Practical Uses of Signs in Evangelism

When you think of Christians sharing the gospel in public, you may think of the street preacher on the corner, or the young man handing out tracts at the farmer’s market, or even a gospel booth at a festival. You may even think about the guy in a crowd holding a picket sign, or the infamous “church” group that has signs saying, “God hates fags”. Signs can be done poorly and turn people away. When done right, they can be a great benefit for the evangelist seeking to spread the good news of the gospel. Even those who are new or apprehensive about sharing the gospel, can hold up a sign and support the team.


Signs can have some of the same benefits as tracts, speaking the gospel when we don’t have the opportunity to speak directly to an individual. They can be seen from far off, even if in a short passing. They can pique the curiosity of those who pass by, drawing them in with a question or statement to start a deeper discussion. They can be used by young and old, male and female, experienced and the uninitiated to help spread the Gospel. Signs can help direct the conversation you have with visitors. They can use questions or trivia to build curiosity with those who pass by or to draw a crowd. When holding or standing near a sign, always smile and greet those passing by. Your countenance should match the message you are giving.


When we understand the purpose of signs, it can help us use them more effectively. In a very practical sense, signs are used to tell people who we are, what we are about, and why they should talk with us. While we want people to know why we are here, it is more important for us to point them to Christ and what He has done.

Putting your name, church, or ministry on the sign can be useful to help avoid confusion about who we are. People can be reluctant to talk to us, assuming you are Mormons or Jehovah’s Witness. While we don’t want to hide who we are or our purpose, we don’t want that to distract from the Gospel. Make sure the message focuses more on Christ than your church or organization.

The question or statement on your sign will help direct your audience to your purpose and focus on a topic as a path to sharing the gospel. At our Iowa State Fair gospel booth, we focused on creation evangelism as described by Answers in Genesis. Initially, we had a question on the front of our table, asking “Evolution: Fact or Myth?” as a way to direct our conversation with those walking by or visiting the booth.


The design of signs for your situation can be complex. There are a few basic principles to consider when making or selecting your sign and message. Focus first on the message! Then focus on the design and appeal. Signs must be attractive and interesting, just as a tract should be (see post on tracts). We are fishing for men. If you are not skilled at graphic design, it may be helpful to hire someone to design your sign to get the desired message across clearly and draw attention appropriately. If you can’t afford that, just try to make it as simple and attractive as you can. Make sure the words are clear, easy to read, and the overall sense of the sign is not too complex.

Audience and your Environment

Beyond some basic design guidelines, signs are diverse and difficult to nail down to a set of simple rules. To help you in this, I will use several examples below to discuss ways to effectively use signs. Your environment may dictate some aspects of your signs as well. Are you setting this up indoors or outdoors, does it need to be durable and weather the elements? What type of lighting will there be? Day or night? If the lighting is poor, consider additional lighting. If used at night, consider reflective lettering or glow-in-the-dark paint. Will the sign be used once or many times or situations? Using heavier more durable materials from poster board, card-board, plastic, wood, cloth, canvas, or others should match your need and budget.

This shows a great example of a simple design, with a simple message directly from scripture. Placement of the clearly visible near the speaker when people are listening.

Possible improvement: The lighting could be improved, but this can be difficult at night. This may also just be the over-exposure from the camera. The message is longer, the text may be a little small. You could highlight certain words or phrases with size or color. It could be raised a little for visual flow between the speaker to the sign.

This photo is from a town square with an open area to and a natural backdrop. The sign is from Living Waters, their signs can be downloaded online for printing. Using the stand puts the sign close to eye-level making a more natural pair between sign and speaker.

Possible improvement: The text is a little small, but the title is big enough to be seen by those walking by. This builds their curiosity.

The background image and the sign on front of the table are part of our gospel outreach at the Iowa State Fair. The images are professionally designed and appealing. The message is simple, and lets people know what we are about. The question on front of the table draws people in and the cross lets them know where we are coming from. Those who have an opinion or struggle with that question often stop by for conversation. A few words are bolded to focus their attention on the core issue.

Possible improvement: The third graphic doesn’t fit as well with the newer images, but can be improved in later years.

This is another wall sign at the Iowa State Fair gospel booth, with a very simple image and message. It is also large enough to be seen from far off and draws their head up for a full view. This sign fits well with the ark model. If you have physical displays or materials you are giving away use the signage together to work toward one goal.

This tract table has a simple question on the front to engage visitors. It helps focus conversation around creation evangelism. The colors give good contrast and are easy to read.

Possible improvement: It could be a more visually appealing, but it does the job.

These signs are simple, with the words large enough to read. They also use probing questions that challenge the reader and build curiosity.

Possible improvement: This isn’t shown in the real situation, placement and lighting should be considered.

I love these for the open-air situation. The messages are shorter than most and point to the gospel. They are professionally printed and eye-catching. One of them has a very practical offer to draw people in, a free bible or prayer for your individual need.

Possible improvement: The speaker is behind one sign, but the other is off to the side, drawing attention away from him. The speaker could stand between them or just use one sign at a time.

You may want to consider using a QR code, to get them the gospel message and your purpose digitally.

This sign is professionally well done, it is appealing and simple, consistent with the message. But, I don’t recommend this short message. The gospel is offensive, but our presentation of it or our demeanor should not add to the offense.

Possible improvement: There is truth in this message for some, but an accusation has been made without personal knowledge. This is true for the unbeliever, but not for the one in Christ. It is too broad of a brush for a public sign. How would I improve it? The message could be simply added to, “Without Christ, you are going to hell” or by asking the question, “Where will you go? Heaven or Hell?” We shouldn’t shy away from hard truths, but if all the fish see is a hook, they won’t bite!

These are great because they use scripture directly, and concise, and appealing. They grab your attention and focus you on an aspect of the gospel message. If you quote scripture, even in part, it is good to show the reference, even if in small letters, to draw people to open their bibles.

They can be printed on a rigid and weather resistant material giving durability and opportunity to use over and over.

Many use a cross like this one. The message is simple, clear, and asks a question to draw people in.  We are also reminded of Christ and his suffering for our sin with the symbol of the cross visible to everyone. No one wonders what you are about when you carry a cross, it is unique to Christianity.

This outdoor gospel booth has a large banner above and behind it. It can be easily seen from a distance and tells people what you are about.

Possible improvement: Raise the position of the sign a little to avoid being blocked by the workers. Some put signs or a message on the front of a table which can work well, but can’t be seen if there are large crowds blocking the message.



Your clothing or a T-shirt can be a sign as well. It is always present and can present a simple message. One challenge with clothing is that so many people wear messages on their shirts, many may look past them and miss the message. If the message is offensive, then people often don’t separate the message from the person wearing the message. These are simple cautions if this is your means of drawing people into a Christ-centered conversation.


There are many other forms of signs, big and small, rigid and flexible, there are flags, sidewalk chalk, stickers, decals, car-wraps, flyovers, billboards, etc.… Just remember to pick something that fits the situation and helps you in conveying the message of the gospel and being a fisher of men.


With signs, flags, banners, and other means of visibly displaying the gospel you may make your own. Check with your local print shop to see what they can do for you. You can find various places to purchase them from organization that support the gospel. Be sure they have a solid message and the above considerations.

You can download signs from Living Waters, others have recommended Watchman Gospel Signs as well. Do your research well before purchasing.

Author: Jon Neifert
Posted on May 30 2024