Design on a Dime
If it can be said that America runs on Dunkin, then it can also be said that the church runs on Graphics!
That’s right, almost everything we do these days in ministry requires a graphic. Wether we want to tell students to silence their phones, or remind them of an upcoming event we need something to put on the screens. If it’s a sermon series we then need 2 graphics, title slide and teaching slide, of course countdown and bumper video, and maybe even a “Thanks for Coming” in the same vein.
In my opinion, getting custom work done really is one of the best ways to meet all your needs. The reason is stated in my previous statement, it will meet all of your needs. What you need and want can be custom to you, tailor made for your worship experience. And because it’s done by professionals, you know it will be great quality work.
However, this isn’t always the best option for the budget, which in student ministry, has to be split a lot of different ways. So here are my top 3 tips to help you, Design on a Dime aka on a tight budget.
1. Design It In House – Honestly the best way to get exactly what you want and for the right cost, is to have someone on your team create this. Churches today are starting to see a real benefit in having some type of communications team available to the staff.
Maybe it’s a graphic designer, or someone who has an artistic eye. If they can produce this stuff for you, let them do it. It will take something off of your plate, and it will probably come out better than you trying to make something because of their talent in this area.
If you don’t have anyone on your staff that does this type of work, fear not, theres still hope!
Two other options are:
a. find a student in your ministry who is expressing an interest in graphic design and let them start to make some of your work
b. learn to do some of this yourself.
This can seem like a super daunting task, but with a little bit of practice, even you can become a good [enough] artistic touch. I once wrote a (very long) blog post about apps you can use as a substitute for smaller and simpler projects. Apps like Word Swag, Over, Canva (which is free for non-profits and has some graphic design training) and even Pages on your Mac. A lot of these programs also contain templates to start from and build off of.
2. Find Ready Made Media – The second tip is simply to look for websites that sell pre made Worship Media. We sell a ton on our site for both churches and student ministries. Now a days there are so many different places to purchase these. Essentially they are graphics packages for a sermon series. It might have a different title and look than yours, but you can probably find something that fits what you are doing.
These vary in price and content. Some have a lot of video components, some have a lot of range (from screen graphic to ready to print bulletin covers). Some have teaching outlines, while others have full manuscripts.
The most important thing to look for when purchasing ready to use Worship Media, are ones that contain editable files (usually Photoshop or Illustrator or even video files). This means you cold tweak an element of the design or get someone to help you to do this. If a series has a slightly different title than yours, you can just edit part of it. Maybe the tag line doesn’t match yours, change it! Or maybe you want to use your own photo in the background, you can do that too.
3. Consider the Reach of the Event – When it’s all said and done, you will need to use graphics for so many things. Message and preaching, event promotions, social media posts, printed calendars or bulletins etc.. what helps me is to keep in mind the reach of the event. Not all events are created equally and some needs are quick and simple, while others are more elaborate. Let me explain.
If I am promoting something simple like a time change for a Bible study, I might make a quick and simple graphic on a phone app, post it on a social media story and boom, I’m done. If I have a weekend “discipleship now” type of event I will be willing to have something custom designed. The main difference is that the weekend event will reach more students, it will possibly contain a design for a tshirt, stickers or other extras. Having the right file size and quality design is crucial. For this, I may be willing to spend more money on a design package.
If you can consider the reach of the event and therefore the importance of the marketing of it, it will help you decide how to better spend your budget. For something simple and easy you can try buying some ready made Worship Media, if it’s your biggest event of the year, then it might be worth letting the pros handle the designs.
At the end of the day it’s important to remember we are youth pastors first. An event doesn’t hinge on quality of graphics, but these certainly play their part in our Student Worship Experiences. If you have to choose, make your your message and night are planned well, but in the pursuit of excellence, be sure give some consideration to your design work as well.