Why Christians Should Celebrate Earth Day 2014

Moss growing on log in Glacial Drumlin Bike Trail, Jefferson Co., WisconsinToday is Earth Day and here’s why Christians should be part of this annual celebration. And even though our main focus is eternal life in heaven, here’s why we should practice mindful stewardship during our time here on earth—not just on Earth Day, but every day.

God’s Creation

In the Bible book of Genesis, chapters 1 and 2 tell us the earth and everything in it were created by God. The earth is God’s masterpiece, both in form and function. We wouldn’t dream of littering an artist’s work in a museum with garbage or toxic waste. Certainly God’s work—his earth—deserves this same respect.

Granddaughter looking up to a beautiful blue skyGod’s Assignment to Us

I realize we humans can’t determine the fate of our planet any more than we can the length of our lives. But we can take responsibility for both their quality and care. After all, this is what God entrusts to us when, in Genesis 1:28, he commands “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.”

I think of this as my husband and I enjoy nature with our granddaughter. Shouldn’t she and every other precious child be able to lay in God’s green grass and look up to his beautiful sky without fear of chemicals and pollution? Shouldn’t they have natural food to eat that won’t harm them or the children they may someday bring forth?

God has given us the job of being caretakers of his earth—for ourselves, for our children and for their children. Such a high calling this is!

Spring blossoms against Fachwerk BarnAppreciation to God

When God offered us his gift of salvation, he precursored it with a temporary stay here on earth. Given the state of our sinfulness, we certainly deserve accommodations much worse. Yet our Lord, in his great love, lets us live in this beautiful world. Wow, we are so blessed! The more I travel, the more I learn of the environment and our human body, the more I strive to live naturally—the more I do any of these things—I am so much more amazed by the graciousness and intelligence of God’s design.

In Psalm 139:14, David writes, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We owe God this same appreciation. We can show this by caring for everything and everyone he has created.

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Ontario, CanadaGlory to God

Some people are worried Earth Day has taken a paganistic twist. Others feel we’ve allowed “saving the environment” to become our modern day idol. Well, instead of automatically denouncing this annual celebration, why don’t we Christians just speak out? On Earth Day and every day, let’s praise God with our voice and glorify him with our actions. Let’s be good stewards of his earthly masterpiece.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

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Freely You Have Received, Freely Give

It’s National Philanthropy Day and kudos to all who give their time, talents and treasures to make our world a better place!

I’m currently working on a fund appeal newsletter for my church. In the religious community we refer to philanthropy as stewardship, and our goal is to give just as God has given to us. We want to give out of love not only for everything he has created, but also out of love for God himself.

Philanthropy, stewardship or just plain ol’ giving…whatever you want to call it, it’s a good thing to do. So thanks to all you movers and shakers, you who donate and you who care!

With that in mind, I want to put out word to those needing help with their visual communications, whether it be design or copywriting. Each year Adunate does two pro-bono projects—one large and one small. If your organization needs creative assistance in 2014, click here for an application. And then, click here to guarantee your project’s success!

And while we’re talking giving, here’s the cover and inside page of my church’s newsletter. There will be more to follow, but take a look so far.

newsletter-7_Page_1

 

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A New Book I Want to Read

Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication

Alot of my work is for churches and other religious organizations.

With that in mind, I’d like to read the newly released Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication. It’s by Tim Schraeder, and it’s put out by the Center for Church Communication, the same people who do the blog Church Marketing Sucks.

I don’t know much about the book, but at a mere $10.07 from Amazon, I figure it’s worth checking out. (It’s also available to order at Tribeca, in Watertown, WI).

Cost aside, the real reason I’m buying Outspoken is because its promoters have sparked my interest. They’ve creatively marketed their product and let me, their audience, know they’re sharing the collective wisdom of 60 church communication experts. Not only that, they’ve also provided free banners so I can promote their product as well. How smart is that!

So, if this book has done such a good job communicating its message, I’m guessing it will have helpful ideas for churches to communicate theirs—the greatest message of all, that of God’s love.

 

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Pro Bono No Bueno?

Yesterday my AIGA guild gathered for our monthly cuppa joe and design discussion. Our topic: the aptly-titled “Pro Bono No Bueno?” by Jen Stewart.

  • When asked how many graphic designers periodically do pro-bono work (free or greatly discounted), we all raised our hands.
  • When asked how many of these projects turned out to be headaches, again, we all raised our hands (kind of like the headache we’re getting from the construction happening in front of our venue, Ground Zero Coffee Company).
  • When asked if any of these turned out to be meaningful and beneficial, we laughed, and most of us put our hands down.

C’mon! Not meaningful? Not beneficial?

After talking it out, we came up with helpful ideas that promise a more successful pro-bono project for both the graphic designer and the client. After all, our goal is a final product that’s the best it can be, whether the client is paying or not.

Establish good communication

The most effective projects happen when the graphic designer and client work together as a team to accomplish a goal. This is true for pro-bono projects, as well. Clear, detailed and timely communication is a must.

Often pro-bono projects are for non-profits, which commonly are committee-based organizations. The best design committees consist of three people or less, with one person serving as a designated spokesperson. This person should communicate to the graphic designer.

Define goals and stick to them

Objectives…Scope of project…Deadlines…Roles and responsibilities. These are things the designer and client must carefully define and then stick to.

Staying on course ensures the project can be completed on schedule and according to plan.

Know the value of the project

The biggest frustration of my designing peers is that pro-bono clients don’t understand the value of the product they’re getting. Unfortunately, “the less paid, the less valued” is a common woe.

Designer’s aren’t looking for an ego pat (although promotional recognition sure is nice—after all, business success is what enables us to offer pro-bono work). Rather, when clients know the value of the product, they’re more likely to fulfill their responsibilities and the end result is so much better.

If your designer doesn’t reveal what he would normally charge for your project, come right out and ask. You’ll benefit by knowing!

Work with a contract

A contract protects both the designer and the client, and should be created through back and forth discourse. It should outline the project; who will do what, when it will be done, and for what cost. It should create an overall understanding for both sides.

Basically, a contract fulfills all of the points listed above and is always necessary, even for the pro-bono project.


Adunate Word & Design is proud to take on two pro-bono projects per year—one large and one small. These are projects I have passions for and strongly support.

Adunate is currently booked for its 2011 pro-bono projects. However, if you’re one of those wonderful people who plans ahead and wish to apply for assistance in 2012, please click here.


 

 

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Have You Sent Your Thank You Note?

Thank you card for Trinity Lutheran Church, Waukesha, WI

When I was a kid, my mom was naggingly insistent that her children send thank you notes whenever we received a gift. Well, according to Tom Ahern, a leading authority on working with donors, once again mom was right.

“Thank the donor immediately,” says Ahern in his book Keep Your Donors: The Guide to Better Communications & Stronger Relationships. “The thank you letter sets the tone for all your subsequent communications with the donor.”

Trinity Lutheran Church, Waukesha, WI, is spot on when it comes to thank you’s. Church secretary Sandy recently asked me to design a simple card that would allow them to handwrite their own message of thanks, whatever the occasion.

Working with Sandy has been a charm. We discussed imagery for the cover and Sandy submitted several samples that she shot herself. With a little sharpening and perspective adjustment, her photo of Trinity’s stained glass window was just what we wanted. We topped that off with a UV coating on the cover side for a nice gloss and left the inside flat for easy writing (thanks Crossmark Graphics).

A beautiful card, a handwritten note and a fitting Bible passage. Now there’s a thank you note my mom would have loved!

 

 

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