Design Basics: Put Yourself in the Pew & Feel What They Feel

Design Basics: Put Yourself in the Pew & Feel What They Feel

March 19, 2014 by

Art in the church has come a long way. Most of what we produce is comparable to what’s available in the marketplace. The things we design and put out there look better than ever.

In large part I think it’s because most church communicators and artists have mastered asking and addressing these two questions when producing graphics, videos, dramas, print pieces, etc.: “Who’s the target audience?” and “What do we want them to do?” This is the standard approach for advertising where the goal is to convince someone to do something.

A New Question
It’s a good habit to always ask those two questions before starting a creative project. But I’ve recently discovered a key question that, when posed, takes my art to a whole new level: What do I want the audience to feel?

Adding the third question to my creative process has reshaped me as an artist. I am producing better art and getting more meaningful responses from our audience. It even leveraged a deeper level of buy-in and engagement for our creative elements with the pastors I support. It tees them up better to cast their God-inspired vision.

But simply asking the question and looking for creative solutions to provoke an emotional response isn’t enough.

Going to God First

This year, I had to relearn how to do my job when God led me through a process to help me pray before I think, instead of developing a strategy and then asking God to bless it. I learned to seek him first through adoration, worship, and crying out to hear his heart and direction before starting.

Church creatives, we have the most compelling message about God’s love and mercy for humanity. And we have the most deeply moving story, a love story between our heavenly Daddy and us, through a redemptive relationship with Jesus.

Do you remember what it felt like when God saved you? What did it feel like when you were hurting and desperate and needing God? How does it feel to be overwhelmed by his enormous love? Have you recently cried out to him on behalf of the people you are serving or for your family or friends?

Feeling God Ourselves

You can’t give what you don’t have. Authentic emotional depth in your art will only happen as a result of an overflow of your personal ministry. Good luck getting your audience to experience something you’ve never experienced.

By consistently engaging our heart with God’s through prayer and meditating on his Word, we can reach people more effectively with compelling art that moves people at a deep emotional level.

More: Check out the rest of our Design Basics series.

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Kelvin Co

Kelvin Co gets to do what he loves as the creative arts pastor of The Oaks Fellowship located in the Dallas Metroplex area. Kelvin has been doing life together with his wife and best friend Lucy since 1991, and they have been doting on and pouring into their son Luc since 2002.
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