On the way into town, I noticed the sign of the county-seat church welcoming all the visiting drivers to the city along with the service times posted. I got to thinking, who would most likely be attracted to County-Seat Church by that sign? The church probably intended it to appeal to all who saw it in hopes it would pull in a few unchurched, or those just moving into town looking for a church similar to the one they left. This thought led me to questions of how we try to draw people into our churches.
Traditional churches will without hesitation state that they seek to reach the lost, but they seem to design and carry out their promotion primarily to those who are already churched or at least have some church background. Established churches say they want to appeal to the unchurched, but the net result of all their promotion and outreach is gathering churched people. I recently saw a church sign, which, right under the name of the church had these descriptive words: Independent, Fundamental, Premillenial, and Missionary. Okay, if I’m a person with no church background with spiritual questions, does that sign make me think, “Hey, that’s the church for me!” Those descriptive words would appeal only to someone pretty well-versed in churchiness.
Are we just dull to the fact that our outreach efforts only reach people like us, or is it that we are actually more comfortable just attracting people who are like us? Every church should honestly examine how it does outreach and marketing. Lay off the catch phrases and Christian buzzwords in your promotional material and signs. Rather than relying solely on signs, brochures, business cards, newspaper ads, and even websites and Facebook pages, let the stories of life change and God’s activity in your church speak for itself. That’s the best kind of church sign.