Kate Turner, Pastor: Well, one of the things that I really enjoyed about this whole experience is working with Stewart Signs. They were amazing for us. They were extremely responsive and the entire experience was a positive one with them. Well Harleton United Methodist church is a very small country church. It's historic, been around for over a hundred years, but it's in a rural community. We have no newspaper, no radio, no television, so no way to really get the word out about what our church is doing and how we're making an impact in the community. So we knew that a sign was going to be our best opportunity to reach out to the community and let them know.
Now, a couple of the key factors that we used when we were researching for our sign is number one, we knew that we wanted a sign large enough, a display large enough that we could get our message across. Secondly, it was important to us to have full color. One color is a good sign, but full color is what we were really looking for. Now, one of the things anyone who's going to be purchasing a sign like this has to think about is educating the group of people that are going to be making the decision. It's very important that they understand, A- what your goal is, B- why it's an investment for your church, and C- that they really are going to be a part of it. If you don't have their buy in, they're going to have a problem getting the sign.
You know, one thing you'll encounter is there will be a large amount of the people that you deal with who are very focused on the cost of the sign. What you need to do is help to educate them about the impact of the sign and how it's an investment in your church's future. That takes a long process and you have to do it sometimes in small groups, but enthusiasm and being positive about it is one of the most important elements.
You know, the experience that we've had with our sign, absolutely from the very beginning the ease of ordering, the on time delivery, the excellent ability to install it with just members of our church. All those things have been a really good experience for us. The impact has been wonderful. Our congregation loves it. The people in the community are commenting about it. We've had more success in our school drive than we've ever had before. As a matter of fact, we have enough to supply our elementary school, our middle school, and our high school with all of the supplies that they needed for school startup. That's a huge impact in your community and I have to say it was due to that sign.
One of the things that I think is important to identify early on in the process is to find members of your congregation who are willing to help with updating the sign on a regular basis. One thing you don't want is a sign that always says the same thing because it becomes invisible to people. And also as a pastor, I don't want to constantly be the one that has to be doing all of the work. One of the things that surprised us the most is folks in our congregation that we thought might not be supportive of the sign turned out to be the biggest supporters. They have a great deal of pride. And what they say to others is, "well, yes, you know, we're from the Harleton Church. We're the ones with that beautiful sign." And members of the community have commented as well.
In our little town, there's another church that has an LED sign, and two of our schools have them. Both of them are one color, and both of them have smaller displays. So it's kind of a running joke in the community. We've got the big one now.