Friday, October 28, 2011

Signs, Church Signs, Dumb Signs

We have a church sign! It’s about 12 feet tall and it has three lines for messages. We like to put coming events or general info up there, but we also put the occasional inspirational message. But you have to be very careful with that.
Why, you ask? I hope you asked that anyway; if not go ahead and do that now...I’ll wait....
OK, Thanks.

Frankly, some churches make themselves just look silly, or ignorant, or even offensive at times with their signs.
People look at signs differently than church folks do. They can appreciate humor as good as the next guy usually, but some signs are just a little looney.

Among the humorous I’ve seen:
        Who ever is praying for snow, Please Stop!
        Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush!
        When the restaurant next to a Church put out a big sign with red letters that said, “Open Sundays,” the church reciprocated with its own message: “We are open on Sundays, too."
        Walk-ins Welcome  (that’s on our sign-thanks Dave)
        Have trouble sleeping? We have sermons—come hear one!
Now that last one is a little curious. Did they intend to say the pastor is boring? Or that if you get right with God you’ll sleep better?

You see some signs maybe cute for members, maybe even inspirational. But to the unchurched they get a response like “HUH?”
        Honk if you love Jesus, Text while driving if you wanna meet Him
        Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!
        Try our Sundays. They are better than Baskin-Robbins.
        Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday. Dusty Bibles lead to Dirty Lives
        Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world.
        It is unlikely there’ll be a reduction in the wages of sin.
        Do not wait for the hearse to take you to church.
        Forbidden fruit creates many jams.
        In the dark? Follow the Son.
        Running low on faith? Stop in for a fill-up.
        When down in the mouth, remember Jonah. He came out all right.

You have to consider what the unchurched think when they see it. Down in the mouth? Jonah? I don’t think they’ll get it. Of course, if you WANT to have them think less of you and of Christ; But most people don’t want that. So some try to be “Trendy.” I’ve been guilty of that myself.
        Get off of Facebook and Get in the Good Book
        You have a friend request from -Jesus:
         Confirm                            Ignore
        God’s got an app for that
        If you don’t like the way you were born, try being born again.

First, people don’t like being told what to do, as if there is something morally wrong with being on Facebook.
Secondly, A friend request from Jesus? Really? A statement like “You sinned, Jesus has blocked you.” Would be more accurate, but NO, don’t put that on the sign!
Third, Actually Jesus doesn’t have an app for everything. This is one of those false promises like, “Come to Jesus He’ll make everything better.”
And these days there are folks who’ve never heard of being born again.

Upcoming events are a good thing to put on a sign, and they’re usually pretty safe.
But even then you should be careful:
        A singing group called “The Resurrection” was scheduled to sing at a church. When a big snowstorm postponed the performance, the pastor fixed the outside sign to read, "Resurrection postponed."

Then there are those pithy sayings, but think twice, will your neighbors think you’re rehashing old sayings because you are not real bright?
        People are like tea bags—you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are.
        God so loved the world that He did not send a committee.
        Fight truth decay—study the Bible daily.
        If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.
        Looking at the way some people live, they ought to obtain eternal fire insurance soon.
        This is a ch_ _ ch. What is missing? -----> (U R)
        If you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep. Talk to the Shepherd.

Then there are the serious issues dealt with in a silly way.
        How will you spend eternity—Smoking or Non-smoking?

We always need to go beyond “What do the unchurched ‘drive-bys’ think?” And ask ourselves, “What does God think?”
Is God pithy? Is he ‘selling something’? I hope you answered No to both of those.

Now some of you thought while reading this, “But I don’t DO church signs.” Very true. But do you do bumper stickers? Do you email cute little things to a large group of people? (With, perhaps, lost and unchurched people in the bunch?) Or Tweet? Or do status updates?
Do you live your life giving off simplistic ideas of what you find important?

We need to be real; honest; and deeper than a bumper sticker. We need to live our lives among those who don’t know Jesus the way He did. He took their pains to heart. He didn’t sin with them, but he didn’t judge them. He did judge Pharisees because they wouldn’t judge themselves. But for some reason sinners – who knew they were sinners – like to be around him. Why is that? Maybe He just loved them.

Oh, Lord Jesus, it’s really hard to love some people. But I know you loved me in spite of myself, so it’s the least I can do, to love others for you.

That’s my prayer, what’s yours?

Clark D

PS Remember - "This is a ch_ _ ch. What is missing? -----(U R)"
Once I put on the sign:
“Its almost T__key Day!
What is missing? U R “

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