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Church Design Help for Non-Designers with Raj Lulla & Ben Lueders

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Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. Today we have Ben Lueders and Raj Lulla with us from the design company Fruitful Design. The company works with churches to help them reach the visual learners in the congregation.

Raj and Ben are with us today to talk about why good design is important in churches and what churches should be thinking about design-wise as they communicate to people in the congregation and community.

  • Consistency in branding. // When starting to give attention to your design work, the first thing for a church to focus on is its branding. Consistency in what you put out in front of people is key to the level of trust they feel with you. Good design is important in the church because it gives people the “experience” before they have the experience within your church. What people see on your website, social media pages, signs, logos, and more can help people know what the weekend experience will be like.
  • Discover your brand. // Going through the branding self-discovery process and turning that into a visual representation of who you are does a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to identifying who you are reaching out to in your community. Fruitful Design develops brand manuals with their clients to help create the look that reaches out to the people they are focused on. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple brand experience.
  • Tools to start with. // If you’re not ready to bring on a creative director or purchase something like Photoshop for your design work, try starting with Canva. Canva offers a free version with a lot of basic templates that make drag and drop design very easy for the user. For websites, Raj and Ben recommend Squarespace because it is easy to use and does well at keeping out hackers. WordPress is also used by some clients, but it can be harder to use for those who might not be as tech savvy.
  • 50% photos and 50% text. // No matter how good the wording is on your website, paragraphs of straight text on the site aren’t the way to get people interested in learning more. Be sure to intersperse visually interesting and engaging photos in with a sparse amount of text. It’s okay to use stock photos on your website to make a connection with your audience. Ben recommends Unsplash and Lightstock, which offers Christian photos. Additionally, Life.Church offers their series graphics for free after they finish using them, so that’s a place to get images for sermon series. You don’t have to use their sermon content; you can just use their graphics.
  • Make use of email. // If you’re not using email often, Ben recommends that you start. In the retail world, social media has about 1/10th of 1% conversion rate, meaning that out of 10,000 people on social media only 1 will result in a sale. But an email list has about 1% click through rate—out of 100 people on the email list 1 person will buy something. Everyone may not see your posts in social media, but you are sending messages to directly to people through email. Try using MailChimp as a way to send out email to groups of people.
  • Make communications jobs clear. // One of the biggest mistakes churches make is to hire a communications director or graphic designer and expect them to handle several different creative and communications roles that may be outside of their area of expertise. Shift away from thinking that you’ll find the perfect person to do four different jobs yet work on a church employee’s salary. The better approach is to find a pastorally-hearted person who will manage a team of volunteers to work on these various creative projects. Another option is to outsource the entire approach to an outside team of professionals.

You can download Church Design Tricks for Non-Designers here, and you can learn more about Fruitful Design at www.fruitful.design.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.