How do you feel about the messages that churches place on signs? Just google “stupid church signs” and get ready for a groan fest. On second thought, don’t google that. If you already did, I’m sorry for even suggesting it. I just spend ten minutes looking at them, and I wish I hadn’t.
As you can see from the picture, Faith Church has a sign alongside our road, and it has a section where we can place messages for passersby. (For those of you who remember the post about us dropping the word “evangelical” from our sign, quick update: we haven’t done that yet, but the change is coming in the next few months!)
If we don’t have an event that we’re inviting people to, I struggle with what should go on the sign. I don’t want it to be cheesy. Numerous articles have been written about ridiculous church signs. I would love for the sign to be humorous, thought-provoking, and engaging. When people driving by, and we have lots of traffic on our road, read the sign, I don’t want them to roll their eyes and say to their passengers “Why do these church signs always have to be so cutesy?” I want them to think “that was a good point” or “I needed to hear that.” There are times when I want the sign to provoke a response, so that they want to ask for more information. For example, there was the time we put “this church will leave the building on Oct 8th.” It provoked a response. Three different churches who were renting other spaces contacted us or stopped by asking to purchase the building from us! To their dismay, we were simply advertising our annual Church Has Left The Building Sunday, where in place of a worship service, we go out into the community and worship by serving. Then we’re back to regular worship the next week.
One message I placed on the sign a couple years ago hoping for a response, however, did not get much of a response. The message said “Feeling distant from God? Stop in to talk.” Or something like that. The message part of our sign, like Twitter, limits the size of our messages. That limitation is a very good thing, because it forces the message-maker to be creative and concise, which makes it much easier for people driving by to read. But this particular message about feeling distant from God did not generate any stop-ins. Maybe most people feel close to God. Or maybe most people who feel distant from God don’t care, or feel too awkward about stopping in to a random church to talk about it.
So how about you? Do you feel distant from God? If so, why do you feel that way? Is it because God has distanced himself from you? Or is it possible that you have from him?
I suspect that God feels distant for many people. He certainly has seemed so at times in my life.
This coming Sunday at Faith Church, we come to the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and the lectionary reading in the Old Testament brings us to Isaiah 7:10-17. Take some time and read it. See if you might be able to discern why this prophecy would relate to God feeling distant. Then join us at Faith Church this Sunday to learn more!