The 10 Commandments of Using Images on Church Websites

old camera photograph1 – Thou shalt remember that a burning candle is not the only image of all that is holy and all that is true.

2 – Thou shalt not put the vulnerable at risk by revealing their identity and location.

3 – Thou shalt remember when using pictures of people that the Lord thy God made them in great and glorious diversity.

4 – Thou shalt not waste bandwidth and so shall learn how to reduce the size of thy photographs tenfold, fiftyfold or even a hundredfold.

5 – Thou shalt not use photographs of church meetings to illustrate the life of the church for to believe that the meetings of the church represent the life and joy that the Lord thy God brings unto thee is to have heard and believed the lies of the Evil One.

6 – Thou shalt not use photographs of groups of people where half the people have their backs unto the camera.

7 – Thou shalt not include more than one photograph of the bishop (or the moderator, the pope or the Lord High Executioner of Titipu) standing around in robes next to other people standing around in robes.

8 – Thou shalt love thy neighbour’s photographs as thine own, by setting up a Flickr group for them to post their images to so that you have a greater range of photographs to use on thy church website.

9 – Thou shalt respect the copyright of every image that thou shalt use and give credit where it is due.

10 – Thou shalt change thine images once in a while for to worship one image alone is not merely idolatry but risks the masses believing that the house of the Lord thy God is dull. And dullness is the sin against the Holy Ghost whereof many have spoken.

Photo Credit: Afonso Lima of Brazil

If you’ve any further commandments – do chip in with them in the comments.  “Why just 10?” as Moses said as he staggered down the mountain…


  1. Lavender Buckland says

    I’d ban all photos of stone buildings from the Home Page; command that it shows people enjoying themselves as a community-called-church.
    the eleventh, but almost the first, commandment should be that the use of technical/theological language is banned. any casual visitor to a website who immediately trips over ‘redemption’ or such words, will rebound into space never to be seen again.

  2. Can we also make “lively” a no-no? It usually means “Caution, badly tuned guitars in use, played by sad-looking middle-aged men”
    Or “contemporary”? “Warning, there may be incidents of liturgical dance”
    How about “Traditional” – “We sing the psalms really badly using the New Cathedral psalter, and our mainly female choir refuses to learn anthing more modern than Stanford”

    Good game, good game.

  3. We seem to have moved on from images on websites to words.

    Would like more on images.

  4. Lavender Buckland says

    we have: bright sunny harvest festival lunch in a barn; duck race with loads of children and parents in the local ‘river’; men’s breakfast [plate] and smiling kitchen volunteers; close-up of children dressed as animals doing a Noah’s ark project [actually, part of R3vive a service held in the school for all-comers]; Jubilee picture of tractor draped in bunting/flags with loads of people around it, heading along the road….etc etc.

  5. This reminds me of “Heal your church website” which also has things like “don’t use images of flames to proselytise with”.

  6. Tim Moore says

    Thou shalt enscribe thy congregation’s regular worship time(s) on thy homepage in a manner that is exceedingly clear, not buried under “about us” or “what’s on” sub-headings.

    One church local to me has constructed a table on its website, somewhere several clicks away from the homepage, showing the worship times of each church in the parish. It shows that St John’s (not its real name) holds Parish Eucharist each Sunday at 10.30am, except for the first Sunday in the month when it’s All Age Worship at 10.00 and Choral Evensong…
    …I never bothered visiting this church.

    • Lavender Buckland says

      not surprised! but even worse was the church we aimed to go to on Christmas Day [2012], whose website had nothing more recent than July 2011.. and no mention of Christmas services of any kind. what an encouragement!

  7. To me it just comes across as super cheese-y when all the images on a church’s website are ridiculous looking pieces of clip art and stock photos. To me it’s much better to use ACTUAL pictures of members of the congregation.

    • Tim Moore says

      In relation to that:

      Thou shalt not use Comic Sans on any part of thy church website, not even for Messy Church, for Comic Sans is of the devil and it displeaseth The Lord greatly….

  8. Bro David says

    I am very suspect of the reality of the acquaintance of one who professes to be able to speak the mind of the Lord God!

  9. Thou shalt show what the inside of your church looks like, yea, even when it be in use for worship.

  10. Thou shall not use images of events with sparse crowds or half-empty rooms or church spaces, which automatically prompt the question, “Why is this event so poorly attended?”

  11. Thou shalt not use images of text in thy header that doth contradict the text elsewhere on thy website, particularly regarding essential information like service times. If thou must put text in images, thou must also make the effort to change the images when the information changes.


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