Visitors and locals in Hervey Bay in southern Queensland are being greeted by a gospel message of reassurance written large on the side of the road into town.
Members of St James Lutheran Church have posted the sign which declares: ‘Stay calm. I will get you through this, love God’ on a 6 metre x 3 metre billboard on church land. The congregation has been leasing out billboard space for advertising for years but now has turned one sitting empty into a giant opportunity for witness.
The image has been converted from a Lutheran Tract Mission (LTM) bookmark into what St James member Christian Stern describes as ‘the world’s largest tract’.
‘It’s not just during these COVID times; a lot of people are under stress and need a reminder that there is something bigger than them’, says Christian, who instigated the billboard’s message and himself has taken strength from its words in his battle with cancer. ‘I thought we could be using the billboard to share God’s good news with people who might not otherwise hear about it.’
The congregation’s council backed the plan, while LTM was happy to grant permission to use their tract, so the congregation raised $1200 to pay for the banner and its installation.
Christian, who is a Community Action Officer for ALWS, says the congregation will continue using at least one of its four billboards for mission and outreach. ‘If it brings someone back to thinking about God, then it’s done its job’, Christians says. ‘God’s the one who works, but if it softens someone’s heart, that’s great.’
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