I’ve been a fan of graphic art all my life. When I was 10 it was comic books. I vividly remember walking into the grocery store near my house and picking up an issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Seeing illustrations of Spidey swinging through the streets of New York City was life changing. I immediately wanted to recreate the art I found on the pages of that comic book, so I began drawing.
I still have the first illustration I did of “Wolf-Spider”, a character my 10-year-old mind thought was totally original and not like Spider-Man at all. He’s twisted in the same way that Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen drew the Web-Head in the 90’s. He’s flanked by buildings on either side of him and swinging on a collision course with the viewer. This image left an indelible mark on me and I wouldn’t be who I am without having seen it.
Design in the Church
I grew up in the South and as such I’ve been exposed to a multitude of believers with very fundamentalist ideas. You’d be surprised how many people believe that good design in the Church is a waste of time. Some believe it’s too flashy and doesn’t have a place. The opposite exists as well, in which a church might go overboard and focus way too much on making their church look “cool” and the narrative gets lost. The most shining examples of great design will communicate and inspire.
This can happen in your church.
Good design has the ability to spark creativity within people. Even if a person is not an artist we all have the capacity to create or be inspired by someone’s creation. I know it’s very easy to think that it’s “just another” sermon series or “just another” youth event, but they’re all opportunities. Images can affect how people relate to your church and the message that God has given to the people in it.
Here are 3 ways good design will impact your church:
- Design exists to communicate. Colossians 4:6 says “Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.” We’re urged to create an appealing package when we present the gospel. The purpose of design is to convey a message quickly and we can do this most effectively if a person is drawn to the message visually.
- Stories are best told through metaphors. Matthew 19:24 says “In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.” Jesus uses a word picture to create a metaphor that describes the battle between the love of God and the love of money. There is much opportunity in good design to do the same by relating a complicated message through an image.
- Creating is worship. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says “When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God.” We are meant to do all things in an attempt to honor God. This includes branding a sermon series or creating a logo for your youth director that for some reason can’t get the word “ignite” out of their head. When you give an artist the opportunity to create, you are giving them the opportunity to worship.
My hope is that I can maintain these principles as I create and lead those who create with me. I still want to innovate and make the art look great, but, my prayer is, that I do it for the glory of God every single time.