What your church sign may or may not say about your church

The Naked Pastor isn’t on the same page as me theologically – but sometimes he’s on the same page cynically. This little deconstruction of the typical church sign made me laugh… I had been thinking about the way every church I’ve ever been to has a little “welcome” blurb on the service sheet that says pretty much the same thing – and I don’t think anybody thinks that paragraph is even remotely welcoming. Welcoming comes from personal interaction not from words on a page.

But it’s one thing to point out a problem and another to solve it – how do we welcome visitors and newcomers without saying “welcome, it’s great to have you with us” or something cliched like that…


AndrewFinden says:

<blcokquote>how do we welcome visitors and newcomers without saying “welcome, it’s great to have you with us” or something cliched like that…

"Hi, I'm …." is a pretty good start I reckon.

Nathan says:

I guess I'm referring to the text in our bulletins, on our websites and on our signs.

You don't welcome somebody by saying "welcome" you welcome them by being welcoming. I was just thinking this the other day while looking at a bunch of handouts from different churches on my desk (as I unpacked).

Saying "welcome" is universal – being welcoming is not necessarily the same (as in not all churches that say "welcome" are welcoming).

Leah says:

I like cynics when they're speaking the truth. I don't like them when they're not. A lot of those points (not all) are not true (at least not most of the time). That just annoys me and makes me think the writer is trying to be difficult and make things up.

Stuart Heath says:

I think that first we need to think of ourselves as a community of sinners whom God has welcomed. We welcome other sinners because he first welcomed us.

Secondly, we need to think of ourselves as a welcoming community — not as a visitor-friendly event.

Then we need to be that welcoming community, which will often mean going out to be a blessing to people where they are, rather than expecting them to come to us.

Nathan says:

I think that's helpful. But I think we also need to work at how we "welcome" the person who comes to us (unexpectedly).

Some churches are really great at the first impression (weeks one to three) and really terrible at the bit between arriving and belonging (weeks three to however long it takes).

All churches seem to aspire to being a "welcoming community" or at least pay lip service to the idea… that's the one part of this cartoon I actually agree with. In case anybody thought I was really into the naked pastor's cynicism. I think mostly he's just angry with the institutionalised church that has burned him.