Creating a unified community out of a diverse assortment of visitors and members is a major goal for many churches. While one of the great aspects of a church body is its collection of individuals with unique gifts and varied backgrounds, the way to unify all those different people into one church family can be elusive. Churches offer complimentary coffee in the lobby, employ greeters and create outreach programs. However, in these efforts to create a sense of belonging, church signage is often overlooked. Using experiential design and wayfinding, you can create a welcoming and inclusive space in your church and generate a sense of place and community.
Effective church signage is an excellent way for you to welcome people into your church and create a sense of place and belonging amongst your church’s congregation. When people think of church signage they are generally thinking about big, attention-grabbing exterior signage. That’s for good reason. Exterior church signage is usually someone’s first impression of your church. In fact, studies show that 72 percent of people decide to enter a facility based on exterior signage alone. Exterior signage is a great tool to attract people to your church, and once people have been drawn into your church, it’s the role of interior signage and design to carry the majority of the load in developing a sense of place and welcome inside your church. Here are five ways that interior church signage can make your church more welcoming and enhance the experience of its members.
- Light the way. Few things make someone feel like more of an outsider than being unfamiliar or even lost. Churches are often larger buildings with multiple entrances and different areas. The risk of newcomers and even long term members of your church getting directionally confused is greatly reduced when wayfinding design is implemented. Improved wayfinding signsthat clearly indicates and provides direction to places such as children areas, Sunday School rooms, the sanctuary and bathrooms are crucial to helping create a welcoming environment. Just as a shepherd guides their flock. You can guide your church flock with the implementation of effective and engaging wayfinding signage.
- Don’t hide your message. It is very important that your church’s signage is placed in areas where people can easily view them. You can have the most fantastic church signs in the world, but if they are not placed in the proper areas, their message will not be received. Just as you shouldn’t hide your light under a basket, don’t hide your church’s signs in areas with low foot traffic. Consider placing signs around parking lots, entrances, hallway intersections and outside of doors, elevators and stairways.
- Live the Word. Congregations can sometimes get uncomfortable when looking at their church as a business that needs to be branded. When done in poor taste, church branding can definitely feel off-puttingly commercial. That being said, every church has a brand. Every church has a purpose, a unique community and a story to tell. Think of that purpose and community as your church’s brand. Your church’s brand should be represented in all of its signage. By having signage that properly communicates the brand, you can create a sense of purpose in your church. Your congregation can all be unified into one community with one great purpose.
- Share the good news. Church signage can be one of your greatest tools in keeping everyone up to date on what’s going on at your church. Active churches have lots of great events and programs to get involved in and it’s super important that people feel invited and welcomed to participate in them. One way to do that is by using signage to create an information hub somewhere in your church (that doesn’t mean having a cork board somewhere in your church covered in dozens of pinned up fliers). Consult with a qualified signmaker to create on-brand, engaging and comprehensive signage that will keep visitors and regular members included and informed about the exciting things your church has going on.
- Design every experience. For example, your kids’ areas should be child friendly. Avoid sterile classrooms that are not welcoming. Interactive stations and the use of color makes children comfortable in their surroundings. If the kids love going to church, you’ve won half the battle.
No matter the size of your church, it is important that it has a rich and developed community.Work with a qualified signmaker to create engaging and effective church signage that can transform your church into the welcoming and inclusive place it was always intended to be, and give your church a sense of place and purpose.