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Oftentimes there is a defining moment when a church becomes keenly aware they need an outdoor sign. For the followers at Cedar Bluff First Baptist Church that moment came in late 2004. "A visiting pastor from Decatur drove right by our church without seeing it," tells John Hooker, a deacon at this rural Alabama church. "You would think a pastor could find a church. Our building is rather distinctive: It's over one hundred years old. Still, he zoomed right by as if we weren't even there!"
The very next day found the church's long-range planning committee voting unanimously to kick-start a "sign exploratory project." The seed was sown.
"What we thought would be a difficult undertaking turned out to be surprisingly pleasant," John remembers. "Stewart Signs' knowledgeable sign consultant walked us through the design and project execution stages so that we didn't have to go it alone."
"Also, we were impressed that Stewart Church Signs is the only endorsed sign company of the Southern Baptist Convention," John affirms.
Soon a striking church sign sprouted up on Old Highway 9 in front of Cedar Bluff First Baptist. Functional in its splendor, the new sign quickly became 'must see' motoring for miles around. "Folks tell me they look forward to rounding the bend to see what we've got up on the sign," John brags. "Our sign has truly blossomed into a tool we can use to connect with the community. New people are moving into the area. We're seeing a lot of new faces on Sunday morning."
Pastor Robert Smith likes the way messages can be programmed to 'self expire', thereby avoiding stale text which can occur with traditional changeable-letter signs.
Indeed, everyone at the church appreciates the user-friendly LED messaging software. "The mouse does all the work," is how John explains their collective experience with messaging. Melanie and Michelle volunteer as message programmers, "because, they think it's a hoot," chuckles Deacon John. "Sure, they've got service times, inspirational messages, and vacation bible school news up on the sign. But I'll drive down the highway one morning and see sports scores from Cedar Bluff High School up there as well. It's wonderful... especially when they win."
One might wonder why such a small church with a congregation of but 150 in a community of 1,400 people would purchase a rather large electronic sign. To that Deacon John quips, "We are forward-thinking folks. We chose the sign based on what we know we will need down the road."
He adds, "We try to do what the Lord wants us to do for our community."