5 reasons design matters in ministry
The importance of design can easily be overlooked. Even when you see design every day: that red octagon, the golden arches, hundreds of green double-tailed mermaids, or a map at the rapid transit station, without a second thought all these symbols and colours are neatly placed in the back of your mind as what they stand for (a stop sign, McDonalds, Starbucks, where do go once you hop on a train). But when something atrocious offends your eyes, such as comics sans on anything more than a lemonade stand (see worst example here), you are immediately put off. The church is not exempt from the circles of ‘good design.’ But why would ministry care about being “visually appealing?” Design goes beyond just looking good. Here are 5 reasons why design should matter in ministry:
5 reasons design matters in ministry
1. Design Provides a New Perspective
It doesn’t matter what type of church you find yourself in, we all have the potential to fall into weekly routines of presenting the message in the same way and using the same words built around the same structure. The danger is that we run the risk of unintentionally communicating that we have nothing new to say. Design helps us break out of these traps and provides a way of presenting the timeless message in new ways. Just like clothing stores will regularly change product placement to encourage returning shoppers to browse, continual design and redesign keeps things interesting. It helps communicate to your community that you have something worth sharing.
2. Design Breaks Down Barriers
The constant challenge we face as Christian Creatives is to communicate an old message to a new and often disinterested audience — at least that’s what it feels like at times. Creativity is the vehicle that breaks down barriers. Whether it’s right or not, many people will judge the church without ever setting foot in it. Sociologists say we have less than 30 seconds to make a first impression. Before anyone can see your heart or learn what you’re all about, they judge you based on what they see. Whether we like it not, their perception is their reality. A well-executed design can bring in people who wouldn’t normally give you a chance.
3. Design Communicates Beyond Words
Design has the power to enhance teaching by connecting it in ways words alone cannot, giving the message an even greater impact. A well crafted image, prop, song, or visual carries the unique ability to transcend logic and impact emotions in profound and life-changing ways. This is why Jesus himself told parables to get his teachings across. A message is one thing but a message woven into a story, song, or image takes things to a whole new level.
4. Design is a Vehicle for Innovation
As Christian Creatives, we are all called to manage the resources we have been entrusted with and are challenged to allocate those resources in the best way possible. This pursuit often forces us to be innovative in achieving these desired results. Design then becomes the vehicle through which we see innovative results come to life. During our first stage renovation at church, our lack of resources forced us to be innovative. Instead of spending $3,000 to purchase projection screens, we designed some out of coroplast for a fraction of the cost. This design allowed us to achieve the desired results while staying within budget. The freedom to dream and design becomes the vehicle for innovation and new ideas.
5. Design Matters to God
Art and design matters in ministry because it matters to God, who crafted us in his likeness. By suppressing the expression of design in our ministries, we are suppressing and ignoring the very attribute of God that makes us unique. The more we design and create, the more the Creator is revealed through us. As Christian artists, designers and illustrators, design becomes our megaphone to make known the attributes of God within our individual communities.