A couple years ago we were evaluating the signage inside our church building. Understand, the signs had been posted for about 8 years before I took a real hard look at them. I was embarrassed to discover that one of our signs pointed people AWAY from the gradeschool rooms rather than TO them. Ugh. I wonder how many people got confused about that one.
Despite this gross error, I can also say that we were still way ahead of the game compared to a lot of other churches. Many churches don’t even have signs. I guess they just assume people will figure out where to go, that they will ask someone, or perhaps that it should be obvious. Here’s a little hint for you – it’s not obvious. Another pointer – they don’t want to have to ask or try to figure it out themselves.
If you don’t have signs in your building, no matter how small your church facility, then I would like to propose that you may be suffering from an “Insiders Looking In” or “Insiders Looking Out” perspective – both of which are dangerous to your church’s health and growth potential. Check out “Guest Friendly Perspective” to learn more about those malady’s.
Here are a few simple pointers for church signage. Don’t worry, this isn’t rocket science.
- Clearly Post Your Church Name Outside
Seems obvious, huh? Yes, it is, and I’ve driven by churches that weren’t clearly labelled. Oh, there usually is a sign of some sorts, but they are sometimes small, hard to read, or in an inconvenient location while driving by. Ideally, drivers will see your sign at least 5 seconds before they have to brake to turn into your driveway, especially if your church is on a busy road with speedy traffic.
- Make It Look Nice.
Besides being easy to read, it should also represent your values to your community (along with the rest of your building). The drive-by is a critical part of your testimony to the community. If you were an unchurched person or new to the community, would you think your church seemed like a welcoming place when you drive by? Believe it or not, people DO occasionally attend church ‘on the fly’ while they drive by on a Sunday morning.
- Clearly Mark Driveways, Entrances, and Exits.
Do you have more than one driveway? Make sure they are clearly marked as entrances (or exits) to the parking area. Is it unclear as to which doorway is the main door to your church lobby or foyer? Place a sign over the door. Assume nothing. Take an “Outsider Looking Out” perspective – check out the signs Walmart posts outside and inside their store to lead people to where they want to go. How might that apply to you?
- Get Some Signs.
I need to make this clear first. If you don’t have even a few signs in your building, arrange to get some. You may never notice them, but they will serve your guests very well.
- Simple is Good.
You may choose to get extremely creative with your signs – which is fine, but make sure the actual text and directional arrows are easy to read. In the case of signs, functionality is more important than creativity.
- Don’t Hide Them.
You’ll want your indoor signs to be placed on walls or areas that are high traffic. The temptation sometimes is to place them in odd areas in order to make room for other things on the walls. Be careful with that. Even though most of your attendees won’t need the signs after the first few visits, you still need to be ready to serve your guests well. What I have discovered is that hidden signs tend to, well, stay hidden.
- State the Obvious.
Another temptation is to not post what seems obvious to you. It may be obvious that the big wooden double doors lead into the sanctuary, but don’t assume it will be obvious for someone who has, perhaps, NEVER been in a church before.
- Give Directions at the Main Entrance.
It’s important that there are signs for all of the key areas of the church near the front entrance as people walk through those front doors. If a guest ever gets lost or confused, they will tend to make their way back to the entryway or lobby to get their bearings and figure out where to go next.
- Lead People Through the Building.
Ideally, you will have signs placed all throughout the building leading your guests to where they might want to go. For instance, if your cafe area is to the left, down the hall, to the right after the restrooms and then the second door down . . . you’ll want at least three signs. One pointing to the left from your foyer; one just after the restrooms pointing to the right; and one over the second door.
- Post Destination Signs at Each Room.
I recommend every door leading somewhere important have a sign associated with it. Again, most of your attendees won’t even notice or need the signs, but then again that’s not who they are for. This includes a sign over the sanctuary doors, the fellowship hall, the kids classrooms and most importantly, the restrooms.