I could not believe my eyes. Then again I could. I was going to get some fuel in a fuel can when I passed by the church. I turned my truck around and came back for another view. I was amazed and disappointed. I stopped the truck, got out, and took a picture. What I saw made me think. Perhaps after you study the photo for a while it will stir your mind as well.
There it was on that beautiful day before the big snow of winter 2014. The church sat a few hundred feet away from the highway with its sign, two signs actually. One sign proclaimed the name of the church, along with the times for the services, as well as the pastor’s name. Nothing unusual here—but a few feet away stood another sign. That’s the one that caught my eye. Big black letters painted on a bright yellow sign proclaimed something that struck horror in my heart, “DEAD END.”
Juxtaposed like it was to the intended sign, the “DEAD END” sign quietly screamed a message to me, a passer-by.
I began to think how ironic it was that a church would have signage in its front yard proclaiming, “DEAD END.” Perhaps the pastor and the parishioners were simply accustomed to the dueling signs situated in such a strategic spot. No doubt they would say the sign meant nothing. But, I wonder…
I suppose there are other churches like this church.
Churches that send conflicting messages to those that pass by or to persons daring to stop and come in. I have heard of churches that are better known for their fighting than their fellowship. I have read of Bodies of Christ that do many things, but study and proclamation of God’s Word is infrequent and comes with uncertainty and timidity. Others commune at the Lord’s Table so seldom that it seems unfamiliar and uncomfortable, not life-changing and faith-empowering. Still, others have forgotten or abandoned prayer as a means of corporate or individual communication with God Almighty. Yard sales, trips, disregard for the needy in the neighborhood, and occasional attendance at worship and Sunday School dominate the life of churches that are slowly slipping down the slippery slope to the “DEAD END” sign.
Perhaps we would do well to reread Acts 2:42–47 (KJV) which says, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
I pray to the Lord to help me serve Him in a church fellowship where people seek to love God and follow the guidelines of Acts 2:42–47. I don’t want a “DEAD END” church. Do you?
Mark S. Hobbs