Friday, June 06, 2008

A church that voluntarily gave up a $50,000 sign

As a guy with interest in advertising and design, I am a fan of having church signs. Of course, this is about step number 19 or 20 in reaching people for Christ. People have to be looking for God and looking for a church in order to want to worship with a church. And some of the places that Christianity is exploding are in places like China, where Christianity is basically illegal and no signs are allowed. So we definitely should not overly rely upon them. Still, I'm for them in the US.

I was pretty amazed at a story that David Duncan, minister at the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston, TX, told at the OC Quest lectures. The Memorial church sits in a 1 mile by 1 mile little province in the middle of Houston--a province that is notoriously difficult to deal with. The church had decided to add a new sign on their property, a $50,000 sign, no less. Hey, if you've got the funds (and they definitely do), go for it. Well, the day the sign went up, the city said that they were in breach of code. The church said that it had been approved. The city then fired the person who approved the sign that very day.

The church took a stand for some time, insisting on their legal rights. But then they said, this is not the kind of relationship we want with our community. So they voluntarily took down a $50,000 sign.

They then went over to the high school, which is literally across the street from the church, and they asked them how they could serve them. Parking is horribly limited there, and so the church began to offer free parking for some of the groups that met at the school. They even allowed their parking lot to be striped like a football field so that the drill team could practice in their parking lot. They now have more traffic on a weekly basis from this than they probably would have ever had from their sign. Most importantly, they became a servant to the community.

Having had some history with this congregation, I was very encouraged and inspired to hear this wonderful story. I'm greatful for David and his leadership there, seeking to help the church there become a "missional church."

What do you think of this story?


Anonymous said...

Great story! It's about the big picture. I love the idea of asking people and groups, "How can I or we serve you?" That is unheard of in today's society where I want my dvd mailed to me, food ready and perfect within 15 minutes, big backyard, etc..

I applaud the folks at that church. Many times we take a stand on an issue no matter the consequences (maybe feeling self-righteous as Saul once did),but non-Christians look at how we approach life and the issues we don't agree with. It's just like being a parent; we can't say 1 thing and practice another.

God has blessed the church there with more traffic and probably some publicity in the paper and around town. It's what is heard on the golf course, at the ladies luncheon or at the beauty shop/barber shop that affect how people view others.

Matt B

James said...

Yes, this is a question that we ought to ask more often.

Mr. E said...

Great Story!

brad brisco said...

Great story, and of course this should be the rule not the exception. As the church we must constantly ask what can we do for the community!

James said...


Good to hear from you. I just moved the KC area. I see that you are involved in church planting there. May God bless you in this great work.

Chelf said...

I am reminded of the Community Church in Edmond that put up that expansive (and expensive) cross, to copy Groom, TX. This story is what Edmond SHOULD have done with their money.