The Image of God: A Digital New Year’s Resolution (@hollypoulter)

I wish I could say my Christmas break has been more productive. I had grand plans for writing, planning, cleaning, sure. But the lethargy of this much time off at home has more often than not driven me into the iron arms of the world wide web.

Not having the energy for written word, I opted for visuals from places like Pinterest and Tumblr, and embarked on the endless scroll in search of something amazing or amusing.

After clocking up many hours of this inane activity, I noticed something a little depressing. Searching for ‘Christmas’ didn’t show me a single depiction of the birth of our Saviour, just crafts and Christmas trees.

Searching for ‘Christians’ didn’t show me any groups of people worshipping and praying together, just shoes.

Searching for ‘church’ didn’t show me images of Christians helping in their community or teaching, it just showed me thousands of buildings.

Even searching ‘Genesis’ only pulls up album covers.

genesis-on-google

I’m not saying it’s impossible to find inspirational images of church and Christianity online, but I’m pretty sure we need to make it easier.

Homeless Being Fed in a Church in Moscow

http://02varvara.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/00-2012-homeless-in-moscow-meal-in-parish.jpg?w=1200&h=900

I’ve talked about it before when Pinterest first came on the scene, about how we have this amazing opportunity to put church on the screens of people who weren’t searching (or didn’t know they were). We have the tools and resources to litter the digital landscape with the truth – what church and faith really looks like, not just buildings and stock photos.

Share Creative are doing things like this on, by asking people to tweet photos with the hashtag #thisischurch to pull into a website of what church looks like around the world. This is a brilliant idea and we need to see more people doing it.

So a digital New Year’s Resolution this year could be for us to make the real images our churches – food banks, worship nights, mission trips -  as easy to stumble upon online as photos of shoes, cake and Ryan Gosling. Because for one person that could make all the difference for them to step into a church and find out what it means for them.

And maybe next year, we can try our hand at Christian GIFs.

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About Holly Poulter

Holly Poulter works as a Press Officer for Christian international aid agency Tearfund, and runs an wedding and event planning business, 'Pretty, Please Events'. She lives in Surbiton, Surrey with her husband James and bi-polar cat. Big fan of popcorn, coffee and duvets.