Recently, I was driving past a church which had a sign hyping their latest bible study/Sunday school/sermon/insert-whatever-churchy-thing-you-can-think-of-because-I-don’t-remember, followed by a hearty “Join Us!” I’ve never liked those signs. Every time I see one, I think, “Why don’t you join us. Maybe it will stop your increasingly rapid slide into irrelevance”. I knew there was a blog post in there somewhere, but I was damned if I figure out what it was. Then, I had an apostrophe. In fact, I felt as if lightning had just struck my brain (yes, it hurt): I would crowd-source it. A quick copy and paste and my thought appeared on my Facebook page, the Outlaw Preachers, Emergent Village and Progressive Christians pages. Here are a few of the responses I got:
- The first comment was “Maybe”…” When I suggested changing it to “It would be a start toward ending your increasingly rapid slide into irrelevance”, they responded “No, I like your original “maybe!” I think that “maybe” there’s no stopping the slide into irrelevance, especially if your motivation is stopping the slide into irrelevance. If the church does what the Christ calls it to do, it WILL be irrelevant to all of the “proper” people that too many churches seem to want to be relevant to – i.e., screw relevancy and “come and join us (outside your church doors and need to be “relevant”)! And to be fair, I really hate church signs.” To which I replied “You and me both, brother.”
- “It’s okay people of the sanctified darkness. Open the doors and step into the light. You have been deceived. There was no apocalypse. It is good and pleasant outside your fortress.”
- “Unfortunately – even irrelevance feels safe when apathy & privilege take hold in my experience … challenge is how to help people/congregations awaken to the Good News in their own lives before they can imagine how they might share it anew!”
- “There’s a church I pass on my way to work that continually has the typical fundie messages on their outside sign. Sometimes I’m tempted to go one night and put my own message on it: God Loves you just the way you are.”
In case I haven’t made it clear, I don’t like church signs and I especially don’t like the “Join us” variety. The place of the church is out in the world, working to make life better for everyone they meet. If you’re putting up a message to coax people into your building, you’re missing the point of this Jesus thing. Like the song says, they’ll know we’re Christians by our love. And, Isn’t that enough?