Church Design Envy

I just read a great UU newsletter from a congregation with a very familiar design — from the late 80s.

  • Microsoft Word
  • One Column
  • 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Bold Titles
  • Ancient clipart

I know its hard. I’m married to a minister. I worked in my home congregation. I’ve been around…

But I’ve been training hard to develop an eye like a newcomer and I’ve come to realize how much the details and all around excellence matter.   I imagine a person church shopping. He find a congregation with a mediocre website, decide it isn’t THAT bad. Then he clicks on the most recent newsletter and —

If you can’t publish a decent newsletter, will you be able to help me raise my children to have great values?  Will your minister know how to preach?  Do you get it at all. Do you even care?

I know YOU care.  But do your publications communicate this?

From time to time I have Christian Ministry DESIGN ENVY.  I get all sorts of catalogs in the mail from Christian resource outlets.  So many of the products they carry have amazing design.  And its not just the  resources, there are churches out there with amazing stunning publications.

Have you seen the Church Marketing Lab (beta) on Flickr?  This is a photo/image sharing group displaying over 6,000 images of various publications, graphics, and now video, used in church marketing.  Check it out.

I know, I know.  Many  of these churches have more staff. More money.   They are also coordinated enough to share campaigns and marketing materials.

If you have an amazing UU publication, tell us about it. We’d love to see what you’ve produced.

I’ll hold up an example.  I’ve noticed that sermons from  Pathways Church in Texas have  jazzy titles and related imagery at the front of each video.  As I add videos to I have noticed these intro designs pull me in. They also stand out because hardly any other UU congregations are doing this. I like it because it shows care and it makes it possible to tell the sermons apart.  Take a look…

2 thoughts on “Church Design Envy

  1. You’ve hit on a something that has bothered me for a long time. Whenever I go to more conservative churches I notice the well organized and high tech details everywhere from their publications to the sound systems in the sanctuary.

    They do things right and up to date.

    Then, whenever I visit a UU church its as if we are proud to do things on the cheap and in an off hand way.

    Microphones don’t work, literature tables are filled with faded materials comingled with materials from a thousand groups besides ours….the websites of some of our churches have boring layouts with out of date “news”. Heck even the Pathways example you linked to has a sermon on 10/11/09 that has the volume so low you can’t hear what was being said.

    Its disheartening. The question is what do we need to change our culture and clean up our act so that we are more appealing and presentable to newcomers?

    I worry we are fast on our way to becoming as irrelevant as the old Christian Science reading rooms.

    In faith,

    David Boyer

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