Church Signs … and What We Believe

One of our goals for the church’s various Social Media platforms is to engage people in the greater Burlington area in online conversations that lead to new ministry and mission.  As Zach puts it, we want to move from “URL” to “IRL” (Uniform Resource Locator; In Real Life).  The fact is, we want to utilize all of our resources such that we engage in open, honest conversation that leads to more and more people feeling First UMC Burlington is a safe place to come, explore their spirituality, ask questions … and our bias is obvious in that we are a Christian church.  Our hope is that people would take Jesus seriously, wrestle with his message, ponder who he is.

To this end, at our Worship Planning Meeting recently we were discussing our church sign that sits out front – the one we put the weekly or monthly sermon titles on.  We are working on a series of services in February that focus intensely on what it means to be inclusive the way Jesus and his theology was inclusive – radically so.

One other piece of “back story” … at this point, we are looking at three messages that Mark will preach.

  1. February 2 – Radical Inclusion at Every Level
  2. February 9 – Shared Values – not Dogmatic Beliefs (Jesus: Guru or Judge?)
  3. February 16 – Tradition: Transcendent, or Territorial?

This series is coming together because of our conviction that it is important for us to engage in a conversation concerning “What We Believe”.  The “liberal church” has often been better at stating what it doesn’t believe than what it does believe.  This is what we believe: That Jesus came because of God’s love for the entire world.  We believe Jesus’ message is one that breaks down barriers, softens the edges of theological dogma, opens the way for truth-telling in what we believe, what we doubt, and where we struggle.  Our target demographic for the series is the 20 to 40 year-old group.  With all of this in mind, consider the following:

You are walking up South Winooski Avenue, past First UMC Burlington, and you happen to glance over at the church sign.  This is what you see:

Church Sign

Two questions for you:
1.  Being as objective as you can possibly be, what are your initial reactions?

2.  Being as subjective as you want to be, what are your initial reactions?

(Respond on this blog, or on the First UMC Facebook page.)

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.

  • Couple things: 1. I think the subtitle would be a cool play on words if the subject of “hell” was actually addressed in the sermons. 2. Jesus is BOTH Guru (Rabbi) AND Judge! But not in the angry religious exclusion sense – in the “establishing justice on the earth” sense :).

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  • patiencew

    Looking forward to Feb 2’s sermon. Of course I like the humor and intrigue on the church sign. Just as long as we don’t make a Church Signs Fail Blog: