I’ve written a few blogs on church signs (the type of signs that can take captions). I thought I’d written my last one but I’ve received some feedback that’s made me reflect more on the audience for church sign captions and how people (including myself) might react to them.
Apparently Christianity Today posts, each Friday, “three of the funniest church signs we’ve received all week.” I am not sure who decides which three get posted, but the word “we” suggests it is not the opinion of one person. Here are seven of the ten signs “they” selected as the best for 2013 (the other three depended partly on visual effects):
- Satan called; he wants his weather back (with a temperature 96 degrees)
- Free beer! Just kidding. Free Jesus on Sunday.
- Ready or not, here I come. Jesus
- Marriage is a 3some: man, woman, and God
- Independent, old timey, hell-fire brimstone, King James preaching
- I find your lack of faith disturbing – Darth Vader
- Prayer: the only call the government can’t hear
Okay, I would be interested in your reactions to this listing. I will give you mine. (1) Why do church signs have to be funny? I am all for the careful, clever use of words, but do effective, eye-catching church signs have to make us laugh? As with all humor, what some people find as hilarious, others may find offensive. (2) Yet I personally think a couple of these captions are pretty good (I won’t tell you which ones)—not so much funny as thought-provoking. Had I read them when I was working on my book, I may have included them.
Second was a response I received to one of my earlier posts. Here is what this person wrote: “Signs that try to be funny rather than uplifting make me roll my eyes and not want to go to that church.” Then this person gave two examples: “CH .. CH. What’s missing? UR.” “Our church is prayer conditioned.” Now the interesting thing to me is that I have put both of these captions on our own sign at one time or another; I did not find them cutesy or inappropriately funny—yet my reader did.
So that makes me realize a few things. (1) You do need to think about the reactions of people to what you post, because those captions do represent your church. (2) What are you trying to do with your captions? Simply attract attention? Get people to do a double-take as they drive by? Bless people with a word from God? (3) Remember that what one person finds thought-provoking, another person may find offensive or inappropriate. (4) You cannot control the reactions of other people to what you put on a church sign. Whatever you decide to post, if you are the one making the decision, do so with a lot of prayer that God will use those words to reach people. Remember, what is posted on a church sign may be the only message from a church that many will experience that week.
Please share with us how you react to messages on church signs and what wisdom you can share with all of us.