Church Image: How to Communicate What You’re All About
“Image is everything,” or so we are told by the advertising industry. And while this may not be true, it is still important for churches to be aware of their perception in the community. Whether you’re trying to “shake” an old image or create a brand-new one, establishing an identity for your church that reflects your ministry is the first step to effective outreach.
The cornerstone to your church’s image is your logo. Your church’s logo is the first, and sometimes, only impression most people will have of your church. What does it say about you? Does it say you’re in step with today’s society and ready to meet them at their point of need, or does it say your church hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years? Before a person will visit your church, they must develop a positive impression about your church, and that begins with your graphic identity. Your logo has incredible power to convey the message of your church and identify just who it is you’re trying to reach.
- Step 1 — Evaluate where you are now gather samples of everything that has your name and logo on it. Spread them out on a table and take a good look. Then, answer these questions: Do they use the same logo and colors? Are they coordinated? Is the overall impression the one you want to make? Does your logo reflect who you want to attract? Have you changed/updated your logo’s colors or graphics in the last 10 years? If you answered no to one or more questions, your church may be suffering from an identity crisis. Perhaps it’s time to get some professional help. There is enormous value in having a good visual identity professionally designed for your church, one where the artwork is clear, clean and uncluttered, and where the type is modern and easy-to-read. First, it creates a sense of pride for members. Second, potential attenders will take notice, changing their perceptions of the church.
- Step 2 – Who are we? As you begin to seek out a new identity, start by asking these important questions: What do we want our church to be known for? What are our core values? What are our key ministries and programs? Who are we trying to reach?
- Step 3 – Define your mission take the answers to the questions posed above and lay a path for your future efforts by formulating a mission statement that conveys to outsiders what the church is all about.
- Step 4 – Target your message – today’s society is diverse and fragmented. While your goal may be to reach everyone in your community, you may be more successful targeting a specific subgroup. Here are some suggestions: Millenials, EchoBoomers, Gen Y’ers – This group includes teens through young 20-somethings. Busters, Generation X, Post Moderns – This group includes adults up to 40 years of age. Baby Boomers – Currently the majority of Americans. This group is between 40 and 60 years old. Builders – These are the oldest Americans. Generally, church is still an integral part of their lives.
- Step 5 – Believer vs. Unbeliever. You must also decide if your church has a real heart for reaching the unbeliever. Be very honest here. Some churches are better focused on meeting the needs of the growing, maturing believer, while others look to introduce the unbeliever to Christ. This decision will have a tremendous impact on the overall tone and ministries of your church. For example, unbelievers don’t understand “church speak.” The language and terms used by the church must be tailored to mesh with the outside, secular world.
- Step 6 – To the drawing board by giving careful consideration to all of the questions above, you can then work with a professional designer to craft the graphic image that best captures the essence of who you are and who you want to be. While hiring a professional designer is a logical step to take when developing a new logo, you may want to consider consulting a company like Outreach Inc., which specializes in church communication tools. Outreach offers both custom logo designs and semi-custom logos, which can be developed for your church at a fraction of the cost of custom logo design.
- Step 7 – One good use deserves another. The resulting logo should then be used on every printed and electronic piece, including letterhead, envelopes, website, social media, business cards, invitation cards, mailing labels, Sunday program, newsletter masthead, advertising, signage and note cards. The cumulative effect will be a synergy that gives a greater life to the body of your graphic identity than could be established individually. You will have successfully created a unique church identity and name recognition.