination of conversation, along with live drawings.* This package also includes everything in the $750 reward package on the right side of the project page.
*I will travel and do a speaking engagement within 300 mile radius of Nashville. Outside of 300 mile radius is doable, but additional travel funds may apply.
LIMITED TO 5 BACKERS
At this level, you’ll get almost everything I have to give. This includes everything that’s been previously listed so far. That’s a whole lotta things. It’s the whole enchilada! What’s extra special about this one is that I’m also going to let you TAKEOVER* my podcast. Plus, you’ll get 75 copies of the comic to pass out. Plus, I’m gonna come to you** and do a speaking engagement for your group. Thank you so much for going all-in on this message at this level; I cannot thank you enough for your support!
The Whole Enchilada includes everything listed on the $1250 reward package on the right side of the project page.
*Take Over the Unchurching Podcast: Me and my co-host Gunnar will let you take over our podcast (or just be our special guest) for an entire episode (as long as you keep it clean and on-message). You can be the host, pick the guest, perform the interview, and more. Don’t have a podcast set-up? No problem. When I come to visit (see below), I’ll bring my podcast gear, and even ride shotgun on the soundboard so you don’t have to worry about it. You just schedule the guest(s).
**I will travel and do a speaking engagement within 300 mile radius of Nashville. Outside of 300 mile radius is doable, but additional travel funds may apply.
LIMITED TO 3 BACKERS
For those who are willing to support like crazy, I will write, narrate, and animate a custom two-minute (or less) video, just for you, and just like the ones on my YouTube channel. (As long as there’s no inappropriate content, of course - Duh). We can tell a story about your cat or make a message for you to send to an old friend or make an explainer video for some brilliant business idea of yours. The possibilities are endless and I cannot wait to explore them with you. I also cannot express my gratitude enough! And aside from the in-person speaking engagement, you’ll get everything else on the $2500 reward package list on the right side of the project page.
LIMITED TO 1 BACKER ONLY!!!
This might be a stretch, but here goes nothing. This top dog, solo backer level gets you a CUSTOM COMIC BOOK COVER POSTER of yourself (or a friend), re-imagined as a superhero on the cover of your very own comic book. Be your own superhero (and mine!) with this completely unique piece of art. Printed and mailed in a rolled poster tube, this 24”x 36” poster is suitable for framing. You'll also receive the original pencil sketches, as well as a hi-res, full-color file in multiple formats (JPEG, PNG, PDF). Don't wanna see yourself in spandex? Then let's collaborate on something else. After all, I can’t even express how appreciative I am of your support. You're enabling me to spend time on a passion project I've wanted to create for years. So, thank you!!! Also, don't forget: you’ll get all the other stuff listed in the $5000 reward package on the right side of the project page (including a custom animation too)!
If we raise $7,500, we'll be able to print and ship a black and white printed version of the comic, and send everyone who pledged $10 or more a full-color digital copy, which you can share with all your friends. But let's not stop there, because I've got some really exciting Stretch Goals, too! I'll tell you about the first two now, then reveal the others as we get closer.
Full Color Printed Version
If we can raise just $2,500 over the initial project goal, we can print the entire comic book in full color!
If we can raise an additional $5,000, I will also re-purpose the artwork from the comic book to produce what is known as a "motion comic". A motion comic is basically a hybrid between still comic artwork and animation. It's a bit hard to explain, so here's an example of someone else's motion comic.
Once completed, the motion comic will be shared with the rest of the world via YouTube, and all of you will get your names in the credits. It might not beef up your IMDB profile, but you will have officially helped produce an "animated" short film! (well, sort of...)
Here's a projected timeline for both the comic and the rewards. Just keep in mind I might need a little wiggle room on some rewards, like custom animations and artwork. After all, we might dialogue back-and-forth a bit before we decide on the final idea. Also, trips will have to be coordinated around both our schedules. Just common sense stuff like that.
Don't for get to check out unchurching.com for more info about this project, and much, much more!
Risks and challenges
I’ve been a professional graphic designer, illustrator, and writer for years now. Hitting the deadlines for this campaign doesn’t worry me. What’s new is this whole Kickstarter thing. This is my first campaign. That’s why I partnered with a couple of friends named Jim and Steve who’ve done a lot of successful Kickstarters so far with their company Craft Services. We’ve checked and re-checked the costs for printing, packing, labeling, shipping, and all the other hard costs that first-time creators sometimes forget.
My hope is that this will be the first of many Kickstarter projects, so building credibility is paramount right now. So, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I want you to feel good about your investment in this project. After all, it’s been a passion project of mine for years now, and I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for helping me make this dream a reality. I hope, together, we can make a real impact.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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