Flipping Out!

Sign Flipper

Have you ever seen those guys who spin advertising boards to get your attention for their store, product or service? I really love watching the really good talented sign flippers (yes, that’s actually what they are called) do their thing.  Did you know that there is a national competition for these folks? Take a look at a portion of this video… it will amaze you!

Let me ask you a question: If you watched a piece of that video—do you remember what the advertisement on the board said?

The problem with this type of advertising is:

1. You’re advertising the ability of the person more than you are the message on the board.

2. The message on the board is moving so fast that it gets blurred and is over shadowed by the “performance” of the sign thrower.

3. Although it’s fun to watch someone throw those boards—you rarely remember them for more than a moment. Do you remember exactly where you were, and what the message was, the last time you saw one of these boards?

Does this remind you of anything?


The problem is that these tactics becomes just another gimmick to get your attention—right? Sign flipping falls in the same category with the inflatable dancing guy, billboards, and the guy in a chicken costume. Its a gimmick— and gimmicks never last long, keep customers, or transform lives. (Click to Tweet That!)

As the body of Christ we do the same thing at times—don’t we?  I know I am guilty.  We make big plans to get people to visit our churches with all sorts of sign flipping ideas, but we fail to remember that it’s not the sign flipping that will transform—only a relationship with God can do that.  I am trying, in my own life, to remember to offer people not only a chance to have fun, but a sincere invitation, a clear explanation, and helpful next steps to move forward as a disciple wanting to live the “full life”—John 10.  I want to make sure that I am putting just as much time in a clear discipleship process, if not more, than I do promoting or offering cool stuff—and as a youth pastor I do love cool stuff!

I’m trying to think about how Jesus invited people to the journey.

“…I’m coming to your house for dinner tonight.” —I paraphrased a little.

“I will make you fishers of men”

“Do you want to get well?”

“Give away all you have and follow me.” —Ouch! Not exactly a pizza party, dodge-ball or laser tag—huh?

What about you? Do you only invite someone to church for big “fun” events? Do you invite people at all? Why are we afraid to use the transformational life as an advertisement—all by itself? Are we afraid that our lives aren’t much of a advertisement for the transformed life?

Maybe it’s just me that’s a little very afraid?



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  • http://www.facebook.com/jamestrent21 James Trent

    Sign flipping is like my dream job. At least for a day job… it’d be really chill.

    God’s not all about fun. At the end of the day, He doesn’t simply want us to have fun. He wants us. And He’ll do whatever’s necessary to get us, even if that’s not fun for us in the moment. That’s pretty reassuring isn’t it?

    Good thoughtful post Barry.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Yeah, I know that God is not all about fun—that’s a no brainer. It’s just that I am guilty of not being more strategic about a discipleship in Christ itself being the attractive advertisement to the full life! Does that make sense?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamestrent21 James Trent

    Yes definitely! To be sure that is very attractive. Some people I think won’t find it as attractive as others, so I think that fun can definitely lead to a relationship with God. Some people won’t get it until they’re immersed, and sometimes they are immersed because they were originally attracted by the fun part. Whatever works?

    I do know that God leads people to Himself in a lot of different ways. And we know that society is looking for a full life, something fulfilling, something meaningful; and they often look in the wrong places. It makes so much sense to us now that we’ve met God but for others it’s hard to explain to them. I wonder if we could advertise Christianity in a way that really attracts the masses as in the only thing truly fulfilling. It is, but how do we say that? I’m not sure where I’m going with this lol, but Christianity is so much more than it looks like on the outside. So many people think it’s a set of rules and that’s not attractive at all…

    I guess I’m trying to figure out an attractive way to emphasize the relationship instead of the fun and instead of the common misconceptions.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Barry, glad to see you in my inbox and good word. I think about going deeper in Christ and community so your thoughts in this post run along the same line. I will definitely make reference to this article in my next post. God bless–Tom

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill


    Thanks for your encouragement my friend! Looking forward to reading your next post!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    You bring up some great points! I wonder if ultimately there is a mystery involved here, right? It’s God that does the “calling” but we do some of the responding— and we all respond to different things.

    I have noticed recently that doing acts of service with others (taking a group of people to serve) is very appealing to a some people—even if they are not a “Christian.” So fun, service, authentic living… the list goes on!