Can design make it easier to find God?

Imagine visiting a new city and trying to find anything without the help of Google Maps. Would you feel frustrated? Lost? Wondering how people ever found their way before 2005?!

That’s pretty much how church newcomers feel on Sunday mornings.

Visitors often arrive at a new church nervous, uncomfortable and a bit lost. They have questions: ­Will the people be accepting? How long will service last? Is this a good fit for my family and me? Will there be communion? How will I know the words to the songs and prayers? When do I stand up and sit down? Is there a place for my kids?

These uncertainties are only natural, but which entrance to use shouldn’t be one of the questions they’re faced with.

I mean, if they can’t find the front door, how will they find God?

People want to feel welcome, at peace and embraced!  Yes, your friendly door greeters play an important role in welcoming guests, but a secret weapon that the most successful churches use to make this happen is DESIGN.  Specifically, experience design complemented by a great signage plan.

Check out this project, which began when West Side Christian Church (WSCC) in Springfield, IL took a critical look at their newcomer experience.

The people at WSCC couldn’t be any nicer. Their service is spirit-filled, well thought out and inspiring. Their campus … not so much. Unless, of course, you enjoy worshiping in a building that is reminiscent of an office complex.

West Side Christian Church, BEFORE

The church had grown, resulting in building additions, but also an unanticipated side effect: newcomer confusion. There were three large entrances but no indication of which was the main entrance or what happened at each.

Enter BLDD’s branded environments team (cue the superhero music)!

  • Monument signage to connect with passers by on the busy road
  • Distinctly named entrances, clearly identified
  • Directional signage that includes programs and age group placement
  • Powerful interior environmental graphics
WSCC work to date_Feb2018_Page_4
WSCC work to date_Feb2018_Page_5
WSCC work to date_Feb2018_Page_6

And even though some of the project is still under construction (I’ll update with great pics when it’s done!), already the journey at WSCC feels completely different.

It’s like being taken by the hand and given a warm hug before you even get to the front door. What a refreshing way to start off your Sunday morning, and hopefully your new faith journey!

You guys, can we have a little moment of silence to bask in the awesomeness of the power of great design??!!

OK, back to business. 🙂

Does your church need better environmental branding? Here’s how to tell: Invite a friend who hasn’t been to your church before to give you a new perspective. Don’t give them directions or make excuses, just listen to the questions they ask about how to get where they’re going. Even better, write their questions down! You may be surprised by their observations.

Then give me a call. I’ll help you simplify a newcomer’s first experience with your church, making it all the more likely they will come back, and most importantly, find their way to God.


Jessica Whitlock, Associate
Director of Marketing


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