Comedy gold and witty thinking can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Like churches for example. Attending church used to be a somber and formal weekend activity. It was the norm to wake up early to slip into our Sunday’s best and then attend the mass in our best behavior. But now, more and more people are choosing to forego the Sunday tradition in favor of more sleep. And because of this, church attendance has dropped significantly to cause churches to worry a bit.
But one church has found a witty way to attract both the faithful and faltering. Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church in New York’s church signs contain clever commentary that’s both relevant and religious. Pastor Ron Garner of Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church, in an interview, explained the inspiration for the witty signs and the role of religion in the 21st century.
“Our church is located on a very busy street in Wantagh. I want to convey to the public that Christianity doesn’t have to be staid. I also want to convey to passerby that I believe people who follow Jesus are not called to be apolitical but are called to take social justice issues seriously. We are a small congregation but we have new members who came because of our signs.”
Check out Wantagh Memorial Congressional Church’s funny church signs:
“I often wonder if religion does have a place in modern society,” mused Pastor Ron. “ I certainly believe that the church of our era has become irrelevant too many. I believe that the church has quit challenging people to live full lives and has become more interested in butts in pews.”
“Jesus was a radical Jewish rabbi who challenged followers to live in radically different ways. Although it may not increase Sunday morning attendance, as a Pastor I feel compelled to offer my congregation the challenge of radical discipleship. This requires a focus on issues of social justice that are often absent from the worship or mission of the church.”
The funny church signs have managed to attract new members of the congregation.
Founded in 1889, the church describes itself as a place of worship for believers coming from different Christian denominations. “The Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church is an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ which renews its commitment to advocate justice and equality for all people in all areas of society,” Pastor Garner said. Which means, no matter what denomination you identify with, if you’re away from home and are currently around the Wantagh area, you are welcome to come and join their congregation.
Recently, the Pew Research Center found that faith is declining in America. The study observed a 12% drop in people identifying themselves as Christians. This rate is the highest that’s ever been recorded, and it’s got some religious groups worried. So maybe Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church’s funny church signs can be an effective tool to help those who’ve faltered to work on their faith again.
It’s also been observed that its mostly younger Americans who are moving away the the faithful flock. There’s a steady increase of people eschewing traditional religious faith. More and more people are claiming to be atheist, agnostic, and believe in “nothing in particular”.
“The US Church and all churches in the West have sacrificed a compelling message and mission for some vague promise of ‘heaven’ in some equally nebulous ‘afterlife.’ People aren’t attracted to that message. They want meaning in the ‘here and now.’ As far of changing this situation I don’t have an answer. I can only do what I think provides relevance and a dedication to mission.”
Pastor Garner and the Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church may have cracked the code to reaching the increasingly faith-distant generation. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? If you want to see more of their funny church signs, you can either follow them on Instagram, Facebook, or through their official website.