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"Our message gets out", affirms Pastor David Sexton. "And it's not because of the flashiness of the sign. It's because of the information we present on the sign". Denver Baptist Church's DayStar electronic message center is a beacon along 35 mile-per-hour Highway 16 in semi-rural Denver, North Carolina. Typically, the church runs the same messages in three-second intervals on both sides of the LED sign. Motorists are treated to service times, Sunday School hours, and the church's website address.
Pastor Sexton is more than eager to tout the sign's usefulness for reaching particular segments of the community. "Our pre-school is full only because we put it up on the sign. When our associate pastor stages the special Easter production and Christmas dinner theater, we announce it on the sign and fill every last seat".
"Sure, the average motorist won't see all of our messages, but that's not what we're going for", emphasizes Pastor Sexton. "They drive to and from work each day throughout the week. By the weekend, they are up-to-speed on what we're all about. And they come in, believe me."
Though not asked to do so, newcomers to Denver Baptist can fill out a 'welcome card'. On a recent Sunday seven families took the time to turn in completed cards. Of those seven, four families wrote that they attended the service because of the sign. This revelation becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that 'sign' isn't even one of the choices given on the card.
"Our LED sign is the presence on our heavily-traveled road", stresses Pastor Sexton.
Right at the onset of their sign-shopping days, the building's architect indeed had a sign on the drawing board for them. Though functionally elaborate, the plans for this envisioned sign later proved to be problematic when it came to acquiring the various individual components. Not only were there concerns over the individual parts truly becoming whole, cost issues began to threaten the project. Looking back upon that time, Pastor Sexton laments, "I was afraid the total price tag would top 70K dollars. I told my congregation, "this is crazy and we don't need to do it this way!"
Then, through LifeWay, Pastor Sexton was put in contact with Stewart Church Signs. "Visiting Stewart's website I downloaded the specs I needed. I also learned from the site that Stewart Signs has many installations on military bases. As a former Army Corps of Engineers guy, I appreciated the fact that Stewart had a business relationship with Uncle Sam. My sign consultant was extremely knowledgeable and the Stewart Signs art department stayed in close touch with me from A to Z".
Back on Highway 16, Denver Baptist's sign is today building the Kingdom of God, one car at a time. Pastor Sexton senses a new pride around the church. The older members in particular have been particularly impressed with the quality of the new sign. These elders recall a time when they use to hang banners out by the road. "It looked like the circus was coming to town. You cannot make that look good", recounts Pastor Sexton. "It is a ministry here; we have to be excellent in all that we do".