Monday, April 17, 2006

Church Signs

Church signs are interesting things. Sometimes I wonder what the church is trying to communicate. Few things can make a congregation seem more out-of-touch, corny, judgmental, or redneck than an inappropriate message on its sign. Johnny Leckie has a great post about this. I shudder when I think of the stupid messages that I have put up over the years. But then I will drive by some church in the area and read its sign and think, "At least I never posted anything that stupid or offensive or cheesy."

Leckie has a follow-up post here. The following are some of his suggestions:

The obvious:
  • Update your church sign regularly.
  • Keep your church sign clean.
  • Keep your church sign maintained - change the bulbs when they go out on the day they go out, trim the weeds, etc.
  • If your sign is faded and weathered looking (Unless that's part of the design) it's time to replace parts or it's time for a new sign.

The apparently not-so-obvious:

  • Determine who your sign is for and write for them. (Hint - If it's for your church only, send them a newsletter instead.)
  • Think of your sign as a 24/7 personal billboard for your church, because that is exactly what it is. It is a "front door" to the community that tells them what's "inside."
  • Think through how you will be received/perceived/heard by the people driving by. Ask, "What do we want to communicate about our church? Will it attract? Will it help create interest in what's happening at your church.
  • Do not use the internet to come up with clever sayings to put on your sign.
  • Do not use a "church sign book" to come up with clever sayings to put on your sign.
    Come to think of it, do not use clever sayings at all...It's like the person who tries to tell a joke that's already been told a million times and wasn't really funny the first time. They are usually tired, worn out and corny. And really, do you want to be known as the "clever sayings" church, anyway?
  • Do not "slam the evil doers" on your church sign. You'll just reinforce the negative, judgmental stereotype impression that most people have about churches, anyway.
  • Assume that everyone who sees your church sign has never been to church before. You don't have to "dumb down" to do this, just leave out the words and phrases that only church people would understand.
  • It's ok to be funny, but you'd better really be funny. Get lot's of feedback on something you think is funny before you put it on your sign. Ask people who don't go to your church. Generally, humor that smashes stereotypes about church are better than things like, "CH_ _ RCH - What's Missing? U. R."

1 comment:

JD said...

Great ideas, Mike. I wish we had a church sign that I could put words on. I saw one in Enterprise Alabama this weekend that echoes the title of a recent book. The sign said:

Only Imperfect People Allowed