I write a blog.  I tweet.  I post on Facebook.  I occasionally pin something on Pinterest.  For all intents and purposes, those are all public statements of who I am and what I believe.  So I try to be pretty careful about what I put out there. 

Sometimes I have to scale back the sarcasm for those that may not understand my sense of humor.  I try to avoid being negative at all costs.  And I usually try to not make everything about “me.”

I have learned many lessons about how to present myself from church signs.  Sure, there are creative things churches do that give me ideas.  Unfortunately, though, I have learned a great deal from the mistakes that churches make with their signs. 

Here are a few common mistakes that churches should try to avoid when brainstorming sign ideas.

1.  Spelling errors – Nothing says “those people don't know what they are talking about” like misspelling a common word.  I know church signs are not programmed with spell check, but whaddayasay we give it a dry run on Microsoft Word before putting it up by the highway?  Is that cool with everybody?  Good.  (Note:  This also includes the common "there, their, and they're" mishap.)

2.  Don’t be corny – I know “knee-mail” is a creative word for prayer and it sounds "cute," but when I hear people say it I really want to pat them on the head and say “bless your heart.”  The fact that I had to use so many quotation marks in the previous sentence should tell you there is a problem.  And even if “God’s floss" does help treat "truth decay,” I am really not interested.  I am also already aware that “we will be toast without the bread of life.”  But for real, there is no reason to be cute.  Church signs don’t wear it well.

3.  Read the whole sign – If you have upcoming messages titled “Jesus walks on water” and “Searching for Jesus,” you might want to consider the implications of listing those phrases back to back.  Every line needs to be put in context with everything else.  Then we wouldn’t end up with a sign that says, “Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands."  I love a good laugh, but I’m not sure this is quality evangelism.

4.  Don’t be scared to tap into pop culture – Quote popular movies.  Reference current (and appropriate, of course) songs.  These things catch people’s eye.  And it makes it seem like you are putting forth effort to reach out.  It shows that you care enough to not just recycle old ideas.  It’s appealing and interesting.  Isn’t that what church signs are supposed to be?

What do you think about church signs?  Are there other rules churches should follow when deciding what to put out there in big, bold letters?

Scott
6/12/2012 01:54:05 am

Be positive! Church signs are advertisements. We want people to want to come inside. Who want to come in a building that says "Santa Claus never died for anyone"?

Note...to date, I don't believe our church has posted that on our sign.

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Jamie
6/12/2012 04:05:26 am

Good point, Scott. Gospel does, in fact, mean "good news."

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6/18/2012 04:30:40 am

Jamie,
I usually see pictures of church signs demonstrating what not to do. Finally, a well written thoughtful article on church signs. Kodus. I posted a link to it on my G+ page.

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8/20/2012 07:26:21 pm

Great info, thanks

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