Archives for August 2009

Feeling Welcomed

A story regarding education on today’s National Public Radio stated that even in overly large classrooms, when the teacher stands outside the door and greets students as they come in,  they feel more welcomed and individualized.

Such a simple thing. And so very true.

As adults, we haven’t outgrown the need to feel welcomed. Isn’t it nice when the pastor greets you at the church door? And what about members of the congregation? Isn’t welcoming to have them receive you as well?

Such a simple way of communicating the love of Christ. Welcome!

St. Mark’s School Year Calendar

print8.18.09 Talk about a fun project!

This spring I met with students in grades 3-8 from St. Mark’s Lutheran School, Watertown, WI. I asked them to be “investigative reporters,” and their assignment was to interview a parent, grandparent, or anyone who had previously graduated from St. Mark’s School. I then asked them to write a “Remembering St. Mark’s” story based on their interview.

Meanwhile, the younger grades did some fantastic artwork. They colored pictures of their favorite memory of St. Mark’s.

These interesting stories and cute pictures are the content for St. Mark’s 2009-2010 school year calendar. I must say the students did a great job. They made my job of creating the final product loads of fun. It’s a beautiful calendar!

The Art of Illumination

Tuk e vzproizveden list ot Kru... Digital ID: 1551201. New York Public Library

Tuk e v"zproizveden list ot "Krupnishkoto" evangelie (vzh. list 3, 4).Digital ID: 1551201. New York Public Library

I’m reading a book that’s totally awakened me to an art form I previously knew little about.

The book is Graphic Design and Religion: A Call for Renewal, by Daniel Kantor. The art is a historical technique known as illumination.

Illumination is commonly associated with Middle to Renaissance Age religious manuscripts. Considered the most sacred of all documents, these manuscripts were embellished with decorative borders, elaborate initials and detailed illustrations. Because artists created them in gold, silver and other brilliant colors, they appeared illuminated on the animal skin pages.

The Slavic piece shown here, exquisite as it is, is a somewhat muted example (it’s the only image I could find with copyright permissions). Comparatively, works such as de Brailes Hours or Biblia pauperum, two of many listed in the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, are much more intense. Imagine the time and discipline that went into creating any of these beautiful works of art!

While illuminations, as an art form, are fascinating, I’m most inspired by the ideals they represent.

Kantor described the illuminators as the finest of artists who remained “lifelong students of their craft” and “eschewed shortcuts that compromised aesthetic integrity.” They chose the most quality materials available to create visuals for a largely illiterate population—visuals that, as much as humanly possible, communicated the divinity of Christ.

Illuminators saw their work as “a ministry worthy of their best efforts,” writes Kantor.

The techniques we use today certainly have changed the way we visually communicate our faith. Graphic design and commercial printing are light-years away from those hand-rendered illuminations. Yet the ideals are still the same. The time we spend training and conceptualizing, the quality of materials we use and the dedication we apply to our work, all reflect the reverence we hold to Christ.

Communicating Christ, after all, is a ministry worthy of our best efforts.

Twittering for Christ

Last Thursday, the world was Twitterless for a day. Supposedly, we nearly fell apart. What is this Twitter we hear so much about? Is it something we can use for Christ?

Twitter is one of the many forms of social media communication. It’s mini-messaging to subscribers. Or it’s abbreviated blogging to the cyberworld. It’s a free, easy and quick way to get your message out to the masses—140 characters quick, in fact, meaning you can only use up to 140 letters and spaces to write your message, a.k.a. as a tweet.

At first, Twitter may seem kind of stupid. I mean, does the world really care what each of us is doing (the initial question users answer)? But wait. According to The New York Times, 45 million people are “legitimate visitors.” If that’s true, perhaps Twitter’s not such a stupid way to reach the tech savvy crowd in your congregation or the world with your message of Christ.

Here’s how some churches and individuals are Twittering for Christ:

Twitter Prayers: like an old-fashioned prayer chain, only faster

St. Mark’s Lutheran: a church and school announcement board

TheGodSeekers: sharing prayers and Bible verses

LifeisGod: a testimonial of faith

Are you Twittering for Christ? If so, please share with us!

Church & Change Conference Program


Forward-thinking, innovative, focused. Focused on the changeless gospel of Christ.

This describes the Center for Church & Change, an organization of WELS members needing a program, save-the-date postcard, posters and a banner for its November conference. I had the privilege of working with ConferenceDirect coordinator Michelle Eggert, CMP. Her efficiency and attention to detail made the project easy!

For greatest accessibility, Church & Change wanted the program to be published online in portable document format (pdf).

An online document presents special considerations. Some people will read it from their computer screens. Others will print it and read it in hardcopy. I designed Church & Change’s program specifically to accommodate both mediums and a variety of printing devices. We also offered viewers a black/white version for economical printing.

Check out the program, check out the conference — they both look great!