Communications expert Brad Abare says always mix up gender, generation, and ethnicity:
"Regardless of whether or not the church has an ounce of diversity in it, it's important to make sure church promotional photos have at least one black, Asian, white and Hispanic person, plus a child, teen, parent, and senior. … A family dog is also a plus …
"I realize this filter doesn't work perfectly in all contexts. Some parts of the country (and world) are more homogenous than others. Some cities are known for their lack of diversity.
"This filter is not meant to result in the perfect photo, but hopefully, if diversity is embedded into the fabric of our decisions, it will naturally be reflected in the outflow of our communication."
Not everyone agrees:
Ricky P: We launched a church five years ago in a town that is 97% white. When designing our mail-out card, we dealt with this issue: If we place all those people on our card and you show up at the church to a 97% white church, then that is false advertising. If we put an accurate view of our community and church on the card, then we look racist.
So we went a different direction.
We used pictures of community landmarks in a collage to show that we were not a parachute launch bankrolled from some corporate conglomerate, but a launch of homegrown people who love this community.
Becky: Another idea I've seen included pictures of people's feet (wearing shoes). The shoes themselves show a different kind of diversity: work-boots, polished dress shoes, dirty sneakers, kids with bright colored shoes, etc. Nothing implied about skin-color whatsoever, yet these photos convey an inclusive feeling.
Tendai: I welcome the usage of photos of various people groups, for this to me is a correct representation of what God's kingdom is all about.
—excerpts from ChurchMarketingStinks.com
Copyright © 2010 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
Click here for reprint information on Leadership Journal.