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Wednesday, June 16, 2010 

Who Get’s A Church Sign’s Top Billing In June?

Maybe it’s always been the case and I never noticed it before, I’m just not sure. There are several churches on the way to work that have signs that do more than advertise when the congregation gathers for Sunday worship. Of the ones that fall into that grouping are a couple that like to distinguish themselves with cute or whimsical proverbs (but rarely proverbs of a Biblical origin or nature) that I believe are meant to attract folks driving by as in common with many churches across this country.

One thing that is nearly always absent from church signs is the second person of the Trinity: Jesus. God the Father usually receives the top billing as far as I can tell with the Holy Spirit bring up a strong second place showing. Jesus, if He does make an appearance, is usually consigned to being a mere concept or idea as best as I can tell. There are lots of short sayings that mention someone that will make my life easier, make me a better person, that loves me very much, or even some friend that hasn’t sent a friend request on Facebook for me to accept in my heart yet... you get the idea. It is however, an odd day that I see Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord proclaimed in any clarity and by His name on a church sign. If you think I'm exaggerating then go for a drive this weekend, look around at all the church signs in your neighborhood, and you'll see what I mean.

This really shouldn’t come as a too much of a surprise when people held up as popular pastors within Americanized Christianity rarely, if ever, mention Jesus in their sermons. Should we expect the crucified and risen Lord to appear on a church sign if He ain’t proclaimed in our seeker sensitive purpose driven worship services? Nah, not really.

Now, as I noted above, I think I’ve noticed a change in the church signs on the way to work in the last few weeks. It made sense once I caught on but I still thought it was bizarre and an indication of the health of the Americanized church. It seems that while Jesus may be missing in action, Ted and Debbie along with Cheryl and Stacy made onto their church’s signs in the month of June. Who the heck are these people you ask?

Ted and Debbie were being congratulated on their recently wedding while Cheryl and Stacy were receiving praise for graduating from the local high school (in might have been college but I suspect otherwise as the high schools graduations usually fall in the month of June ‘round here).

I have no problem celebrating weddings or graduations. As members of a congregation marry or go off to school. I think it’s a good that we hold the calling of husband, wife, or student in high regard and as important vocations in which our Lord has graciously placed these folk. The odd thing, to me anyways, is that so many churches I’m driving by seem to have taken into account and marked June as a time to observe weddings and graduations while the rest of the year they either couldn’t or wouldn’t find a way mark the one person they are called to proclaim to the world: Jesus!

Is sticking Jesus on your church’s sign and giving Him top billing one Sunday too much to ask? Apparently so as Ted and Debbie and Cheryl and Stacy made it onto their congregation’s signs before Jesus did in the year 2010! Sheesh.

So, what do the readers of POTF have on their church’s signs? Do the signs in front of your church find a way to proclaim Jesus and His cross or do they follow the trends of the congregations I pass on the way to work? Just wondering…


I'm still looking for a sign that says "Holy Christ Lutheran Church" -- with or without an exclamation point.

We're so boring. I think our sign simply has our pastor's name, the service times, and the church phone number.

We have a scrolling sign, so it says a lot of things - worship times and dates, the message title for the week, and events happening in our church that week. We scroll the events in hopes that people will see them and visit our church. We want the neighboring community to know we are here and active. Our church is very active, we have block parties, VBS, guest speakers, and a new Hispanic ministry that meets on Saturday nights to say the least. And yes, we do put phrases up fromt ime to time as a way to get people to think.

Sounds like you have more going on in your church that most circuits (or maybe districts?) do. My critique is not that churches shouldn’t be using signs to convey what is going on for the members or the community but rather it is how weird it is that Jesus can’t make an appearance on a sign in a years time but a couple newly married or graduates do somehow show up front and center.

I think it’s neat that you are able to be part of a church that is comfortable with reaching out to the community. I’m bit jealous. ‘Round here, it seems that folks either don’t want to do anything to reach out or they do so in such a way that seems to distance themselves from the things that make themselves unique. Lutheranism in the south is an odd duck and we should highlight those differences in light of what is going on in Americanized Christianity.

Again, I’m a bit jealous…

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  • From The Haut South
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