Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

We all notice signs. They direct us. Inform us. One of the places we tend to think signs don’t really matter is in and around our church buildings. After all, we know where everything is, right? The problem is new people don’t know! Lack of signs shows that we don’t expect guests.


When was the last time you reviewed your church? According to a FedX survey, 68% of consumers believe that signage reflects the quality of a business’ products or services and that seems 100% transferable to the church world. Here are some practical suggestions for evaluating and changing your church signs:

  • Consider who will be using them. If your signs are for guests, be sure to use language they will understand. For sure, you want to avoid acronyms on signs—the folks who know what the acronym stands for don’t need a sign and the folks that need the sign won’t know what the acronym means! But also bear in mind, guests won’t necessarily understand that the door to the chancel will land them in the middle of the stage! It’s always worth considering the vocabulary we use. Will you direct guests to the sanctuary or the auditorium? The vestibule, the foyer, or the lobby? Your local leader(s) should decide but be intentional about your names.
  • Make sure your signs are current and readable. Take time to inspect every sign on your church property, inside and out. Do they need to be replaced? I do not suggest repainting or fixing them. Replace them with more contemporary signage. Also, consider how the sign will be used. For instance, will it be an exterior sign read from a moving car or a directional sign at the end of a very long hallway or a room number above the classroom door? Ensure your signs are legible from the appropriate distance so guests don’t have to be directly beneath the sign to realize this isn’t where they wanted to go!
  • Directional signs are a must. Have signs indicating where to go to all the major locations in your church. This includes signs to the main entrance, the sanctuary, and bathrooms (no one likes to ask). Put displays at hallway intersections. You should also have adequate signage for young families with small children. There is nothing more frustrating than getting out of your car and having no idea where to take your kids.
  • Remove ALL negative signs. Yes, get rid of all the “no” and “don’t” messages. Once an indoor mini-golf course opened up near our home. The entrance was filled with signs about all things you couldn’t do. I told my wife the business wouldn’t last a year. It closed in six months. I know it wasn’t just about their negative signs, but negative signs are NEVER welcoming. If something must be said, change them into a positive request such as “please” and “thank you.”


The bottom line is that good signage makes a good first impression. Bad signage doesn’t. As you review your signs, be sure to keep these basic design elements in mind:

  • Letter Size
  • Symbols
  • Colors
  • Location
  • Lighting
  • Budget

What suggestions do you have for church signage?

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