The Internet is a visual medium–one where images matter. Images are not only important because they increase views and user engagement on websites, but also because they communicate something about the businesses and organizations behind websites. For churches, selecting the right kinds of images is of the foremost importance, because visitors will make conclusions about churches based on their websites’ pictures. To communicate the right message about your church, use images that communicate your church’s theology and mission.
Pictures of People, Not Your Building
If you preach that the church is the people and not the building, the pictures on your church’s website should primarily feature the people in your church. There might be a picture of your church building on a page that provides directions, but your church’s building doesn’t need to be pictured on the home page. Instead, use images that show the people who make up the family of God.
Even if your church’s theology places great emphasis on your place of worship, there are ways to showcase your church’s beauty without making it the sole focus of the site. For instance, you might use a picture of:
- people walking into your church building on Sunday morning on the home page
- a stained glass window to create a background for the site
- a person preaching or praying in the front of your church’s sanctuary
Images of Worship
Worship has a central role in church life. It’s why people gather together on Sunday morning: to pray, read Scripture, sing praises and fellowship together. Therefore, worship should have a prominent place on your church’s website. After all, one of the main things prospective visitors will want to know is what your church’s service is like.
The number and kinds of worship-focused pictures your church’s website should have will depend on the style of your church’s worship. High churches with extensive liturgies and vestments may have over a dozen pictures of the worship service that detail each part. Low churches with simpler services may just have two or three worship-focused pictures.
Posting at least a few pictures of your church’s service not only shows how your church approaches worship, but it also serves a practical purpose. Prospective visitors who’ve never been to your church will see what people wear on Sunday morning. Your church, of course, doesn’t have a dress code, but new visitors will be more comfortable if they’re dressed like the people around them.
Photos of Pastors
Many prospective visitors will want to know a little about your church’s pastors. It’s appropriate to include a bio of your senior pastor and any other pastors who have significant roles in the church, although these don’t need to be on your church’s home page. Each bio should be accompanied by a picture of the respective pastor, in order to provide a more intimate feeling and help visitors recognize your church’s pastors on Sunday morning.
Video Testimonies from Members
Testimonials from members will complement bios of pastors, showing that pastors aren’t the only significant people in your church. Testimonies also provide a powerful way to share your church’s beliefs and ministries, as members get to describe how God has affected them through your church in their own words. A moving testimony could help prospective visitors relate to your church, and it shares the good news of what God is doing through your church with other members who might not know the person’s story.
Of course, each member’s testimony should be accompanied by a picture of that person to infuse a personal feeling into the story. If possible, substitute video testimonials of 1 to 3 minutes, as these are even more moving than a written story with a picture.
Pictures from Partners
Pictures of the organizations and nonprofits that your church partners with provide a glimpse of the charitable and evangelistic efforts that your church is involved in. Instead of just telling people what your church does with words, you can show them with pictures. Pictures will be more moving than mere text, although you may still need to include short descriptions of each ministry partner’s work.
You may not be able to go and take a picture of each ministry’s work–especially if your church supports missionaries overseas. To get pictures that you can use to show how your church is serving others, simply ask the people your church works with for a few pictures. You can select the one that works best on your church’s website.
Snapshots from Events
Snapshots might not seem as polished as commercially produced stock photos, but member-taken pictures are perfect for promoting events on your church’s website. The photos you use should still be as well done as possible, but the personal emphasis shouldn’t be sacrificed. Snapshots of all of your church’s ministries, from Bible studies and prayer groups to outreach events and pizza parties, will ensure that prospective visitors will fit in at your church. They’ll see that your church is made of people just like them who study, pray, worship and serve together.
When designing your church’s website, a lot of thought should be given to the images used on the site. Don’t just think about how pictures will entice more people to visit your church’s website, though. Make sure the pictures on your church’s website accurately reflect your church’s theology and mission because they’ll be one of the primary ways people get to know your church.