Nate Lu: Creatives and Churches Have More in Common Than Not

Nate Lu: Creatives and Churches Have More in Common Than Not

January 16, 2018 by

Nate Lu is an award winning creative strategist, thought leader, art director, and now board member with our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication (CFCC).

He brings more than 15 years of experience in the design industry with a passion for teaching and mentoring. Nate serves as the executive director for Spire, a nonprofit partnering with CFCC, and teaches senior branding and UI/UX courses at Azusa Pacific University.

Nate joined our board earlier this year. Despite juggling a new baby (not literally!), Nate took some time to share his thoughts on church communication with us.

What’s the single greatest thing you think churches can do to communicate better? Try.

What have you seen churches doing lately that’s exciting?

From my own church to churches of varying sizes and locales, I see healing happening between creatives and the church. Relationships that were once missing, strained, or neglected are giving way to experiments of not just co-existence, but empowerment and ownership when it comes to the embodiment of faith and creativity.

A lot of that has to do with the evolving and recognizable role of design and communication in today’s church communities, but I believe this is also a byproduct of a newer and deeper understanding of the benefits of creativity and a societal appreciation for the unknown.

As someone who has witnessed firsthand the challenges of being a creative and what that means to belong in the church, this is a new day.

Tell us about the work you’re doing with Spire and how that fits with local churches and how they communicate.

For Spire, our goal is simple: curate, moderate, and instigate action within the next generation of creatives in the church.

With original content like designer testimonies on our site to hosted events like branding hackathons for nonprofits, Spire encourages up and coming talent in design and communication to see how their faith and professional identity can be the same. In doing so, we wish to see the professional creative landscape bowed for the kingdom. Design is really in a golden age from experiential branding to product UI/UX and as it continues to act as a communication bridge, it is also becoming a marketplace differentiator.

As designers and communicators launch their professional careers, we want to see the local church benefit from these ideologies.

What’s the single greatest thing you think churches can do to communicate better?

Try. Ironically, this is something that the church and creatives have in common: fear of failure.

Just as designers and creatives need to risk new ways of communicating, the church has little to lose in taking a look at how they can communicate better. The reality is that we’re covered by God’s grace anyway, so I fail to see the downside of just going for it more often than not!

“The church should birth and originate new ways of interaction.” -Nate Lu

What do you see in the future of church communication?

Computers. Just kidding!

Whereas I think the church continues to do a good job of borrowing from the tools of existing platforms, we are not a hotbed of innovation when it comes to creating new ways of thinking about age-old problems—despite belonging to the original startup.

Often times, these solutions are seemingly crafted on the outside looking in, but when you think of the church in the times of the Renaissance and how it catalyzed a creative revolution in visual communication from those within the church, why not a return to that spirit?

I see a lot of innovation happening on the outside that embodies Christian values, but the church should birth and originate new ways of interaction—we need to lead what it means to communicate again.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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