Signs of the Time: Say More

By March 4, 2015Communication

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Aesthetic communication is all around us.  Just so we’re on the same page, aesthetic communication is communication without the articulation of words.  This style of communication can include, but not be limited by, theatre, crafts, art, painting, sculpture, dance, graphic design, special design and staging. As you can see, there is a large gambit included in communication.  It seems that in a majority of church cultures, particularly in the United States, they are missing the mark on communication as a whole.   We miss filling in the gaps for those that are listening to what our churches are communicating.  Because churches are often the loudest voice in a community, or at least have that potential to be, it’s important to hone in on exactly what we are saying.  I’m going to offer a few suggestions.

Have a design strategy.

Sit down with a branding specialist and come up with solid branding vision for your church.  I know that it’s expensive, I fully understand that. So, if your church doesn’t have money in the budget for that—come up with some sort of written document that ensures that all programs, ministries, and written communication are using the same letterhead, font, and color motif.  Make sure that your church has a modern logo that captures the DNA of your organization’s values and ethos. This document ensures that all print and digital media is uniform in look and clean.  While you might be thinking, “this is absurd” keep in mind that churches harness influence by their ability to communicate Truth. By having excellence in branding, it helps highlight what we’re attempting to say.

What does your building space communicate?

Our buildings are communicating, in fact—they are shouting to those passing by exactly what you value. Have you ever thought about how many people drive by your church building? It’s daunting to think of the opportunities we have to exemplify our Creator simply by what our building says.  I’d suggest that most of us find value with our eyes.  I am not alone when saying that I totally judge a book by its cover.  If I’m walking through Target and I see a brand with clean lines, and clean logo—I want to buy it.  So is true with restaurants.  I’m telling you–and maybe I’m vain–but a TOP TEIR CHEF can create a masterpiece for my mouth, but if the aesthetics in the restaurant doesn’t match what I’m about to eat, I’m not going to like it as much.  Our space says what we value.  When a guest arrives at your house, you attempt to clean; you want things to be in order.  When people walk into your home, you want them to feel as though you were expecting them and accepting them.  Our church buildings are no different.  We must create space for hospitality in the cleanliness and good design.  Our signs on the street must match the vision of our organization.  In addition, our worship spaces should create a distraction-free connection to God.

Ew, paper bulletins.

Paper is so 1993.  I’m going to be honest—it’s not being a good steward of our resources when we print on paper, nor are we caring well for our environment.  How much money is your church spending on paper? I am willing to bet that if you flipped through the pages of the bibles of your parishioners or looked in the backseat of their car you will see at least two bulletins.  Don’t even start looking in the trash cans after church; you will see how much paper being wasted. The truth is that announcements will stick more if you utilize social media and you cast good vision from the stage.  Clear communication and vision are essential to framing the events in your church.

Try doing experiments with me, sit down and intentionally craft out your announcements. Use slides and software like ProPresenter to have announcements streaming as people are walking in.  Don’t pass out a paper bulletin and see if your congregation attends events anymore or any less.  Make sure you give yourself a good runway to sell the event, don’t sell an event that is happening the next day, trust me then men’s pancake breakfast committee will be bummed.

Do you have an idea for better communication? I’d love to hear.  We can all learn together and be better for it.