Here is Part 2 of why good design should matter to your church...
GOOD DESIGN speaks to those who aren't listening.
When was the last time a poster caught your eye at the mall? When was the last time an outdated website frustrated you? Think about your daily interactions with advertisements and media—from morning to evening—and think about how it speaks to you without you entirely interacting with it.
As a designer, my eye is always attracted to good and bad design. I can tell you that experiencing excellence in an advertisement, a brochure, and/or a website significantly affects my decision to give them my attention and eventually my business.
It may not be right, but your church is being judged by people who haven't even set foot inside its walls.
Everything is a potential first impression. From the freshly mowed grass and clear monument sign to the smiling attendants, and even the connection card visitors are asked to fill out. Before they even enter your doors, visitors had their point-of-view of your church influenced by your website and social media posts. Just through your online presence, visitors are able to tell if you genuinely care about their spiritual need, or if you care more about a political issue or more preoccupied promoting your event ticket sales. People see right through that!
YES, WE WANT PEOPLE TO COME TO HEAR THE GOSPEL!
But, they are so distracted, and perhaps even disgusted, by the poor communication around them that it actually hinders them from listening to the preaching. Graphic Design is a visual expression, and it should be a tool and complimentary to everything you do. Think of every direct mailer as a first impression opportunity. Understand that your social media posts will go farther when you actually have a strategy of encouraging your audience instead of repelling them with a Fox News update.
This next part may sound "UNCHRISTIAN," but continue reading.
It is okay to leave the "Roman's Road" off your community flyers. Before you close this post, read on.
STORY: I have a client in the part of the country that is growing fast, and is considered a "melting pot" of cultures and religious beliefs. It is very much an "unchurched" part of our nation. We were hired to rebuild their website. During the initial planning stages, we were instructed to leave the "Gospel" page off of the new site.
Any time I have a client wanting to do something I haven't heard or not used to hearing, I usually perk up and ask them why that was their decision. For me, this helps me understand and learn first hand what Pastors are trying to do to reach others around the country. I asked him why he decided to do this, and his response went something close to this:
"We want people to come to our services, engage with real followers of Jesus, hear what Jesus did for them, and sit down with someone who can guide them in a decision to follow Jesus. We have found that people have questions that should be answered before getting saved, and perhaps will help them become more grounded in the future. We don't want them to add another 'god to their shelf' by praying a prayer. We want them to choose Jesus and only Jesus."
He began to say that people in his area need context and you can't put that on a website without it starting to push people away.
WOW! That response hit it right on the head! I'm not trying to stir up controversy. I want to merely challenge you to reevaluate everything you do to reach people, and ask the question: "Is this really working the way we are doing it?" Does your outreach material speak to a more Bible-educated crowd? We have to accept that America is not a Christian nation anymore. The generations coming up are illiterate when it comes to Christian terms and phrases. We have to communicate with the same tools they use every day.
Believe it or not, "millennials" and "generation Z" want to hear a message of hope! They desire to be a part of something that is REAL, and that has a purpose. Your sermon may be great, but it won't matter if they aren't coming through the door.
What the church represents is far more critical than some product or company. Companies spend millions of dollars on promoting and protecting their image. Whether it is the products or the services they offer, they are continually investing in strengthening their communication. If companies with unimportant, temporal messages and goals make such an investment in promotion and protection, why doesn't the church? Why doesn't the church invest that type of value on promoting and protecting the excellent message of Jesus Christ?
Through GOOD design and purposeful media, you can give an accurate representation of what being a follower of Christ is all about.
In case you missed it. Click here for Part 1.
Try not to be so stuck on things that may have worked two decades ago, or even two years ago, that may have hit a low point or irrelevant streak.
Be open to new methods (not new doctrine) in order to reach more people for Jesus Christ. People want to be part of a story...is the one we are commanded to communicate compelling enough for them? I am not saying the Gospel cannot compel without our help...but, we must be able to communicate the beautiful, clear, exciting message of Jesus no matter what.