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Funny Church Signs

The website Sayingsforchurchsigns.com has a vast library of blurbs to put on a church’s marquee. Under the topic heading “funny/humorous” the website offers such gems as: “The Lord said to John, Come forth and receive eternal life. John came fifth and received a toaster,” “The best vitamin for a Christian is B1,” and “Read your Bible: it’s user friendly plus we offer Tech Support on Sunday Morning.”

In places throughout the country, church signs offering up pithy humor have been replacing more traditional signs such as service times and scheduled announcements. These kinds of signs have been praised by pastors and parishioners alike for their trendiness and for helping to discourage the myth that churches are uptight, humorless and boring. They have also become something of a social media phenomenon, with pictures of funny church signs circulating Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Attention-Getting Church Signs

Al Kennon, pastor and founder of Epiphany Christian Church in North Carolina, says, “Honestly, as long as the church signs aren’t disrespectful or discriminatory, I don’t have a problem. In fact, I think that many of the church signs that I have seen (or pics of these signs) have been really clever ways of making a person think and ultimately inviting them to attend church worship service.”

Similarly, Lewis Waha of The Civil Apologist says, “It gets passersby to read theological content. Just getting on that page ends up provoking questions and conversations that would not otherwise happen.”

These humorous signs have received attention for totally different reasons from entertainment websites such as College Humor and Funny or Die. Clickbait site, ranker.com, had this to say, “According to these …crazy church signs, every single one of us is absolutely and undeniably screwed. How these churches choose to communicate their awesome, sometimes-unintentionally hilarious message, is totally baffling.”

And justsomething.co prefaces their list of funny church signs by saying, “The world is changing, and so are people’s use and habits. To keep up with our times these pastors tried some unconventional ways to bring the faithfuls to their Sunday mass. While some of these signs are only accidentally funny, some others are purposely humorous. I don’t know if they managed to bring more people to church on Sunday, but for sure these messages catch the reader’s attention.”

Effective Ministry?

With lists and pictures of humorous church signs all over the Internet, clearly these marquees are capturing people’s attention – but just what are they accomplishing? This is a question put forward by Christian satire site The Babylon Bee, in its spoof article titled “Witty Church Sign Sparks Revival.” This fake news story pokes fun at the trend by imagining a scenario where the sign “Son Screen Prevents Sin Burn” provokes a city-wide revival and causes a hardened atheist to fall to his knees and repent. Such a ridiculous scenario begs the question: Do witty church signs have any effect on people who aren’t already Christians?

Babylon Bee isn’t the only one who questions the effectiveness of these signs. In its photo list titled “Church Signs That Won’t Make You Go To Church,” clickbait site holytaco.com lends its distinctly non-Christian thoughts to the topic: “…the comedy styling of most church pastors is kind of like a combination of Yakov Smirnoff and Rush Limbaugh. You either get the world’s crappiest puns, some sort of evil, hate filled message that’s supposed to scare you into attending, or a totally awesome, unintentional double entrendre.”

An atheist calling himself “atypical guy” adds his critique of “funny” church marquees in his blog titled “Church Signs Gone Wild”:

“While few things related to religion actually shock me these days, there seems to be no bounds to the ridiculousness of church signs.  Most of these make even less sense than the religions they’re trying to peddle.  Even so, it’s amazing how poorly-written some of the statements can be.”

These unflattering descriptions of church signs give the unfortunate impression that people are laughing at the Church more than they are laughing with it.

Why a Church Sign?

Perhaps it’s time to examine why churches choose to use these kinds of signs in the first place. Dennis Jackson of the Missouri Baptist Apologetics Network says that “they fit well with our sound-bite thinking world.” Sayingsforchurchsigns.com asserts that “Sometimes it’s easy for us Christians to take ourselves just a wee bit too seriously. We like to think that Jesus had at least a bit of a sense of humor and believe that laughter can usually help us through the toughest of times. It can also deepen our connection to God …You can help cheer up your fellows and the whole community with one very simple, very humorous church sign saying.”

So humor on a church sign appears to be the attempt to “connect.” But does this attempt succeed? The non-Christians cited above seem to indicate that, whether or not they find the sign to actually be funny, it still doesn’t accomplish the desired result of getting that person into a pew. Christians, it seems, tend to be a little more forgiving to a church’s attempts at levity on the sign. However, based on this writer’s interviews, there are many who feel that these signs trivialize the Gospel.

The Church is Christ’s body. It represents Him in a darkened world. As such, the Church offers what no other institution in the world can: Truth. This is a lofty responsibility, and not one to be taken lightly. One need only think of the many injunctions within scripture to avoid idle talk and to preach the Gospel in all circumstances.

Everything a church does is seen as representing Christ’s attitude and actions. People did not come to Christ for humor or fortune-cookie wisdom, but rather because he spoke words of truth. If a person comes to into a church because they expect to be amused or entertained, they have come with improper expectations. A church may draw smaller crowds when it preaches rather than entertains, but in so doing, it is serving the purpose for which God established it.

So what to put on your church’s marquee? A well-selected and profound Bible verse is a fitting representation of the church’s message. Other appropriate options might be news of how the church is working in the community or upcoming sermon titles. Whatever you put there, make certain it glorifies God …and not your sense of humor.

*All quotes from individuals were garnered through personal interviews.

Internet sources are as follows:

* Jonas. “Funny Church Sign Sayings, Quotes, and Messages | Humorous Church Signs.” Sayings For Church Signs. Sayings For Church Signs, 08 Oct. 2016. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

* Wabash, Robert. “The 69 Most Ridiculous Church Signs of All Time.” Ranker. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

* “32 Hilarious Church Signs That Will Make You Laugh Way More Than You Should!” Just Something (creative). N.p., 10 June 2016. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

* Bee, The Babylon. “Witty Church Sign Sparks Revival.” The Babylon Bee. N.p., 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

* Team, Break. “Church Signs That Won’t Make You Go To Church.” Holytaco. Holytaco, 07 Sept. 2008. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

* “Church Signs Gone Wild.” Atypical Guy. WordPress, 05 Aug. 2008. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

 

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One Response

  1. Jack Schmitt

    Pithy, often pathetic church sign quotes have long been a huge pet peeve of mine. It started with the “Turn or Burn” bumper stickers from back in the 60’s & 70’s, and now they serve as an embarrassment on the crucial real estate that exists in the form of church signs. The fact is that I have NEVER heard of a single person who actually decided to attend a church, let alone come to Jesus Christ, because of one of these quotes. They are the product of churches who are looking for an easier way to reach lost people, than by actually going out and building personal relationships with them.

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