Contemplations

What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Signs of the Times

Been thinking and praying again today over what new message to put on the church sign. (Above is a sampling from last fall.)

The process of changing the sign challenged me, then flustered me, and finally excited me to think of unique ways to communicate a brief thought-provoking message to passers-by, especially potential first-time guests.

I will sleep on the decision I made and see if it still excites me in the morning.

For now, the changeable message area of our church sign is blank. I wonder if anyone will notice?


I have had several comments from first-time guests who visited because of the sign, from people in the neighborhood, and even from regular attenders about previous messages. All have been positive except for one guy who wants me to change the message every week. (I usually only change the message once a month because I don't get along well enough with the telescopic letter-changing-pole to change it weekly!) He said most churches change their messages every week and I had to agree with him. I also challenged him to volunteer to come change the message every week if and when I decide to follow his suggestion. He just grinned.

Of course I realize some reactions to our church sign are probably negative but I haven't heard them yet. I am open to suggestions. Although I will tell you I am opinionated about church sign messages.

There's a church down the street from where Deb and I reside that misspells words all the time. Holy cow! Doesn't someone in the church notice? How uncouth, and what does this say to the community - "Church is only for the uneducated?" (To top it off, the church borders a University campus.)

I'm not knocking spelling errors in general (we all make them; I do) or dyslexia, or even smart people who aren't good at spelling - but if you're going to put a message out for public perusal, for heaven's sake at least check your spelling. Yes, church is for the uneducated, especially the spiritually uneducated, but extra effort should be taken to make a good impression with the community.

Then there's another church close to our residence that also makes me cringe when I read the messages on their sign. Their message last Sunday was - "Conflict at Corinth." As my maternal grandma used to say, "My lands!" How in the world is this supposed to challenge the unchurched - or even the churched for that matter - to attend? Is someone actually supposed to say, "Let's go to the church down the street and learn about conflict at Corinth"? (Couldn't they have said something more helpful like, "Come Learn How to Solve Conflict"?)

Someone should have taken the time to think of something that prompted curiosity, something that promised to meet a need, or something that was relational and good news!

I saw a picture of a church sign online today that I thought was pretty good. The message read, "The answers to life's biggest questions aren't found on Google." Now that's catchy, up-to-date, and might make someone smile. (Or is it corny to you? Sometimes I wonder about corniness. Is "corniness" even a word? If so, is it misspelled?)

I did think it would have been better if they'd had more room to say something about how the answers to life's biggest questions are found in the message of the church, but that's one of the challenges of church sign messages - being succinct. A lot of times I second-guess myself on what will get people's attention - especially in few words.

Most of the time I also try to tie the church sign message to the current series I'm teaching.

This month I'm teaching on "THE SEARCH, Solomon's Secrets to a Happy and Successful Life," or, "THE SEARCH," for short.

Okay, so I'll go ahead and tell you what I'm thinking for the message board of the church sign:

"THE SEARCH"
BEGINS JUNE 1

Your opinion and input? Will that stimulate curiosity or is it too vague? Does it not give enough information?

If you ever have any suggestions about good ideas for church sign messages please pass them along and I promise that I will carefully consider them. But please check your spelling. (Just teasing.)

If you think I was too harsh with this posting please let me know that too. I do want to be kind as well as open and honest.

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