Out of sight, out of mind.
That statement is true with the visibility of your church.
If people can’t see it or find it, it’s out of their mind.
This doesn’t work.
Do people know your church exists or where it is? Read this story of one person knew nothing about the church on the corner.
Church Hidden behind the trees
In summer 2009, I preached at a Christ Presbyterian Church in the well-developed suburb of Fairfax Virginia. Their pastor has given me permission to name them and use their photos that he took below.
The church was located on a principal 4 lane highway on the corner of an intersection with a traffic light. A new shopping center (strip mall) is going up right next to it.
Driving north on the main highway, the church was entirely invisible.
Mature trees blocked nearly all visibility of the edifice from the road way. The trees dominated the visibility and appeared to dwarf the giant structure behind it.
Driving south, the church is also invisible until you are at the intersection. The lot next to it still has not been developed and is full of mature trees that block visibility until one is nearly upon the church. They likely don’t own that land, so there is no real solution there.
Possible Solution: trim or remove the mature trees, replant ones that doesn’t grow so tall and have such a huge canopy. Work with an arborist to do this in a safe way and an appropriate time. Some locality’s have zoning laws that require county permission to remove trees, so make sure you check with your local regulations.
Indiscernible Church Sign Lettering
The large brick church sign was well positioned under the tree.
But the bronze letters on the brick sign had weatherized to the point of blending in with the brick.
Likewise when one could see the sign at the intersection, the lettering couldn’t be read.
Here is a photo of the sign lettering:
The pastor and I talked about this during my visit, and he scheduled a workday to at least change the lettering with the goal of making it more visible from the road.
Here is what they did with a little bit of exterior paint:
Where is the office?
I first visited the church during a Monday through Friday work day. The visibly dominate doors and entry way to the facility led my eye directly there — that of course was the entrance to the comfortably sized foyer with the sanctuary off to the left.
What wasn’t visible however, was how to find the office. Since I was with the pastor when I arrived, we walked to a side door off to the right side. That was the entrance to the office — in a completely unexpected direction.
Possible solution: Clearly mark the office entrance for those who come quietly during the week seeking assistance, or for delivery people dropping off shipments. This is more important if your offices are in the former manse or parsonage.
What about your church?
Is your church visible from the street?
Does it have appropriate and quality signage?
Is your sign perpendicular to the street for drivers, or parallel with the street (when people used to walk to church).
- Drive up to your church from both directions. Try to think like a person who has never seen it. Can people tell it’s a church? What kind of quality signage indicates a church, particularly if you are not in a traditional looking church building?
- Go to a local coffee shop or gas station. Ask people for directions to the XYZ church. See if people know where it is. Repeat this at a couple of gas stations or places.
What did you discover? What can you do to remedy this?