Pastoral Post 9.28.2018

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By Scott Taylor

I love a good church sign!  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Short witty statements that seem to be able to pack a heavy dose of political and theological medicine in an often humorous package.  Since coming back to North Carolina, rarely does a week go by when I don’t either see a good church sign or hear tale of a good one.

The rhetorical devices of a good church sign are many.  Much like the very title of this article, they often involve misdirection and double meanings and the occasional inside joke.  Some of my personal favorites include:

-Get right, or get left!  (Notice the not-so-subtle mixture of political and apocalyptic judgment.)

-Stop, drop, and roll won’t work in hell! (I don’t doubt that, but don’t underestimate the importance of fire safety!)

Too cold to change sign.  Massage inside! (Saw this one down the street in Asheville during a snowstorm: I know they meant to invite me to hear the “message” but one can still hope for a massage, right?)

This is a Spirit Filled Church!  (I think I’m supposed to assume that other churches aren’t.)

-You have a friend request from Jesus.  Confirm? (This one made me take time to think: Is Jesus my friend, or just my FaceBook friend?)

-There will be no recall when the roll is called up yonder.  (Yep, I saw this sign during the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election – the one with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  It remains a favorite to this day.)

-God’s love is unconditional for all who love Him.  (Oh, the wonders of that love.)

These are really just a small handful of the many church signs that have captured my attention over the years.  And, let’s be honest, creating a good church sign is no small task.  It is hard enough to put our faith into words and it only gets harder when you have to fit it onto a sign that can barely hold 10 words at a time.  If FUMC had a church sign out front that could display a message, I imagine we would need to create a committee tasked with figuring out what in the world it should say – and, no matter what the sign said, the church office would field calls on a weekly basis complaining about the sign.

So, I am doubtful that FUMC will ever get itself a church sign.  And, I’m okay with that.  We’ve got something far better.  We’ve got “signs of church” and these kinds of signs are better because they don’t need words to get the message across.  Check out some of our signs:

  • Big yellow school busses that drop students off at the church Monday through Friday for Youth and Children’s programming.
  • A red-cross bus to collect donations of life saving blood.
  • Mountains of pumpkins to fund a youth mission trip or wilderness experience.
  • Bluegrass bands, inflatable slides, food trucks, face painting booths, port-a-johns, corn-hole boards, square dances.
  • A new building to meet the town’s need for quality day-care.
  • An almost weekly traffic jam as people file into the church for a worship service, community meal, concert, or funeral service.
  • Groups gathered on the steps of the Friendship House finding the support they need to meet some of life’s greatest challenges.
  • A cross, shrouded in black one day, and decorated in flowers the next, bearing witness to our ultimate faith that in our death, we find resurrection.

Here’s a good church sign for FUMC Waynesville: Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.  On second thought, table that idea: pumpkins are on the way.  Sign Up Now.

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