Continuing Education

It happens every time we use a new visual in our worship. One gentleman in my church catches me after the service and asks me what each part of the new visual means. We look at the banner, and I describe how the final piece came to be: what we started with, what problems we encountered while constructing it, and what pleasant surprises happened along the way.

He smiles the entire time, absorbing every word. When I finish, he responds in the same way: “People need to know this information. You need to put a note in the bulletin describing your work.” And every time I reply, “But this is what it means to me. I am afraid that promoting my thinking would only restrict someone else’s imagination.” He disagrees. I wonder if I am right. The conversation ends.

You’re the Guy . . .

Even though the above exchange has gone on for years, I may have to change my mind about writing up design notes. Recently I was introduced to a woman who, when hearing my name, exclaimed, “Oh, you’re the guy who writes those banner articles in Reformed Worship I said hesitantly, “And you must be a frustrated committee member trying to put these banners together?” “No,” she replied, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body but I plan to be an artist in heaven, so reading about how you think gets me ready.”

Hmm. Perhaps what these two are looking for is education. To learn how to view things—not so much so that they can copy someone else’s thinking but to broaden their visual palette, so to speak.

Facts of Light

The banner design above might very well need a note of explanation. I’ve been impressed with the light, airy designs that appear in Nancy Chinn’s book Spaces for Spirit—particularly the transparent watercolor on nylon. In this design, four painted nylon panels are used to convey the light of Christ’s epiphany overcoming the darkness in Isaiah 60:1-3.

Before purchasing your fabric, do test the paint on a small piece. It helps to draw an arch in very light pencil on the fabric before painting to maintain the shape. If you are getting kids involved (please do!), you might want to create an arched posterboard “mask” to block off the inner portion of the arches.

Like the design, keep your design notes as straightforward as you can. Before printing your notes in the bulletin, show them to one or two people to make sure you communicate as effectively with words as with art.



Donwload the 1pg/19k bulletin cover idea.

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

Reformed Worship 65 © September 2002, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.