Recently our family had our pictures taken for a new church directory to be published in the near future.
Ahhh- the church directory. Do you ever dig one out and just go through it and marvel? Especially the really old ones, where the old people in your congregation are actually in their prime.
It's also interesting to note the clothing and hairstyles. Some of it is quite hilarious.
So, what kind of response does the news of a new church directory have on you?
Excitement at the prospect of your family getting a low cost family portrait?
Perhaps fear- in anticipation of a driver's license type mugshot published in a book for an eternity of future parishioners to guffaw over?
Or perhaps, eager anticipation at the prospect of seeing your fellow members' laughter inducing portraits?
Who will wear the most outrageous clothing? Or the most mismatched? Maybe you.
Why aren't church directories published on church websites? Think about it. If you're looking for a new church, wouldn't you want to see what these people look like before wasting your time worshipping with them?
And if churches would post their directories, we could have a contest for "best looking congregation". In this day of church growth marketing strategies, I can't believe no one's thought of this.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we could all get a kick out of e-mailing our friends with links to our goofy-looking cohorts. Admit it- you'd look forward to e-mails with "Get a load of these guys!" in the subject heading.
I also think the pictures in the directory should be full of surprises. There are few things more spectacular than getting a picture published in the directory with hidden jokes.
For instance, when I see someone taking random pictures at church to depict the "church life" of the congregation, I try to sneak into the background. I've kept a small squirt gun in my pocket the past couple of weeks just for these moments. It looks quite real from a distance, and when I jump in to the background, I discretely pull it out to make it look like I'm about to hold somebody up.
If no one notices me and one of the photos makes it in the directory, it should be quite a conversation piece for years to come.
I've also offered money to the organist's to wear capes when getting their pictures taken. There's nothing spookier than someone sitting at an organ wearing a cape. It's something right out of a horror movie, and would look spectacular in the final publication.
If this works, next time I'll suggest a set of fangs to complete the look.
I also think that all the proofs should be made available to everyone. People always choose the proofs that present them in the most favorable light to be published in the directory, and we never get to see the rejects.
The rejects should be made available for all to see. The most obvious way to do this is to have a big screen slide projector show at the annual church picnic. As the picnic is winding down, and it's getting dark, everyone could gather 'round the screen for some good old family-friendly laughs.
Okay, so now you know still another reason why I'll never be president of any congregation. But does anyone have any better thoughts?