Church Signs (Plus the Results of Our Survey)

by Melannie Svoboda SND on February 3, 2014

When I’m out driving, I pass many Christian churches. I notice that most of them have nice signs out front with the name of the church on them: St. Mary Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, Word of Faith Church, Calvary Methodist Church, Church of Jesus the Forgiver, etc. And many of the signs have a scripture quote or a clever saying. It’s the clever sayings that intrigue me.

What’s the purpose of having clever church signs? For one thing, they get our attention. Sometimes they also make us smile. Other times they invite us to see some aspect of our faith—like prayer, love, or hope—in a new way. And they do all of this in about 12 words or less.

So let’s take a look at some actual church signs. Here are 10 signs I found online. I suggest you just read them slowly, noting which (if any) you like, and which (if any) you don’t like. At the end, I have a little challenge for you:

 

 

wireless connection sign

 

god at end of rope sign

soul custody sign

 

easter sign

 

walmart sign

 

missing from church sign

 

friend request sign

 

cars recalled sign

 

 

honk sign

 

 

pencil signjpg

 

First, are there any signs you liked or did not like? Why?

Here’s my challenge: If you had to come up with a sign in front of your church—in about 12 words or less—what would your sign say? It would be nice if some of you could share your signs with us.

In all of this it’s good to remember that the most effective and most beautiful sign a church can have is its members! A happy, generous, humble, patient, welcoming, and forgiving Christian community is by far the best sign for any church!

NOTE: HERE ARE THE SURVEY RESULTS

I want to thank all of you who filled out the survey.  Before I share the results with you, let me say a couple of things. First I began this blog on February 13, 2012.  My first few months I averaged 500 “hits” a week. That number has grown to 1400 “hits” a week. (Some of you have told me you read the blog early in the week and then come back later in the week to read the readers’ comments, so that 1400 does not necessarily represent actual individuals.) This blog now has 760 subscribers, those who signed up to receive each new post automatically every week.

I promised to award one of my books to one of you (selected randomly) just for filling out the survey. And the winner is (drum roll, please!): Sister Celeste Albers, OP, from Great Bend, Kansas! Congratulations, Celeste!  At first I had a problem identifying the winner because I didn’t ask for your email addresses when you filled out the survey. (I’m still learning the fine points of blogging and surveys!) But I did some detective work and tracked her down.

And now to the survey. A total of  356 people took the survey. Not everyone answered every question; hence, the slight discrepancy in the numbers.

1. How long have you been reading “Sunflower Seeds”?

about 2 years – 61

about 1 year – 138

a few months – 106

I’m new – 45

 

2. How would you rate this blog?

5 stars – 279

4 stars – 65

3 stars – 3

2 stars – 0

1 star – 2

 

3. Do you ever share this blog with others?

yes, sometimes – 209

yes, often – 97

no – 42

 

4. Are there any reflections you particularly liked?

The answers were quite diverse. But these were mentioned most frequently:

– “What Advice Would St. Joseph Give?” (Dec. 16, 2013)

– “Going to Communion” (Jan. 13, 2014)

– “16 Turtles on a Log” (Sept. 30, 2013)

– “My Library Card” ((Dec. 9, 2013)

– “For Advent, I Wish You Peace” (Dec. 1, 2013)

– “Praying with My Address Book” (Jan. 7, 2013)

– “The Ways We Say Goodbye” (July 22, 2013)

– “Our Use of Stereotypes” (July 29, 2013)

– “What Did Jesus Look Like?” (September 23, 2013)

– “The Shooting at Chardon High School” (March 12, 2012)

– “Fr. Demetrius Dumm, OSB” (Dec. 30, 2013)

– “Uncle Hank: Veteran of World War II” (Nov. 4, 2013)

– “A Meditation on Snowplows” (Jan. 27, 2014)

– “What Would You Say to the Next Pope?” (Feb. 25, 2013)

– “Dietrich Bonhoeffer” (Sept. 9, 2013)

– “The Lesson of the Purple Petunia” (March 25, 2013)

– “Deer Tracks in the Snow” (Jan. 21, 2013)

– “Mary: She Was One of Us” (May 6, 2013)

– “The Joy of Working Crossword Puzzles” (Jan. 6, 2014)

 

5. Do you have any suggestions for future topics?

The vast majority of people said things like “I like the variety as it is” and “You and the Holy Spirit are doing a pretty good job choosing topics.” But a number gave me some good suggestions for future topics. Here are a few:

the saints (especially the lesser known ones), care givers, forgiving hurts, the cosmos, the fruits of the Holy Spirit,  prayer, women’s struggles in the church, spiritual works of mercy, incarcerated women, technology, the role of cardinals in the church, the dynamics of family life, loneliness, hearing loss, losing friends, healing from woundedness, self-worth, seashells, clouds, human trafficking, dealing with chronic illness, generosity, looking forward, weight loss, recipes for lifting our spirits, seasonal topics, deserts, the psalms, unemployment, when the child becomes the parent, divorce, Super Bowl, living with change, lessons you’ve learned, mysteries, old pair of shoes, anything with scripture, pets, Jesus’ parables, depression, Pope Francis, church history, the death penalty, vocation discernment, difficult personalities in the work place, anger, perseverance, coal, what is a bad day, visiting the sick, anxiety, we are all interconnected.

I have enough topics to write about for at least a few more years!

 

6. Do you have any suggestions for making this blog better?

The vast majority said they like the blog as it is–the topics, the length of the reflections, the pictures, the writing style, the prayers, the reflective questions, and the humor. But there were some good suggestions too. Here are a few of them:

– give a daily quote

– provide links that are related to the topic

– could you write more than once a week?

– write something for teens and children

– always give a Bible verse to go along with the topic

– do more with artwork and graphics

– always suggest something for us to do

– make it easier to print the blog without the sidebars and other “stuff”

– recommend a book list

– a presence on social media would make the blog reach a wider audience

7. What is your gender?

– female – 308

– male – 16

8. What is your age?

– under 25 – 1

– 26-35 – 4

-36-45 – 12

-46-55 – 38

– 56-65 – 98

– 66-75 – 126

– 76-85 – 39

– over 85 – 7

 

9. Where do you live?

Most of you who took the survey live in the U.S. Here are the states that were represented:

Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho

Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota

Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio

Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

 

Ohio had the most survey takers with 78, followed by Pennsylvania with 25, both Florida and Texas with 22, both Michigan and New York with 14, and Wisconsin with 13

 

Nine countries were represented–plus a category called “unknown.” Here’s the breakdown:

USA – 333

Canada – 9

Unknown – 4

United Kingdom – 3

Taiwan – 1

South Africa – 1

New Zealand – 1

Australia – 1

Italy – 1

Kenya – 1

 

10. Is there anything else you would like to say?

Most people said “thank you,” wrote a personal note, or simply said “keep up the good work.”

Some of my impressions after seeing the results of this survey:

+ I was impressed by the number of viewers who took the survey: 356. That’s wonderful!

+ I felt very encouraged by the basically positive response to my blog. I’m energized to keep writing!

+ I was struck by the number of viewers who share my blog with others either occasionally or regularly.

+ I wondered how I could attract more male readers.

+ I wondered how I could attract more readers under 25.

+ I was excited to see so many states and 9 countries represented.

If you would like to say anything about the survey results, please do! Thanks again!

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen Magiera February 3, 2014 at 4:53 am

Sr. Melannie,

Thanks for sharing the survey results. Intersting stuff.

Here is my church sign: Come in from the cold, God has a warm spot waiting inside.

What do you think?

Kathleen

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

Looks good to me, Kathleen–especially with the severe winter some of us are having! Melannie

Reply

Nancy Frederico February 3, 2014 at 7:38 am

Hi Sr. Melannie

Thanks for sharing the survey results with your readership and warm Congratulations to Sr. Celeste! It was fun to read the results. The way I found your blog was through SND’s website. Your audience, of course will increase as longer as you keep driving them to your website and promoting it as much as you can. To reach young adults, you’ll need to be where they are ie. facebook, twitter and linked-in, to name a few. There should be a blogging index somewhere so that people can identify and choose which blogs that are of interest to them. Meanwhile, all of us can promote it to our friends, families and clients. I certainly will.

Thanks again for the joy you bring to us every Monday!

Happy Feast of St. Blaise!

Best,

Nancy Frederico

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

Dear Nancy, Thanks for your suggestions! Sr. Melannie

Reply

Angela February 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

Hello Sister Melannie,
LOVE LOVE LOVE your weekly inspiration! I also enjoy reading your reflections in “Living Faith”. This would be my church sign – “May God bless you always, in all ways”
Have a beautiful day!
Angela G.
Chardon, OH

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

Good church sign, Angela! And THANK YOU for your ENTHUSIASTIC response to my blog! Sr. Melannie

Reply

Celeste Albers February 3, 2014 at 9:34 am

First of all, I want to thank Sr Melannie for her extra work at hunting me down to let me know I had won! What a “God moment” I had when I returned her call and got to visit with her for a few minutes and share some other “God moments” I have had and those of the people I worked with in the RCIA. Thanks for sending us the results of the survey. Your messages are a great blessing for me, and I will continue to share them with others. Peace to you and all of your readers!

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:49 am

Dear Celeste, I was so happy to chat with you the other day. I’m so glad I tracked you down. Congratulations again! Melannie

Reply

Mark Svoboda February 3, 2014 at 9:44 am

Maybe the challenge isn’t to get male readers, maybe the challenge is to get males to respond to surveys 😉 (mea culpa)

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:51 am

Dear Mark, I am impressed by your humility! Thanks for giving me another slant on the dearth of male respondents to my survey. You are forgiven, dear cousin! Dolly

Reply

Pat Lynch February 3, 2014 at 10:03 am

Sign at St Francis of Assisi church in Hillcrest, NY:
‘This church is opened between Christmas and Easter ‘

Had to chuckle when I read it……

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:51 am

What a great sign! Thanks, Pat! Melannie

Reply

Tom February 3, 2014 at 10:42 am

Take heart. I was pleased to be among your peak group, age wise. Did you realize that we also represent those most likely to buy Buicks? That says something about the quality of your work and the challenge of attracting a younger clientele.

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:46 am

Dear Tom, I laughed out loud when I read your response–that the peak group “represent those most likely to buy Buicks”! I now have concrete proof of the quality of my readership–and I include you in that, Tom! Melannie

Reply

Mary Schneider February 3, 2014 at 11:18 am

Not especially intended to be inviting, but the local Lutheran church in snowy Wisconsin has a sign that says, “If you are praying for snow, please stop!” I always take a second to read all church signs and hope they call many more to seek out the Lord.

Also, I am happy to be in the largest demographic by age. Yea oldies!!

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

Dear Mary, Thank you for your great sign…And congratulations on landing in my largest demographic by age. What would I do with you “oldies”? Melannie the oldie

Reply

Kathy Gruber February 3, 2014 at 11:26 am

Whoever is praying for the snow, please stop.

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

How appropriate for this winter in many parts of our country. Thanks for sending this along, Kathy. Sr. Melannie

Reply

Penny Finley February 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm

My church sign: Have you talked to God today? He’s waiting to hear from you. Penny

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

I really like your sign suggestion, Penny! It’s so simple. Sr. Melannie

Reply

Mary Ann Gaster February 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I am impressed that your ministry is as widespread as it is! I think this is an awesome testimony to the fact that our small deeds in a big world actually has a rippling effect across the globe! We cannot think that we are insignificant when we are doing God’s work/will.

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:39 am

Dear Mary Ann, Thank you for reminding us that no one is insignificant…and the ripple effect of even small deeds. Melannie

Reply

Annie February 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm

This ought to be somewhere for young people (though maybe not on a church sign) “Let every OMG be part of a prayer or not used.”

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:38 am

Dear Annie, You have a wonderful idea here! If only every voiced OMG were a prayer! Melannie

Reply

Annie February 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Or maybe the church sign could read:
“OMG!”
“Yes?”

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:37 am

Great one, Annie! Melannie

Reply

Barbara Hirn February 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm

For the sign, I would choose “Jesus loves you to death, and beyond”

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:37 am

I like this short yet profound reminder. Thanks, Barb! Sr. Melannie

Reply

Alfredo Jesús Rios Sánchez February 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Thank you for the benefit of your comments and reflextions, GOD Bless You All!

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:36 am

You’re welcome, Alfredo! Sr. Melannie

Reply

Bro. Leo van de Weijer February 4, 2014 at 1:31 am

I was struck by a motto on a matatu (taxi in Kenya) and it could be a good church sign: “Be relaxed, God is in control”

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:36 am

Dear Bro. Leo, You prove that we can find inspiration anywhere–even on a taxi! Thanks for sending us this! Sr. Melannie

Reply

Betty H February 4, 2014 at 7:40 am

My church sign “Everytime you say God, He says what.

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

A great reminder of the available and interest of God when it comes to us, God’s children! Thanks, Betty! Melannie

Reply

Sister Dolores Marie Sambuco February 4, 2014 at 10:24 am

Melannie,

Thanks for sharing your survey results. Most interesting!! Someone recently sent me this sign:

No God — no peace. Know God — know peace.

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

A fine contribution, Sister Dolores! Thanks for passing it along. Sr. Melannie

Reply

John MacDonald February 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Sign I wish I penned “May God make me the person my dog thinks I am.”
The numbers ;
-On the dirth of male respondents – Sadly reflects the attendees at our masses.
-1 out of 324 under 25 that’s .3% – not surprising that the main influencers of this group would be the 25 to 45 year olds -teachers , parents etc and their numbers came in a 4.9%

Take heart. It is columns like yours that address the connectivity of our faith to our everyday. This, I feel, is key to the care and feeding of our youth. Perhaps there is a demographic marketing guru in your reader mix that can suggest ways to “Flog the Blog”

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:32 am

Dear John, What a good idea for a sign! I love it! And thanks for your slant on some of the results of the survey. You make some good points. Sr. Melannie

Reply

Lisa D'Amore February 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm

My church sign: “You are a child of God. Please call home.”

Thanks for encouraging us place richer and more frequent calls, Sr Melannie!

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

Dear Lisa, I love the appeal to “coming home…” And I’m glad you find my blog encouraging…Sr. Melannie

Reply

Cathy Baier February 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

One church sign I saw online I liked: LIFE IS A PUZZLE. LOOK HERE FOR THE MISSING PEACE.
And one just up the road: The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.
Thanks for all of the inspiration!

Reply

Melannie Svoboda SND February 7, 2014 at 11:29 am

Two great contributions! Thank you, Cathy! Sr. Melannie

Reply

Leave a Comment