Alabama church signs offer wisdom, witness through sayings, versescomment (0)
July 17, 2003
By Sondra Washington
Church leaders often place informational marquees near church buildings to encourage or enlighten their congregation and community residents.
Some display thought-provoking sayings like “God answers knee-mail” or “Soul food served here” while others publicize sermon topics, helpful Scriptures or church events.
But are these marquees truly beneficial? Many Alabama Baptist leaders say yes.
Every year, more and more church leaders use marquees as billboards to attract people to church and to spark interest in Jesus Christ.
Many churches like Mount Hebron Baptist Church, Elmore, place only community event announcement information on their marquees to supplement other advertising efforts.
However, in special circumstances, the signs may be utilized to call passersby to action.
“During the war, we called on community members to pray for our troops,” said Kevin Wilburn, youth and student pastor at Mount Hebron.
Other churches use attention-grabbing phrases to encourage Christians and reach the unchurched.
“We try to use catchy things that will grab them and stay with them throughout the week,” said Pete Dunn, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Uriah. “This might be a one-shot type of thing. We hope it will stimulate their thinking to godly matters.”
Similarly, Susan McLellan of Bethel Baptist Church, Pleasant Grove, believes church marquees have the potential to touch people that church members may not be able to reach.
“There may be some event that may attract someone’s attention that may otherwise not come,” she said. “The Bible verses may make them think about their relationship with God or the absence of it.”
Like Dunn and McLellan, Jerry Doss sees church marquees as a ministry tool.
“It’s always a silent witness on the side of the road,” said Doss, the pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Georgiana. “It’s here when nobody else is.”
Although many churches value the usefulness of their marquees, a large number do not maintain them to keep the interest of onlookers, according to Mike Looney, owner of Commander Board Signs in Fairfield, which has serviced hundreds of Alabama Baptist churches.
No matter how churches use their marquees, Looney advises them to follow two simple rules in maintaining the signs:
1. Change the information on the sign frequently. “The biggest mistake that churches make is that they don’t change the message,” he noted. “Changing it at least once a week will keep people interested. People will quit looking at a sign if it’s the same message.”
2. Keep the message short and simple. “Most of them will take about 17 letters per line,” Looney added. “Keep your message as short as possible to be read as quickly as possible.”