Why you don't have to settle for some fuddy duddy unpleasant church

...as seen from a wedding photographer's perspective.

I've seen many churches from the INSIDE at unguarded moments. What are they REALLY like? 

Here's how to tell if they're good (or not.)



A well deserved compliment

Photo above: While on vacation we attended a church service in Carlsbad, California at North Coast Calvary Chapel. I was hesitant mostly because I thought this denomination would have overly loud rock music - my wife gets headaches from loud music and excessive lighting. But so much for stereotypes! The music was acoustic guitar and piano with a deliberately understated drummer's style (the drummer's style was totally perfect for this), plus saxophone - clarinet. Each musician and singer was great.

I am an experienced audio person and know you don't have to blast out the audience's ears if your music and sound mix are high quality! Well, it totally met my high class sophisticated standards. Volume level was perfect, I estimate just 80 decibels whch is just right, and way below the threshold of pain that too many "contemporary" style churches use. The pastor was excellent and his preaching style was like a college instructor's. That's a good thing, especially for an educated geographical area. Again, so much for stereotypes!

The reason we had selected this church to visit is because my sister, who lives in Carlsbad, had been invited there several times by one of her friends. I totally enjoyed this church and so did Beverly.

Snapshot above taken with Doug's digital wedding photography camera using 18mm wide angle lens with f-stop f:2.8 and camera sensitivity of ISO 800, no flash.

DOUG'S COMMENTARY:  Our experience at North Coast Calvary Chapel was so positive that if we lived in that area (which we don't) I could probably talk Beverly into attending or joining this church with me.

Years ago Beverly had repeated unsatisfactory experiences with charistmatic churches in Northern California, which had severely turned her off to this type of denomination. (Calvary Chapel would be classified as a charismatic denomination.)  DOUG'S LESSON FOR TODAY:  This perfectly illustrates something I learned shooting wedding pictures where I've observed many many churches behind the scenes. Here's what I learned: 

You can have two churches of the same denomination (fill in the blank for any denomination) where one church is horrible and the other "identical" church across town is excellent.

So when a person has had bad experiences at Church XYZ, it is not true that every church is just like it.

That principle is true whether one is rating churches or restaurants.

Logically, people who have been "turned off to church" ought to try a better church across town. Hey - you don't give up food because you used to eat at a bad restaurant. You'd stop eating at the bad restaurant and find a healthy one!

Principle: Churches will be good or bad for the same reasons as restaurants. It is a function of the character of their leaders and staff (which will affect the quality of the food they will feed you.)

The above church's link is at: http://www.northcoastcalvary.org

If you are looking for a decent church in our area please call Doug for a recommendation (Northern California especially around the Sacramento and Placer County areas.)  I have photographed weddings at so many of them I can tell you which ones are nice places and which ones I would avoid. It would be my pleasure to steer you in a good direction.

From a wedding photographer's perspective - here's what I learned about telling what a particular church is really like.


First, are their beliefs "normal" or weird.

Second, is the BEHAVIOR of their staff consistent with what they claim to believe. If so they will be helpful, honest, approachable.

Third, are the ordinary people I've come in contact with who attend that church honest and helpful.

I am not very particular about what denomination a church is -- as long as it succeeds on these three characteristics. There are thousands of high quality churches available. There's no need to be feel stuck with attending (or getting married at) a creepy one.






Copyright policy for this page: OK to reproduce this page but would appreciate author's credit and a link back to my website. All items photographed by Moi. Thanks...







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