A refreshing blend of nerd and cool.

Artwork: Contemporary Worship Sign

When I informally poll members at First Trinity about what drew them into this family of faith, I often hear some variation of: “I was driving by and saw the Contemporary Worship sign.” I’m struck by the comment, because it’s really a pretty simple sign, but it really speaks to people who are looking for something different than “traditional” church.

Side note about “Traditional” church: I struggle with this label because I believe what people really mean when speaking negatively about past church experiences and labeling them “traditional” is something akin to “empty rituals that have no meaning to me.” There’s lots of other baggage tied up in that word, but it’s often used negatively by those seeking a more “contemporary” worship style. We call our other services “Traditional”, but Sue Brese does such an excellent job of making them anything but “traditional” in the usual (read: bad) sense. They might use familiar liturgical elements and style, but it’s nothing like the “traditional (bad)” church where I grew up. I prefer “contemporary” worship myself, but I have yet to participate in a traditional service carefully planned and orchestrated by Sue and not felt like it was relevant and speaking to me. But this isn’t about worship styles, it’s about signage!

Here’s our new Contemporary Worship Sign:

Our communications team (Pat Canfield, Cathi Doebler, Carolyn Doster, Heide Edgington, Kathy Figini and Myself) has been working on it for a while. Carolyn did most of the design layout on the various options we looked at. After bringing in a few people for a sort of focus group, we narrowed it to two options, which we then sent to the EMT for a decision.

After much discussion, we felt it was important for this sign to remain as an emphasis for Contemporary worship as most people driving by would look at our building and assume we had Traditional worship available. The photo of the guitar players is certainly modern, but not over the top. I think it manages to convey both a contemporary sound, but also a warm, authentic atmosphere.

The primary content is sized to be between .5 – 1 inch larger than our existing sign, which was already quite readable from the corner. The web address is almost twice as large as the current sign. (Side note 2: Did you even know the existing sign had it? I might have known, but forgot until I went out to measure the letter heights.)

I have a dream to add lighting to the sign, but there’s some cost involved to making that happen and we couldn’t afford it right now. Maybe in the future we’ll be able to get that added. It would increase the effective hours the sign is visible, especially during the winter and the peak holiday shopping season.


  1. Stephanie

    Have you considered calling it “Classical” worship instead? Or some other word that doesn’t evoke the negativity of “Traditional”? It’s something we talk about a lot at our church, especially as we prepare to add a contemporary (as we are calling it, “Modern”) worship service to what is already offered. Sometimes the name makes all the difference.

  2. Jaime

    That”s interesting, Stephanie – I’ve never heard of the word “traditional” evoking negativity.

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