PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. – If you’ve been in Kansas City for any length of time, you’ve seen the sign: the sign at Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, to be exact. It’s known for its humorous take on Kansas City sports.
But for the first time ever, the one up this week hasn’t had a purely positive reaction.
Thousands of people see Asbury United Methodist Church‘s sign off 75th Street every day.
“That sign has been wonderful,” as the church’s senior pastor Rev. Gayla Rapp said in her sermon Sunday.
And this Prairie Village church has put up some great ones over the years. While coming up with the sign ideas is a group effort, Dave Burton has the honor of putting up the letters in the sign.
Burton grinned when about the sign. “I think the favorite that I have is when I said ‘GOD HAS NO FAVORITES, BUT THE SIGN GUY DOES. GO CHIEFS!'”
Other popular ones include “THANKS TO THE WIZARD OF HOS, YES WE CAIN” and “THE NEW WISE MEN – PEREZ, VENTURA, AND ZOBRIST.”
The one that really put the church on the map, Rev. Rapp explained, “‘THOU SHALT NOT STEAL UNLESS YOU ARE BILLY BUTLER.’ And people started calling and writing and saying ‘I just love driving by your sign, it makes me smile.’ And we just continued that, and put up fun signs!”
But the most recent one – MAHOMES’ KNEE HEALING SERVICES AT 9 &11′ (it was an ankle healing service before Thursday night) gave the church its first ever negative comments.
As Rev. Rapp told her congregation, “Imagine our surprise this past week when people started calling and emailing the church to tell us how upset they were about our sign.”
She continued, “Somebody said we should be praying for World Hunger, not for sports.”
Ironically, it already had an event set up. On Sunday, October 27, Asbury UMC Church members will assemble 10,000 food packets that will go to feed people across the globe. And all are welcome to come and help.
It made her realize not everyone can take a joke.
“Other people said the church should be serious, and that sign isn’t serious,” she said.
But that’s what she says sets her church apart.
“We do believe that our faith is about being serious. Our faith is also about joy. Our faith is about serving people in need. Our faith is about having fun in a community.”
On Sunday, Rapp did not lead a healing service for Patrick Mahomes’ knee.
“There was not,” she stated. “But we hope during their silent prayer, people might have prayed for his knee and prayed for all people in the world who need healing.”
But Asbury’s congregation did pray. Rapp stood up in front of the church and listed off some.
“One of our children in church who asked me to pray for her pet fish who died,” she said. “I’ll be praying for that. I’ll be praying for our college students, many of whom are trying to figure out where they will go in life. I’ll be praying for some of our elderly folks, some of whom are trying to decide if they move out of their homes.”
“I’ll be praying for all those things, and more,” she continued. “Because, folks, that’s what we do when we pray. We pray for all of life, because all of our life is a gift from God. Those things that bring joy and laughter, those things that bring heartache and pain. We pray for all of those things.”
Perhaps those prayers will help someone, even if it’s not an NFL Quarterback.