Beauty, Trust and PowerPoint Slides

This article was originally published in the July/August 2014 issue of Christian Leader Magazine.

 

Does it matter what fonts you use in your church PowerPoint slides? Why do I spend days—and nights—working on a sanctuary stage design? Why spend hours editing video when many people would be fine with the raw footage?

I do these things because beauty and quality are important. I believe beauty makes us feel comfortable, and quality helps us trust. When people come to our churches we want them to feel comfortable enough to be authentic and trust us enough to listen to our teaching.

Beauty makes us comfortable

How do you describe how it feels to watch a great film, listen to your favorite album or see a beautiful piece of art? Even on frustrating and busy days, these things bring at least a little bit of joy, don’t they? Something about beauty helps us breathe deeper and relax our shoulders. There’s a reason why we decorate our homes and offices. Especially as our lives get more hectic, we desire serenity. It’s much easier to focus and relax in a space that feels harmonious.

This is one reason why we put effort into making our churches visually appealing. If our church postcards exclusively use Comic Sans (don’t even get me started), hallways are oversaturated with mismatched posters and our stage is covered in messy cords and cables, this level of chaos is just one more obstacle we’re asking guests to overcome before hearing our message. Beauty and organization can be the first step to helping our guests really listen—and not just hear—the good news.

Quality helps us trust

When making big decisions in life, what kinds of things do you look for when comparing people or businesses to trust?

Let’s say you’re looking at two different websites trying to decide where to send your kids to preschool. One site has a really nice design with colors that blend well, lots of bright photos of smiling kids and a page where you can read about the teachers. Overall, everything appears put-together. The other site is full of orange and green backgrounds with red text and at least five different fonts. The photos are obviously pulled at random from Google Images, several words are misspelled and you can’t even find the address or phone number for the school.

Which preschool are you more likely to trust? Probably the first one, even though someone’s ability to design a website has no correlation to the ability to teach children the alphabet.

Why is that? We tend to trust people and organizations that take time to notice the little things. If a church is diligent enough to care about fonts, spellings and colors, it isn’t as hard to believe that it is also going to provide good care for your children in the nursery and that people there will take the time to ask how your job is really going.

I know your days are busy, but next time you’re designing a flyer for a church event or sprucing up your church lobby, remember that people notice beauty and appreciate good quality. We should stand out amongst the clutter in the world and be known as people that provide a peaceful and comforting place to experience the Savior.

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