By Vince Williams
June 7, 2010
Every church has to find times to compromise.
Now, I’m not talking about doctrine. Practically speaking, you simply can’t do everything well all the time. Unfortunately, if we compromise in a particular area for too long we can end up off balance and with substantial gaps in our ministry.
I believe that we as the Church have opted to compromise in the area of visual communication for far too long. We have allowed small amounts of money and/or time to become a huge stumbling block in the perception of our local communities. We have decided that the extra effort of incorporating quality into our communication is simply not worth the reward. And I think that’s a mistake.
Put yourself in the shoes of the non-Christians you want to reach. Where should they turn for answers to their questions on spiritual health? The building with the rag tag signs and tape hiding previous event dates, or the church that has put effort into the way it looks? Would you go to a doctor who printed his business cards on cheap paper on a laser printer? You are in the business of spiritual health, and how you look will play a part in establishing your credibility.
People need to know that you care. And part of that process is putting in the time and money to prove it. I work with many ministries that feel it is simply easier and more flexible to do their printing in-house, and that’s true: it is easier. But unless your church has spent the money upfront for good printing gear, and has an in-depth knowledge of design and textiles, it won’t look as good. It’s a compromise that is simply not worth your reputation.
I recently attended a church that created all of their youth ministry postcard-sized invitations on their color printer. It was obvious: bad paper stock, deep saturations of color that look bad through a laser printer, and sloppy cut edges to remove the white bleed. It all added up to a less-than-impressive communication tool. Worst of all, it was for a youth event. Kids are born into this new visual world. If you don’t put in the effort to give them something impressive, they’ll check out pretty fast.
Look around the world in which we live today. It is a very visual place. And the quality of visuals will help a person determine your level of trustworthiness.
Right up front, I said, “Every church has to find times to compromise.” The question is, when? The church I attended spent 15¢ per postcard to print fliers on their laser printer, once you take into account maintenance contracts, toner and paper. They could have purchased those same cards from SermonView for 16¢ each, and they would have looked substantially better—with a lot less volunteer labor.
Compromise is inevitable. Understanding how to make excellent decisions regarding your church printing takes some practice. But solving this challenge of the modern church may very well be the difference between stagnation and growth with your body.