Why Design Matters in Ministry

We get an occasional email or comment here at SPU from some folks who fuss at us for putting an emphasis on design in ministry. They say things like “the word of God doesn’t need to be fancy to be powerful” or “ministry isn’t about how good things look” and with those statements we wholeheartedly agree. However, that isn’t to say that good design in ministry isn’t important.

The fact of the matter is, that people, whether we like it or not, do in fact, judge a book by its cover. And not just books; it’s flyers, logos, visual presentations, the whole package. In a world where so many things are begging for our attention, great design can be the difference between being seen and being ignored. I’m not suggesting that you can’t have a great ministry or  a great congregation if you don’t have amazing graphics or fancy flyers. I am suggesting that, for the most part, the church could benefit from paying more attention to how it presents information in our modern age.

Take the classic gospel meeting flyer, for example. Here’s what I’ve noticed is a pretty standard form for a flyer:

  1. White or brightly colored copy paper
  2. Black ink (mostly poor print quality)
  3. Name of the Church in plain serif font followed by the words “invites you to” in some form or another
  4. The word “Gospel Meeting”, “Revival”, or some other phase
  5. A picture of the speaker
  6. Topics
  7. Phone number/address of the building

 

Then we take those and hand them to hundreds of folks who probably don’t look twice at it because, frankly, it’s not worth looking at. I’m not saying the information is useless. I’m saying maybe if a little more effort went into what the flyer looked like folks would at least give it a glance. The greatest information in the world is useless unless people actually look at it.

Now, some of you are going to call me out and say that it’s the most economical way to do it. You might be right, but is it the best way? Isn’t the kingdom of God supposed to be our most important task on Earth? If we’re going to hand out a flyer, shouldn’t it be one that we think will at least get looked at? Besides, a nice looking handout isn’t as expensive as you might think. You can get 100 full-color, professionally printed postcards for under $15 from Vistaprint. They even have free professionally designed templates for you to use, so all you have to do is enter the information.

Furthermore, it’s not just flyers; it’s our websites, PowerPoints, bulletins, etc. If we’ve decided they’re worth doing, why not take some time to make sure they’re seen? Is great design going to drive the masses to your congregation or save a 100 million souls? Nope, but it might be the difference in just one and to me that’s worth its weight in gold.  

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  • I couldn’t agree more. Far too often, congregations and ministers just simply skip the step of actually designing something worth looking at. The produce something, but it’s just something. There’s not creativity, no emotion, and no thought. Just the bare necessities of information, an outdated photo, and a typeface from the early 2000’s. We live in a visual world that pushes imagery on people in every single medium and it’s easy to see when the effort is lacking. Thank you for making this point. Keep making it over and over.