Last year, we visited a church. As we drove up the driveway of this large campus, we were impressed with the clean and well-kept grounds. We entered the doors leading to the large foywe, and again happy to be welcomed by inviting greeters. The nursery was clean, secure, and the workers were very accommodating. However, our experience was about to shift. We walked toward the Worship Center and an usher handed us one of the most complicated, informative, bulletin "booklets" we had ever seen. What we saw was overwhelming, outdated, clipart dependent, and filled with the worst font of all time—Comic Sans.
The bulletin was just the first thing I noticed.
(For the record, it was not my intention to have had any of these reactions as we entered church that morning.) I know it sounds judgmental, but I didn't have a very good first impression. It was a missed opportunity for this church. They clearly had the means to invest the same detail into their media and design materials as they did their new flowers and clean windows. At this point, I could care less about the nice facilities—to me, these media related issues were not only distracting, but they could have been fixed pretty quickly and easily with the right connections. What I learned is that this was one example out of thousands that happens Sunday after Sunday with churches across the country. There is a growing acknowledgment of having good design and media in the church, but there are so many churches missing opportunities simply because they are using outdated and ineffective media.
Well, over the last 12 months I have worked with over 60 churches and ministries from around the country on their design, web, and social media needs, during which I have pondered this question:
WHY SHOULD GOOD DESIGN MATTER TO THE CHURCH?
Here is the first of three reasons good design should matter to your church...
GOOD DESIGN is an opportunity to present the greatest story ever told in a whole new way.
"The problem is that our calling is to communicate an old message to a new audience, but the audience isn't interested."
Last year, while pursuing my Masters in Visual Communication and Design, I took a class on Graphic Design History and it's correlation to Christianity. While studying the origins of graphic design, I discovered that it isn't a new tool, but rather has ancient roots. Think of the ancient cave drawings, or Egyptian Papyrus (the material not the font), the engraving, letter presses, and the list goes on of how artists, craftsmen, and average people developed creative ways and materials to communicate. It quickly became obvious that Graphic Design isn't just about pretty pictures or artwork—
graphic design, at its core, is all about COMMUNICATION.
The most important tool any person or organization can have is accurate and purposeful communication. Think about the hundreds of times in a single day that you are bombarded with some type of communication. Communication can either be very powerful or successfully distracting.
Most of what is communicated to us is distracting, and really not worth our time or investment. But...think about the message of Jesus! Not only are we commanded to communicate this message, but we are to use whatever method or resource in our power to effectively and beautifully communicate Jesus.
Our world needs to know about Jesus!
It is no mystery that our modern culture is using methods of communication to promote their agenda and their message like no other generation before us. The rate of technological and communication advances is astounding, but it is sad to see so many churches and ministries behind the curve.
If we are communicating Jesus in the most effective and beautiful way, why doesn’t our church media and graphics reflect it? We have a beautiful message hiding behind outdated, distracting, and dull media. We must Communicate the gospel of Jesus by designing new and creative ways to do that. (Note: This post applies to more than just graphic design. It may be the layout of your services, and doing something different than you have done in the past that will communicate to others your seriousness to Jesus’ message.)
Take an inventory of your church’s communication materials:
...the list can get pretty long!
Are you communicating Jesus in the most effective and beautiful way?
If you couldn't answer that question to any of the listed items above with an honest "YES," please contact us today! We would love to help you get started on communicating effectively to your community!
Don't miss Part 2 and Part 3!
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