Not astrology—the sign in front of your church. What does it say? Here’s an assignment: stop, look, and ask yourself: “What does it say to members? To my community? To the new person visiting for the first time?”

Most church signs say nothing to the members of the church…because they don’t read it! Many give the message: “this church is old and out of date” to the community. To the potential visitor? Most church signs give this message: “You’re welcome but beware, you are entering foreign territory!”

Focus on these issues:

  1. Clean up the language on your sign. No more using words that people in everyday life no longer use.
  2. Don’t use your sign to advertise what’s happening next. You assume way too much—that everybody who drives by is actually interested in what your church is doing.
  3. Think of your sign as an opportunity to engage those who pass by. It’s called a “blink” communication. It has to be short and concise.
  4. Make sure whatever you say is positive but interesting, intriguing.
  5. Recognize that this is a huge responsibility. Whatever you put there, it will either attract or repulse the people who drive by.
  6. Look at the structure of your sign—the medium that becomes the message. Is it old? Does it need paint? Is it worn-out and surrounded by overgrown bushes? These issues are not what you want to communicate about your church.
  7. Consider an electronic sign. No matter what it says, it will communicate that God is alive and well…and relevant to this electronic age.
  8. Put this on your calendar: your brand new sign will be out of date in about five years.

Signs are more important than you think. That’s why businesses spend billions of dollars every year to put up signs or replace them with a newer version. If you don’t have the commitment in time, energy, or resources for a good sign, perhaps you would be better off with no sign at all. At least you won’t be sending people the wrong signal!

As you consider the cost, calculate the number of people who see your sign every day. Multiply it times seven and determine if it’s more or less than the number of people who now attend your church each week. Multiply that number by 52 and you’ll have the number of people who see your sign every year. Divide that number into the cost of your new sign. That figure should tell you what you will pay for the right to have “blink” impact. It’s not the end of your communication, but it is the beginning. Make sure you make a good start!

We’d love to know what your church sign says and how it works. We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

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