Church Sign Success

by Hope Sewell on September 14, 2013

in faith, family

Church Signs
Church Signs
Church Signs

What are we doing to ourselves???
It’s no secret that the church sign faux pas is one of the funniest phenomena.  Whenever I see a church sign while driving down the road I always crane my neck in the anticipation of a good laugh or at the very least a grin.

Here are some of my favorite misspeaks (and not so misspeaks) from the church sign world.

What if God asked you for a sign?

Tired of being a loser?  Turn to God!

Are you kidding??

Go to church or the devil’s gonna getcha!

I hate to tell’em but sometimes the devil has sat beside me in pew #7!!  And if that wasn’t him he was definitely in the 2 year old room in childcare!!

Choose the bread of life or you are toast.

Somebody from that church is just having fun with the pastor!!  Surely they aren’t serious!!

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.

Bless their hearts!!
If they are trying to encourage people why not say something like, “Christ, the King of Kings, is speaking to the Father of all Creation on your behalf right now.”  Hebrews 7:25
I get that it’s a little long but geez!!  I’ve been reduced to a photo collage on His refrigerator??

I think a prerequisite for the “in charge of sign” position at the local church should be a marketing degree, or at the very least the person should be somewhat well read.

My all time favorite church sign faux pas is….drum roll please….
First Baptist Church (fill in the blank)
Touching the Families of the Future

My initial response is, “Ewww…don’t touch my family.”  It just sounds inappropriate.
Plus rule #3 in my Sunday morning 3’s to 5’s class is Don’t Touch Your Neighbor!!

I totally get what they are trying to say but it could be said so much better.  George Elliot, a Victorian era novelist writes, “Our words have wings , but fly not where we would.”  Once our words have taken flight, they can go to places we never intended.  There is great wisdom in measuring them out carefully (Proverbs 18).

The First Baptists could have made their mantra:
First Baptist Church
Strengthening Your Family for the Future

For many of us, the future is a scary place filled with the great unknown.  Strength to go through it is a must-have and a commodity that I believe one would be grateful to receive.

Even though I would say that 90% of church signs are failing to communicate properly I did recently come across one that would receive a 100 A+ in my grade book.  And what’s better is that I saw it on a morning that I was in great need of putting its message of truth to work in my heart and mind.
It read as follows:

Success is being who and doing what God has called you to.

On this particular morning I was driving to church contemplating my success, as I often find myself doing, and as usual it was more like counting my failures.
I, like all women, fill many roles in my daily life.
Church planter’s/Pastor’s Wife
Church Worship Team Participant
Teacher to Preschoolers on Sundays
and the list goes on to infinity and beyond.

My goal in each of these rolls is GREAT success.

How do I measure success??
My tendency as the wife of a church planter is to measure our success by how many seats are full, how full the bank account is, and believe it or not, I even find myself measuring success by the attitudes of the people in attendance on Sunday morning.


Like I have any sway over which side of the bed someone wakes up on!
I plant.  I water.  God causes fruit to come forth (Galatians 5:22-25; 1 Cor. 3:6)

As a mom, I measure my success by the behavior/choices of my children.
(Not to mention that as a homeschool mom their A+ is mine too.)

While I am certainly a steward of my children and my job is to discipline, disciple, and train them in the ways of the Lord as well as teaching them His truth I CANNOT be and AM NOT responsible for NOR CAPABLE OF BEING in total and complete charge of their choices and decisions.  My job is training, correcting, encouraging and loving.  As cute as they are, my children are not perfect.  Oh that there were!!  But they are sinners who are prideful and are intent on self-preservation (which eventually leads to self-destruction).

We’ve had some recent sinfulness exposed here amongst the Sewell children and my first thought as the Mom is that somehow it must be and has got to be all my fault.

But I am wrong.

I am not the perfect mother.  I can always do better.  However, their sinfulness is not my fault.  It is theirs and it’s ultimately due to their own pride (Proverbs 16:18).

Surely some of it has to be my fault right?? In 1 Samuel the priest Eli was tragically judged and struck down by God because of the behavior of his children right??!!  How is that for unsuccessful!!
WRONG again!
1 Samuel 3:12-13 tells us that Eli is punished NOT because of the sins of his sons but because of HIS own sin in…..wait for it…..NOT correcting them.
Training, encouraging, teaching, and correcting….that’s our job!!

Go back to the garden of Eden.  The world is brand new and perfect.  God has a wonderful and intimate relationship with the prize of His creation.  He’s given them only a few rules to follow for their protection.  And although they walk with God everyday what do they choose to do??
They disobey.

Is this God’s fault?  Is He unsuccessful as their Father?  Of course not!!

Just the other night I’m downstairs in my bathroom getting ready for bed.  I’ve already prayed with and tucked everybody in for the night.  Then all of a sudden I hear a loud THUD followed by screaming and crying to the tune of “Go get Mom!!”

I run upstairs to find Tobin in the floor recovering from the shock of having the breath knocked out of him.  Once settled, his explanation of what happened was that he’d fallen off of his bed.  “Were you playing around? Jumping? or some other horse play??”  “No ma’am.  Just laying here and I rolled over not realizing I was that close to the edge.”

Ok.  The End.  Catastrophe over.

A few minutes after I’m snuggled under the covers he’s standing by my side and says, “Actually, I lied.  I was doing front rolls on my bed and fell off.  I’m sorry for lying will you forgive me?”  “Of course I will!!  Thank you for telling me the truth!!”
He exits.

My first thought is, “Wow it hurts to be lied to.”  Second thought, “What am I doing so wrongly that would make him want to lie to protect himself.  I’m a failure!”
Third thought, “WAIT!!  This isn’t failure!!  It’s SUCCESS!!  He is learning God’s ways, recognizing his own sin, confessing, repenting and asking for forgiveness!!”

Not only is this situation proof of my planting and watering, i.e. training, teaching and praying, but it’s also proof of God’s active work in His life.  God’s work in Tobin has been very evident since his conversion a few weeks ago!!  Seed germination has been fun to watch…as it always is!

Success is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

My aim for my children is that they see God, know God, and are transformed to be like His son.
Aiming for perfection in them, church attendees, my husband and even myself is illogical.  Philippians 1:6 tells me that’s God’s job.

Loving the LORD with all my heart, soul mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself (Matt. 22:37-40)….that is my aim and allowing Christ to transform and mold me to look like Himself.

So I held my head a little higher after reading that church sign that Sunday.  I’m sure I encountered one person that was a little off kilter, no one behaved perfectly and I may or may not have hit every note exactly on pitch.
I didn’t redefine success, but I did redefine my goal.  I moved my eyes from looking at others and their actions and pointed them inward towards my heart and motives.

Because success is the accomplishment of being and doing who and what it is that God has called me to be and do.

I’m not always successful.  But when I am, it’s because of Christ living and working in me.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with [failures], weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Stay successful my friends.

Sign up for updates and keep those creative juices flowing. Enter your email below.

Delivered by FeedBurner

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: