Does design matter to Millennials?
I’m a Young Adult Pastor for a large church. But I’ve worked for churches large and small all over the country, and there’s one thing I’ve done that has CONSISTENTLY gotten results.
I have the advantage of knowing my way around Photoshop and worked as a web designer before entering ministry. And I thank God every day for those years because design has absolutely impacted the reach of my ministry, time and again.
Have a missions trip for students? A good design doubled our registrations from previous years.
Want to launch a second or third campus? Good design attracts attention and increases excitement.
New sermon series? A design can bring in new people… or push them away.
Here’s my theory: design makes things feel more legitimate. A good design makes someone think “Hmm, they know what they’re doing.” We see this in Jesus’ life in a similar, but different, way. Again and again, people are amazed by his teachings “because he taught as one who had authority” (Matt. 7:29). There’s something about authority and legitimacy that sends a subconscious message to people. It says “there is something worthwhile here.”
(On the flip side, this is why it’s also so troublesome when someone speaks with confidence but doesn’t have a clue about the topic in which they exude confidence).
Imagine if Jesus had spoken, but with feelings of inadequacy or nervousness. It’s ridiculous to think of Jesus this way, I know. But the point I’m trying to make is that Jesus could have literally said the exact same words in a different way and people would have received it differently. Can you imagine the Sermon on the Mount mumbled with nervousness? It wouldn’t have had quite the same reception.
The same is true of design and emerging generations. A poor design is like delivering a sermon you don’t believe in. It’s like smiling without anything reaching your eyes. But a good design paired with something meaningful evokes emotion in people.
And the good news is this: you don’t have to be a designer to start utilizing good design. We’ve compiled a few suggestions that can help partner your church with great design.
Need a photo for that next event? While photos of your own community are always the best option, Unsplash has a simple motto. It offers “free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.” Seems too good to be true? We pulled this from their website:
“All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.” Thank you, Unsplash.com!
2. Word Swag
Made for both iPhone and Android, Word Swag allows you to add words to images in just seconds. They have a great selection of fonts and designs. You just need to pick your favorite! I use this weekly for social media posts promoting ministry activities. Here’s one we used for our Young Adult ministry a few weeks ago.
You may or may not have downloaded, YouVersion, the most popular Bible app on the internet. But what you may NOT have known is that you can get great amazing design for any scripture passage. A pastor friend of mine generates these weekly to tie into his sermon. And they look great. Here’s another example!
Just select a verse, and look for the word “image” below. The app will given you countless options of designs for your passage.
These are just a few options to tinker with this week. Remember, design isn’t the end-all! It’s not the solution to reaching millennials. But it WILL add a special spark to your ministries. And you might find you attract a few sets of eyes that used to pass over some great ministry opportunities.