Grab the attention of passers-by
Communicate Jesus blog shares this very easy idea – an A-frame sign outside the church building. Sounds very effective.
For the more conventional fixed church signage, there’s a book that may help:
701 Sentence Sermons
L James Harvey
Here’s a new book of ‘single sentence sermons’ – quotations and aphorisms – which have been collected together by Harvey to “use on church signs, bulletins, newsletters and sermons”. In fact, many would be useful on church websites too, perhaps on a rotating basis. Many are specifically evangelistic, others are motivational for Christians.
The book includes two chapters on the vital and often overlooked ministry of maintaining a church sign-board, and explains current sign-board technology and the options which are now available.
The rest of the book contains 701 thought-provoking one-liners, ideal for church signs and websites. Each entry in this valuable book includes space for you to rate it, and record usages of the item if chosen. A detailed index helps you find quotes by topic or author. A unique and useful resource.
Australian writer Grantley Morris has put together a useful list of evangelistic one-liners. They avoid the pitfalls of being trite, slushy or religious.
More on church sign ministry
The vital nature of the church sign – i.e. the road-side notice-board for passers by – is often overlooked. This (and the church website) are the church’s public interface with the world, the ‘shop window’ that most people will encounter first. A faded, peeling sign-board is an instant switch-off. So is a solemn graphic and lettering style which would have looked old-fashioned 50 years ago. Sign board design should never be done by amateurs – get a professional in! Attractive boards are not a minor luxury, but a foundational necessity.
Include space for rotating and seasonal messages in text large enough, and angled correctly, to be seen clearly by people in passing vehicles. Many church signs are only readable by pedestrians. If the nearest road is a 6-lane highway, the sign needs to be … big.
Make sure your church site URL is visible from the road. Check the Crossroads Church URL on the side of their building. Would you miss it? Of course, if you want outsiders to view your church website, iit needs to be designed for outsiders.
Tony O’Hagan shares his experience of maintaining church signs: “An important principle that we embraced was that people would get turned off and not bother to look at the sign if it only ever had a religious message. In a way, we used a kind of ‘bridge strategy’. In rotation, we’d try to put up messages that were: (a) comedy (b) wisdom (c) gently spiritual. Some of the best quotes were a combination of these. We figured that this would hold the interest of most motorists while clearly delivering a consistent spiritual challenge. It was a window into the community.
“We felt it important to communicate our concerns for things like recent disasters, or emphasise the importance of family over other things like work or money, or highlight the value of forgiveness, or dealing with emotions such as anger. This, I believe, lays the foundation of interest and trust for when we present a spiritual challenge or an offer of God’s forgiveness and love.
“Also, putting up an easy-to-remember website URL on the church sign board is an under-utilised evangelistic strategy. You are very limited in what you can communicate via the church sign – but as an introduction to the website it can become a key that unlocks a universe! Better still … there’s an very obvious local place to get spiritual follow-up if the website should bear fruit.
“I used a database with well over 1000 quotes and an online PHP/MySQL program that I wrote to select and manage them. Because it runs on the Internet it allowed anyone in our team to select quotes and record what they selected and when each quote was last used. We can use the database to search for quotes on a theme (keyword search), and also limit our search to those that had either not been used for selected period of time (e.g. 3-5 years) or never used. Years ago I wrote a simple MS-DOS/BASIC program to avoid the laborious task of counting letters to find a pair of quotes that did not exceed the number of letters that we had in stock!”
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