Signage is an important part of any building that welcomes visitors on a regular basis, and churches always need to be prepared for the newcomer. This post looks at the first sign any potential guest will see, the outdoor sign.
Typically congregations have large signs near the street that give the times of services, pastor’s name and possibly some additional text that can be changed from week to week. Such signs could be valuable, but the cost of these signs may be limiting to some local churches. How easy is it to identify your church building? You may not need a free-standing sign depending our your church structure and placement in relation to the street. However, you will still need something on the outside of your building that tells the name of the congregation, even if it is engraved in your stone structure.
If you are planning to add a sign outside, be sure that it is readable when driving down a street. Do not place it parallel to the street where it would require someone to turn his or her head 90 degrees or otherwise stop in order to read the sign. Choose a sign that matches the look of your building and neighborhood while still being distinctive.
The text on the sign is important, and must be accurate. If you cannot change the text of the sign easily, do not place anything on it that changes. Your congregation’s name is most important. Times are very helpful, but do not need to take up a prominent position on the sign. Similarly, listing your website or phone number could also help potential guests inquire about your congregation. However, if you have a large area in your sign that can be easily changed, you should regularly update the message.
I do not recommend putting statements on the sign that would only be understood by or of interest to active members of your congregation. Members should learn about what is happening in your local church through some other means. The outdoor sign is for the average person going down the street. Nevertheless, it may be helpful to place some event info there. These updates may include preschool sign ups, special services like Holy Week and Christmas and the beginnings of new sermon series. Sermons of interest to those who do not currently attend church need to be promoted to those outside the church.
In between these times you may want to share brief messages that catch a persons eye. Be sure to keep them within the general tone of your congregational messages so that people will not be surprised when they enter for worship.
Also, it is very important that if you do change the time of your worship service that the time for the upcoming Sunday is on the sign. I have never returned to one congregation who had not updated their sign, thus causing me to walk in at the conclusion of the service.
There are many other aspects of signage to be considered, but I will save those for a future post. Please respond with your questions, comments or personal experience. This is a place for conversation.