Can I just say I’m not a fan of church signs?
I could list a dozen reasons but here I will simply list one: It is impossible to constrain good theology to the few words that will fit on most church signs.
The temptation to be funny, cute or trite generally overcomes any desire to be biblically accurate.
Case in point-just down the road from me is this sign:
THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS, ONLY OPPORTUNITIES FOR GOD TO WORK.
I could write for days on why I hate (yes, HATE!) this sign. But I’ll restrain myself.
Here are the top three reasons I want to close my eyes when I pass it:
- It’s simply does not line up with Scripture. Paul gives a list of “problems” in 2 Corinthians 11:25-27. Did God help him? Yes! But was Paul discouraged? Yes! He turned to God but was also thankful for the practical help of those who cared about him and gave him aid.
- People who are struggling are not encouraged by platitudes. Platitudes close the door to further discussion. They are a giant “period” in a conversation. If the purpose of your sign is to invite others in, this one will do just the opposite.
- Preaching this foolishness (in person or by sign) lets congregants off the hook. If there are no problems then there is no reason to extend a helping hand. If God will handle it-why should I get my hands dirty or waste my time?
This week alone I have dealt with at least ten “problems” that required practical solutions in addition to prayers that God would help work them out.
Did He make some things fall in place that otherwise might not? Probably. And for that I am very thankful.
But did He shower solutions from the sky like raindrops? No. I had to face the problems, look for solutions and ask for help from others.
When Christ instituted the church it was not for us to sit inside four walls and dole out pithy platitudes to passersby. It was for us to be His hands and feet in the world.
Truth is that God DOES work. But most often He works through US.
All around us are people hungry for the Good News of Jesus Christ.
If we are going to put out a sign, could it just say, “We welcome the broken, the wounded, the hurting, the ones with no hope”?
Isn’t THAT what Jesus came to do?