In the northeastern corner of Maryland there is a church with a certain councilmember who is fond of telling jokes.
"There's an unfortunate fellow, stranded alone on a tiny deserted island for a very long time," chuckles Vance Jones, a councilmember at Elkton Church of God. "So after forty long years a cruise ship finally passes close enough for the helpless man to send out a distress signal. The ship sees the man and dispatches a rescue team in a lifeboat without haste."
"Approaching the island," continues Vance, "The rescuers notice not one but three well-constructed huts on the beach.
Rescue team: Why three huts?
Survivor: Well, that one there is my house... and that other one over there is my church.
Rescue team: And that last hut over there?
Survivor: Oh, that one? That's the church I used to go to."
Vance has a million of them. "The Lord blessed me with a sense of humor and it has served me well for seventy-two years," he humbly admits. "I am a contented man."
The Elkton Church of God has been Vance and Della Jones' family for years. The year 2005 saw a beautiful new house of worship rise to welcome in believers. Vance and Della helped oversee the construction that glorious year. "To witness the brick-by-brick, almost nail-by-nail birth of your own church is quite humbling to say the least," exudes Vance. "For generations people will come to know the Lord inside walls we actually witnessed going up!"
A precious structure deserved a special church sign, he felt. "Stewart Signs is the official sign manufacturer of the headquarters of The Church of God," Vance points out. "Trust is everything."
Indeed, Stewart Church Signs is the endorsed church sign company of many denominations nationwide.
Vance and Della were asked by Pastor Woodring to take charge of the sign fundraising effort which took off with vigor, thanks to a rather impassioned devotional given by fellow councilmember Bill Whited. As Vance relates the moment, "Bill said simply: 'If we are serious about spreading the word, the first place to start is out by the road. We may never know who we touch; in fact, they may not necessarily come to this church. But the point is God wants to get the message out there on Route 213!'"
Donations came in so swiftly that the fundraiser ended two months ahead of schedule.
"Once again we were blessed," explains Vance. "One cannot impede the message of Christ."
Vance, always looking for the lighter side of things, contemplates that poor fellow on the deserted island with the two church huts. "Two churches and not a single church sign? I'd call that really bad fundraising if you ask me!"