The power of a simple chalkboard message

This one reads: “God is not at the end of his resources when we are at the end of ours” – Rowan Williams

Inspired by the Rev’d Jo Cox-Darling who wrote a fascinating chapter in the Grove Booklet Hybrid Church (to which I also contributed) about her ministry in the first lockdown, I decided to buy a simple chalkboard to put outside my church.

I’m fortunate in that I live over the road from one of our churches. Many people walk past the beautiful medieval building as they take their children to school or walk their dogs. More out of boredom than anything else I bought a cheap A frame chalkboard from Amazon along with some special chalk marker pens. On one side of the board I have put general information about worshipping with us during lockdown. On the other side I put a ‘thought for the week’. I generally leave a message up for a couple of weeks before changing it. It is mostly waterproof (sometimes the writing runs a bit but it remains legible, even after a lot of rain). To rub out the previous message I use multi-surface cleaner and a cloth. I have also, for security, attached the board to the railings using a combination bike lock – this also stops the board blowing away in the wind.

When I’ve created a new message I share a picture of the board on social media, but its physical presence in the community is more important than what is shared online (although sometimes online the quotations I share spark some interesting discussions).

I met someone in the village today who said how much they like the board and that they read it and that it was nice to see something positive to think about. I’ve heard others anecdotally share how much they like it – and none of these are people who regularly attend services.

It is such a simple thing and yet seems to have struck a chord with people and given people something to chat about on their daily walk.

Sometimes mission and evangelism need not be onerous, and for a slightly arty person like me, it’s actually fun!

Here are some of the designs I’ve used so far:

This side stays the same and has information on how to worship with us
This one says ‘How cool is it that the same God, Who created mountains and oceans and galaxies, looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too?’
This one was designed as Lent began and says This Lent try to: Fast from meanness and be kind, Fast from envy and be grateful, fast from worries and trust in God, fast from words and be silent and listen
This one was for the National Day of Reflection and encourages people to Reflect, Connect and Support one another.

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