When I travel around I’ve been noticing church notice boards.

Or sometimes (often?) not noticing them!

I see church notice boards parallel to the road – who does the church think reads these? Passengers in a car? How much time do they think they have to read it? So how much information do they put on such a board?

I see church notice boards with insipid colour schemes – with hardly any distinction between the board and the text on it. I see church notice boards with swirling patterns that make the actual text impossible to read until you are standing close in front of it and concentrating to decipher the text from the background.

I’ve even recently seen a notice board that faced the door of the church – I am not making this up! From where the people walk or drive past this church they see the back. Only the people coming out of the church building see what is on the notice board!

Am I wrong in thinking that the notice board is there primarily for those not regulars in your worshipping community? If that is the case we need to see the sign from their viewpoint. Drive past your sign at normal speed – or get someone not in your community to do so – how much is remembered from the sign? Is the sign (totally) up to date? Is the writing clear? Is there enough, too much, too little information?

There are signs with esoteric titles for services, letters and numbers that can only mean things to those in the know, discouraging for ordinary people to see themselves walking through those doors. When you put up your sign, have you checked that the average person you are intending it for understands what NZPB, 1662, BCP, 1989, etc refers to?

I was in one diocese where most if not all of the signs had the same look, the same background colour giving a sense of diocese-wide community (like a franchise). The Episcopal Church has a tradition of having a red door (with lots of interesting allegorical interpretations) …

While we are thinking about how we provide information for those who are not our regulars, a story: Recently I wanted to buy some takeaways and spotted  a sign. From the outside the shop looked pretty unexciting. You couldn’t see in. But walking through the door I was suddenly in a very attractive, clearly popular restaurant. As I waited for my takeaways I talked to the man behind the counter. I said how surprised I was – there was no indication from the outside of what one would find inside. He confirmed it is a very popular place. I asked if that was due to word of mouth. No, he said … wait for itit was due to their website. What is your church website like? Is it totally up to date? Is it easy for a visitor to find their way around? Have you had a few people, from outside your community, look at it to see what they can or cannot easily find? What is your community’s presence like on facebook? On twitter?

What do you think, can you add examples positive and negative (don’t “out” the community – just give the example), suggestions…

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