Ed Stetzer’s blog on Christianity Today’s website is often filled with photos of marquees with bizarre attempts by churches at being relevant or catchy. You can Google search, “funny church signs” and waste hours laughing at other people’s mistakes, or crying because your church marquee is one of the ones highlighted.
Here’s the thing: all of those marquees are in small towns. As far as I can tell, this is not something large city churches do. It’s our fault that there are this many kooky marquees out there. However, many of your church buildings will have a marquee if you are revitalizing an existing church. So, you have a church marquee, what should you do with it?
- Consider Tearing It Down
This idea wins first prize. Seriously. Hardly anyone reads these things. Websites and social media outlets are where people go to learn about your church (post coming soon). It could be argued that they are a traffic hazard. They are probably rotting if they are made of wood and harboring dangerous termites. Whatever excuse you need to sell to your church the tear down, come up with one! Moves like this can help communicate to your community that you are changing.
Now, what if you don’t feel you have earned the leadership capital to make such a bold move? What are your alternatives if you cannot just tear it down?
- Use It To Commmunicate How Your Church Wants To Serve Your Town
Serve your town by using it to communicate ways that your church wants to be a blessing to the community. You could start a food bank and use the marquee to ask for donations to help those nearby that are hungry. You could do a “free yard sale,” which is where you get a bunch of awesome stuff (not junk) donated and pass out invitations in a lower income neighborhood. Use the marquee to get the word out. I don’t want to get too prescriptive because I don’t live in your town, but you do. Take some time to brainstorm ideas with your staff or creative people in your church who get what you are trying to do and use the marquee to spread the word.
- Use It To Communicate What You Are Preaching On Sunday
I see this from time to time and it’s a welcomed change to the clichés and bigotry that are most often found on these marquees. However, here are a couple of rules I’d like to suggest: First, come up with a title for a sermon that makes sense…to people who are not yet Christians. They are the target audience right? We aren’t supposed to be trying to persuade people from other churches to come to our church. That means our audience is mostly people that are not currently in a church or following Jesus. Second, keep it current. Nothing says, “We aren’t paying attention” like a marquee that says you’re preaching a July 4th message in September! And third, avoid trying to be too clever. Church marquees are habitats for lame puns and attempts at saying things in the most corny way possible. I realize this is probably someone’s “ministry” in the church and they have probably had that role since before you were born. But don’t let sentiment get in the way of clearly loving and communicating to your community. You may need to have a tough chat with some people about how the church now needs them to serve Jesus in another way. Finally, please use proper spelling…unless you are really against people wearing satin! (Photo credit: pathos.com)
- Use It To Run To Current Tensions…In A Compassionate Way
Rather then comment on stuff that no one cares about, consider using your marquee to talk about issues that people do care about. This strategy is attempted by some in a crass and uncaring way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do better. As in the church sign above, they are trying to address a modern struggle to understand what God thinks about our sexuality, but they have neglected to consider how to “speak the truth in love.” (Photo credit: CNN iReport)
Seriously consider tearing your marquee down if possible. If you can’t, find ways to make the most of it. Then, consider tearing it down again:)
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