"A sign on the outside tells people what's going on inside," Says Pastor.
It's another beautiful Monday morning on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and Ellen Moss is changing the message on the sign in front of Mililani Baptist Church. This is a labor of love as Ellen takes pleasure in this particular task. "She changes the message weekly," explains Derrick Norris, senior pastor at Mililani Baptist, "because we've got a lot going on here!"
A short twenty minutes by car from Pearl Harbor, Mililani Baptist Church is tucked away in a residential neighborhood and is the largest Southern Baptist church on the island. "It is abundantly clear that our Stewart sign helps us do the things we were put here to do. Christians as well as non-Christians, we reach all who drive by," touts this very upbeat servant of the Lord.
Perhaps unique is the intentional use of the sign in tandem with the church's website. "Our communication stream with the people on the island is never-ending. What is mentioned on the sign gets a follow-through on the website and vise-versa. It beats me why other churches have yet to partner together these two wonderful tools. It's quite effective. These days people want to know what the church can do for them. The sign fills that role."
Mililani Baptist offers the community thirty different discipleship training classes as well as various coping programs. The church operates a pre-school for seventy-five children. And (if that's not enough), the church holds hand bell services on special occasions. All of this information gets promoted on the sign. Ellen and the pastor meet weekly to plan out the sign's messages. Pastor Derrick is eager to point out that messages often get changed on-the-fly. "Take our Christmas Cantata, for example. It's a three-day event, so we'll update motorists throughout the celebration just to keep the info fresh. People do notice and do tell us how much they love the oneness with the church as they motor by."
A Louisiana boy at heart, Pastor Derrick Norris began working for the Lord in Cadiz, Kentucky at Liberty Point Baptist Church. "The church didn't have a sign when I got to Cadiz," he recalls. "However, soon thereafter I was able to get a sign project going. We went with Stewart Signs although no one at the church had had any experience with the company. It was just another purchase as far as we were concerned."
"Then, as the sign discussions with Stewart Signs proceeded, I became immensely impressed with how they took the effort not only to build a sign to our specifications but to 'marry' it to our property. That church sits on a bypass and traffic zooms past at 55 miles per hour. After the installation, the sign's messages began speaking to people. We'd get new members monthly. Stewart Signs made me look good. I mean, real good!"
Fast forward a few years. The 50th state was where the Lord next needed Pastor Derrick. "Upon my initial visit to the island I drove right by the church grounds of Mililani Baptist. Even at 30 miles per hour I did not see a thing. I thought: where is this church?"
In retrospect he can chuckle about that first day. "Item number one at meeting number one was the procurement of a church sign. And I didn't shop around. I stuck with what works. I bought another Stewart sign."
On delivery day in Mililani the congregation collectively stood back to admire their newly-installed sign. For that first moment all that was audible was the island breeze whispering through palm tree leaves. A church deacon paused and softly turned to Pastor Derrick and said, "You know, pastor? We've just taken a step up, haven't we?"
"Indeed we have," Derrick nodded. "Indeed we have."
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It is abundantly clear that our Stewart sign helps us do the things we were put here to do. Christians as well as non-Christians, we reach all who drive by.
- Derrick Norris, Senior Pastor
- Mililani Baptist Church
- Mililani, HI
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