Let me begin with a confession. I’m a pastor, I am not a designer. In fact, I have to admit that I actually suck at design. But, my saving grace is that I have a huge amount of respect for people with God-given gifts in graphic design. I recognize the blessings to have been privileged to work with some of best designers in the context of the local church.
Recently, a comment made by a designer friend prompted me to seriously consider many of the issues that seem to face designers in the church. She said the worst part about being a designer is when people don’t like your work.
That got me reflecting about how often the designers in the churches that I have known talk about the issues they have dealing with church leadership and senior pastors. I wonder if this is simply an issue of communication glitches, because we have more in common than we realize. These are, I believe, three big issues we have in common:
It sucks when people don’t like your work.
Designer: You put your heart and soul into a design, and it hurts when people don’t “get” it.
Pastor: You pour yourself into your sermons, and sometimes people just don’t get it. It hurts for you, too.
Everything is “last minute.”
Designer: You can’t do your best work because everything is a rush job.
Pastor: Crisis management comes with the suit/robes/fancy shirt. Also: Funerals are almost always unexpected (and they seem to come in sets of three)!
Everyone else “knows” how to do your job.
Designer: Every person in the church gets to tell you about the colors they would have picked, or how it could be better. None of these people have a background in design beyond “clipart.”
Pastor: Everyone in the church is a theologian. They also know how to administrate everything, plan the event better and, in general, have a solution for everything.
The things we have in common are greater than the things that separate us. Pastors, remember that your designer has a ministry that is just as significant as yours. They deserve respect because of that. Don’t second guess them the same way that people do you.
Designers, love your pastors. They are on the front lines and taking hits all the time. Pray for them, and make them funny shirts and birthday cards. We love that stuff.
Everyone: Remember, it’s not about us and it’s all about Jesus.