Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Chris' Pet Peeve

I cruise through a lot of church websites during my week. I have to admit right off that I am a church junky. I love seeing what other churches are doing, and can we steal...I mean learn anything from them? My favorite thing to do on vacation is visit other churches. I have managed to catch 4 different churches on one Sunday morning! (It can be done, but you have to be a little rude leaving - sorry!) My wife thinks that I have a serious illness and the last thing a pastor should want to do on vacation is go to church that much. I can't help it - I love it.

I say all of that to justify myself as somewhat of an expert on what I have to say next:

I have one major pet peeve with a lot of church websites - please do not put real pictures of what you are doing until you are ready to do it well. Just don't do it! There are some great stock photos out there of really happy looking people to fill the void until then. I am sure that your people had a great time at the lake trip last weekend, but I don't know if that's the first images I want of your church! I would think that one of the goals of a church website is to present your church in the best light to the unchurched public. What is it that they say in business - "Fake it until you make it"? We might be able to learn something from that - at least on our websites.

OK, I feel better now. Back to cruising... :-)


Anonymous said...


I usually have the reaction you described when I see the generic yuppie photos taken in perfect lighting on a website. IMHO, it's better to have no pictures at all than to have those saccharine, fake, beautiful people. When you stick that up there, you say "Hey, come to our church; it's where all of the beautiful people with their lives together hang out."

For my money (and, of course, this is costing me nothing), I'd rather see a generally overweight father of three falling on his face while waterskiing at your church campout than a baptized Gap advertisement.

Of course, I think that any dude that voluntarily wears pink is enslaved either to a) fashion magazines or b) his wife's bad taste so take my commentary with a grain of salt if you wish.

Anonymous said...

That's what I was going to say. I would rather see not-ready-for-prime-time but authentic church members than pretty people in a stock photo.

Doing my own church's website, I let a few digital-camera savvy people know I was looking for good photos. Then I had to pore through hundreds of images of the type you're talking about. In the end, though, our cover picture is a candid shot, but it looks great. There's a woman holding her friend's 4 year old daughter. The photographer is the husband of the woman. The radiance of her smile as she looks right into the camera is really special. It might have something to do with the fact that they were brand new newlyweds when he snapped the photo of her after church one day.

Anyways I do hear you, Chris. But in my opinion, faking it that way spells "inauthenticity" in a day and age when people are so hungry for something real.

John said...

Chris any time you need to use me in a picture on our web site, just let me know. Give me about a months notice so I can beef up and grow some hair!

Chris Surratt said...

Thanks John. That's really all we were waiting for. :)

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