From Concept to Creation: The Philippians Journal

Matt Urbina

July 14, 2022
5 min read

Matt Urbina

For the last few weeks, our church has been diving deep into the book of Philippians in a new collection of talks we’re calling The Art of Joy. We have been studying Paul’s letter to the church verse by verse, learning how we can choose joy in every circumstance.

We know that there are people in our church experiencing real suffering and pain, and we want to equip everyone we can reach with the weapon of joy. Our team decided to release a free digital journal that walks through the book of Philippians. We hope that as we explore Philippians collectively as a church, people will lean into God’s word individually, creating space for deeper reflection and allowing scripture to permeate their minds and spirit.

There’s something special about watching an idea move from a concept to a tangible creation. I want to share our process of creating the journal, from curating the content to developing the journal’s website.


The first step in taking a concept from an idea into something tangible is to determine the content.

This was a collaboration among our pastoral team, with each person assigned a different facet of the project. After researching individually, the team pieced everything together to build the journal’s final content in a way that referenced past journals and brought in new elements. To provide a well-rounded experience, we included daily readings, a glossary of frequently used terms, scriptures for memorization, and additional resources on the book of Philippians.

The journal is designed to span the same six weeks that our church is studying the book of Philippians. The entire book is four chapters long, and the daily readings are simply all four chapters split between six weeks. Each day has just enough scripture for people to meditate on without feeling overwhelmed. The Sunday readings align with the passages that the sermons are drawn from.

We opted to use the SOAP method for notetaking. This method is ideal because it allows a deeper contemplation of scripture. The SOAP method breaks down into four parts:

1. Scripture - a note of what scripture stands out.

2. Observation - a reflection on what the individual feels God is speaking.

3. Application - a personalization of how this scripture applies uniquely to the individual.

4. Prayer - a space to record a prayer after the reading and reflection.

After finalizing the content, it was passed along to our web team.


The first focus in developing the journal website was to structure the home page.

The home page is essential because it’s the first thing the user sees. We wanted it to be engaging, informative, and joyful. The home page serves as the landing page for the journal, acting as a site map that outlines all of the available content and links for the user to explore. Analyzing the content categories helped us decide what should live on the home page and what deserved a separate page.

Close collaboration between the web team and design team is crucial when creating a web page. We discussed potential layouts and finalized design assets like fonts, colors, and graphics. Our web designers took the design elements and expanded them across the website, implementing them to keep a uniform aesthetic throughout the site with a slightly different feeling on each page.

Let’s get technical for a minute: we utilized several platforms and systems to make the site operational. Below you'll find a list of elements that help our teams transform written content into a dynamic digital exeperience.

Webflow + Figma — Web development

Google Cloud Services (specifically the Cloud Functions) — Creating user profiles within the journal

Golang — programming language to manage user authentication and the saving of the SOAP journal entries.

We were intentional in how we designed the site. Our goals were to have meaningful content, appealing design, and optimal flow so anyone using the journal could get the most out of the experience.

Interested in seeing the journal for yourself? It’s not too late to jump in! Click here to check out the website and join us on the journey — there’s always room for more joy.

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