A Time to Redesign

The next issue of Reformed Worship will celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary—number 100.

Anniversaries of any sort are a great time to take a look at what you’ve been doing for months or years or decades and to ask if what you’re doing still works. Has your audience or environment or approach to worship changed, but you’re still thinking the old ways are doing what you want them to?

This may be true for your worship as much as it was true for this magazine—at least from a visual point of view. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Who’s your audience? Who do you want it to be?

Write down who you’re trying to reach with your visual arts. Have your pastor and worship planning teams do the same. How far off are you? How close? But don’t take more than your share of the responsibility of reaching your audience—the visual is only one part of the . . . ahem . . . picture. What other aspects of your worship might also be due for a redesign?

With the magazine’s redesign we wanted to increase the appeal to our current subscribers and to a potential new (and younger) generation of worship leaders and pastors. We also recognized the need for a more open layout that includes all of the practical resources you count on but in a more inviting way. We figured this milestone anniversary would be the perfect time to introduce a new look.

Are you getting out enough?

We love our churches and the people we worship with—but sometimes it’s a good idea to visit other churches to get fresh ideas, or even affirmation that you’re on the right track. And don’t limit your exposure to just churches: visit galleries, art fairs, or take in the senior exhibit at a local art school. If you keep your eyes open, inspiration can be found anywhere.

Much as we love RW, we felt it was time for an update. Technological and market changes have made it more affordable than ever to print in color. Printing in color allows us to display those great worship visuals in all their glory.

Are the same folks doing the work?

Too often that’s the case. Rather than have open-ended terms for worship teams, ask everyone to resign at the end of a one- or two-year term—and ask them to find their own replacements. Guaranteed to bring in new ideas.

I’ve art directed this magazine since issue #1. Although the graphic design has been done by different people over these twenty-five years, we contracted with an outside firm to do the redesign. We think they’ve done a great job of introducing new colors and visual elements that only a newcomer would.

Are you really open to feedback?

Because we take this work so personally, and the people we ask know that, it’s as hard for others to give us honest feedback as it is for us to hear it. After all of the “I really like it” and “How do you do it?” comments, I’ll ask, “But if there’s one thing you’d like done differently, what would it be?” Almost everyone can come up with something. And almost always that something is helpful.

Likewise, when you get that shiny new Reformed Worship 100 in the mail, if there’s one thing you wish we’d done differently, please make sure to drop us a note!

Dean Heetderks is a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan, and art director of Reformed Worship. Show and tell him about your experiences at dean.heetderks@gmail.com.

Reformed Worship 99 © March 2011, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.