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CONNECT: Church Signs as the Original Status Update

Aug 7 2013

by Kate Spears

There’s a small Baptist church near my house. I pass by it at least once a day when I’m out running errands or coming and going. It has one of those official-looking brick signs with four or five lines of space where you can arrange plastic letters to spell out different messages.

A few weeks ago, it read “Leon Russell: He is 97!” The next time I noticed it, the sign said “Happy Birthday Pearl Jones. The Big 91.” This past Sunday, it proclaimed “Happy Welcome Back Bob Day!”

While the most recent messages have been more personal and specific, sometimes the sign shares general advice or words of wisdom. Things such as “If you like Baskin Robbins, you’ll love our Sundays” and other mildly amusing sentiments.

There’s another church with a similar sign in my small hometown, although its messages are a bit more in your face. My dad will often text me to report what that church’s sign says. The most recent was something along the lines of “getting enough Son-shine” and being “souler” powered.

Apparently lots of folks notice these signs because lots of churches use them to try and spread their messages. There are even books and websites devoted to creating a record of church signs and church sign sayings. I don’t have data to prove it, but I’d be willing to bet this practice of church signs started in the south.

I started thinking about how connected we are with social media. If I want somebody to know what’s on my mind, I just share a status update on Facebook or compose a Tweet on Twitter. But before social media was a thing, how did we stay connected with each other? Written letters, carefully planned phone dates, and face-to-face time together often fall by the wayside.

I wonder if there will be a day when church signs as we know them are obsolete? There are already lots of churches with fancy digital signs. Will we ever miss the days of being told “7 Days without Prayer makes one Weak” on a church sign?

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Kate Spears View More Blog Posts from this Author

Kate Spears is a self-proclaimed Southern belle who grew up in a tiny town near Nashville, but now calls Knoxville home. She graduated from the University of Tennessee (Big Orange Country!) with an undergraduate degree in art history and a master’s in public relations & advertising. In 2009, she started her blog, Southern Belle Simple, with the simple hope of giving herself a creative outlet. She continues to be amazed each time it leads to a new opportunity and cherishes the relationships that are formed along the way.

Kate is passionate about family history, time-honored traditions, and her Southern heritage. Her people hail from across the South, from the Lone Star State of Texas to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She grew up spending summers on her great-grandparents’ Tennessee farm where she developed a deep appreciation and admiration for people who could coax beautiful and delicious things out of a mound of dirt. She comes from faithful men, devoted women, hard workers and wickedly good cooks.

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One response on “CONNECT: Church Signs as the Original Status Update

  1. whitneylong

    Love, love reading church signs! Always good for a chuckle and reflective thinking. One of my favorites is “God answers knee mail” 🙂

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