Columbus church sign goes viral, Howbow dah?


The sign at Britt David Baptist Church in Columbus went viral on social media. But, it also proved an example of creative ways to share the Gospel. ALEX JONES/Special

COLUMBUS — Until recently the church sign outside Britt David Baptist Church matched its counterparts in anonymity. For the most part, it served as a way to provide drivers at the intersection of Carlton Avenue and West Britt David Road a dose of Scripture or announcement about the upcoming Sunday service.

Then, Alex Jones piggybacked on the words of a discipline-deficient teen on the Dr. Phil Show. The result caught traction among Millennials and shared on numerous websites like Buzzfeed.

"Cash God Inside, Howbow Dah?" mirrors the challenge of the 13-year-old Dr. Phil guest –"Cash Me Outside, Howbow Dah?" – to the studio audience laughing awkwardly at her belligerent attitude and street slang toward the show's host as well as her mother sharing the stage.

It's unclear as to whether the audience actually understood the teen, as her mother became an interpreter in clearing up the meaning: "Catch me outside. How about that?"

"Church signs are a dime a dozen until they become one in a million," Jones wrote in an email to The Index. "The sign has garnered both local attention – from television news to the newspaper to passersby stopping to take selfies with the sign – and national attention."

More than just a sign

Jones, 20, attends nearby Columbus State University and looks to the church sign as a unique way to communicate.

“Sometimes people don’t pay attention to them, thinking they don’t pertain to them. I was trying to generate a sign that would capture the attention of millennials,” he explained.

Members of older generations required an interpreter. However, those Jones' age understood immediately.

“Since was gaining national attention, I decided to 'cash' in on it,” stated Jones.

We see what you did there, Alex.

Tim Jones explained the three primary functions of Britt David's sign as providing information, inspiration, and entertainment. 

“Informational signs generally announce an upcoming event providing details such as dates and times, but reach a limited audience, primarily church members and interested neighbors,” he said. Inspirational ones, he added, give a little boost to fellow believers driving by.

“Entertaining signs, however, reach the widest audience simply by making people laugh,” he said. “Entertaining signs create an unconventional platform for the Gospel. Then, what you do with that opportunity can make an eternal difference to someone.”

As evidence of that, Britt David capitalized on the sign's success by altering the following Sunday's worship service to communicate better with younger generations. At the end of the service two teenagers living in the neighborhood prayed to receive Christ.

The younger Jones changes the sign on Tuesdays, so right now passers-by are seeing an announcement that Gary Bates with Answers in Genesis will be speaking at this Sunday's service. Jones will dip into his creativity pool soon enough, though. The most noteworthy result of his last time – the teens praying for salvation – has him excited to do so.

"Now we’ll 'cash' them in Heaven," he said. "Howbow dah?"

An earlier version of this story misspelled "Howbow" as "Howbah."

church signs, Columbus, communications, culture, Millennials