I wish I had taken a picture. It was on the church sign in front of the church high above a four-lane highway. “Worship Team Wanted.”

My mind whirred. What is that saying to a potential newcomer? I suppose it says different things to different people.

Let’s see. To the church guitar player from the other church who really thinks he should be paid, it probably makes him wonder if he can get a few of his friends together and do music at that church instead. Is that what they are looking for?

To the person who goes to the other church it might say they are growing and adding another service so they need more musicians. Or it might say the church is falling apart and is desperate to find some musicians.

To the de-churched person it certainly won’t look inviting. To the unchurched it might confuse: “What is a ‘Worship Team’ anyway?”

I’m guessing the sign had been there for a while but I really don’t know.

I do know what that sign doesn’t do. It doesn’t inspire me. It doesn’t direct my thoughts. It doesn’t make me laugh. It doesn’t make me feel anything positive about that church. It doesn’t tell me there is love in the house. It doesn’t tell me they train people to do what they need to do. It doesn’t tell me they care about anything I might care about.

The use of the word “worship” is at best a figure of speech called “metonomy.” Metonomy is a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated. The word they probably had in mind was “music” but this is a common misplacement in the insider talk in churches. Unchurched people simply don’t understand what you are talking about until someone explains it. At worst it shows that the church doesn’t do “worship” which is the expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. Limiting the expression of worship to a band at the front of a group performing in such a way as to induce others to participate really lowers the bar. All that discussion will be far too arcane (not archaic – a different word) for the newcomer.

That sign is at least 20 feet above the ground and one of those where you put black letters one at a time against a lighted white background. I would guess the one in question could hold a maximum of about 50 letters. The people who already go to that church know about their needs on the inside so the sign is irrelevant to them. The list of people on the outside who qualify to apply for the job is short. But one of their friends might see it and pass the message along, I suppose. One drives by that sign in less than six seconds. And many people drive by it twice a day. Isn’t there something more relevant to say to a larger proportion of those who pass by? Isn’t there a weightier message? (See Lamentations 1:12.)

I wonder who climbed the ladder with such an irrelevant message to install? Couldn’t someone find something better to do with those 50 spaces? Now there is a challenge. What would you put up there that might, just might, capture the attention of some who could benefit by responding and taking the chance to attend a meeting at that church?

Thomas Watson Sr. the founder of IBM about a hundred years ago created a motto for his company. The big takeaway here is summarized by his motto. Think.

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