Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Church Signs

"We Are Soular Powered by the Son"
(recently spotted church sign)

Church sign "posting" is apparently its own genre of comedy, or marketing genre, or something. The church sign has become so famous for its "catchy" phrases and puns that there's even the church sign generator website.

I saw the above "We are soular powered..." sign near my home last week. I took a camera-phone picture but it didn't turn out so well. Nothing against the particular church or any other church that has displayed this particular statement. It's the church sign in general that is a sore spot with me.

Churches really need to ask "What purpose is our sign fulfilling?"

I can think of three groups of people who read the sign: 1) people who go to that particular church, 2) people who go to a different church, and 3) people who do not do church.

1. If your sign is for people who go to your church, spare the rest of us and print your slogans in your bulletin. Put your meeting times on your sign, or something helpful for "outsiders."

2. If your sign is for other churches' people, then you must be attempting to woo them over to your church with your marvelous signage. Splendid. How about just handing out some cash? (It's been done...)

3. If your sign is for people who are not part of a church already, then the sign must be some misconceived attempt to get these people in the door. Is a cheap, pun-filled slogan going to accomplish this? And if so, what expectation have you created for what they will find inside?

Of course the unbelieving world thinks very little of the church, and its no wonder. Why do local churches insist on adding to the mockery from the world by so trivializing their own existence? When Jesus tells his followers that they will be hated by the world just as he was hated by the world, I do not think he was referring to their church signs.

How can anyone take a church seriously when all they ever see is a joke?

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