The other day, as I was driving to Oakland after dropping my son and his friend off at school I came across this church sign. It made me cringe and I got so disturbed that I pulled over and took a picture because I knew I’d want to blog on it.
To me, this sign gives off a really stupid message. Here’s what I think a few people would gather from this little message:
1. Our Church = Hell. Come on in an experience the worst thing you ever could!
2. Everyone in our Church is NOT going to Hell, but YOU are! Come see why and how to miss it!
3. Hell is all about FIRE and you’re going there!
4. We spent a lot of money on a digital sign to have Hell appear 3 times with fire in the background! Aren’t we relevant?
5. Our message here at this church is about the things we are AGAINST, not the things we are FOR
6. ADD THE MESSAGE YOU SEE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
This sign literally had me squirming with frustration! Too often the world only hears us, the church preach loudest about the things we are against rather than the things we are for. When all we do is negative campaign after negative campaign the sense is that we are nothing but a host of negative people. Whether you think this is the message we are espousing or not, it truly, truly is!
The world knows this about us, and so they purposefully use it to their advantage and to our detriment. They skillfully put issues they know we are against on public broadcast over and over again and at very perfect times to distract us from the true Gospel we are supposed to be living for. Sadly, we play right into the media’s hands with stupid images like the one above.
It’s like I tell my toddler when his friend says: “You’re mean!” just to get his goat. I tell him: “MJ, don’t let him win. He wants you to react. If you don’t react he will stop”. In many ways our negative soap box has perpetuated the media and the church’s negative image. When the media can skillfully place something they know the normal evangelical Christian will stand against and we react in expected fashion…they win and we allow the name of Jesus to be hurt in the process.
So I come to it: what IS our message? When you think about your overall life, what message are you telling with it? When you think about the Gospel, what message do you emphasize in your words? When you’re on Facebook, what images do you display, conversations do you start, pages do you like?
We need to stop being so reactionary and be revolutionary. We need to be proactive and on fire for the Gospel, the positive more so than the negative, emphasizing grace over judgement.
What do you think the message of the sign is? How can we stop being so reactionary? Put your thoughts in the comments below!