CRESTVIEW — First Independent Baptist Church's latest sign has caught numerous North Okaloosa residents' attention. It says, “Staying in bed screaming ‘Oh God’ does not constitute going to church.”
“Oh, Crestview, I just can’t with you today,” Ryan Mabry wrote next to a picture of the sign in a public message thread on the Crestview News Bulletin's Facebook page.
“Can’t believe a church would put this on a sign,” Gloria Holloway Fortner stated in the same CNB message thread.
Some residents have questioned whether the sign's language has sexual overtones. Chuck Griffin, the Aplin Road church’s pastor, says the sign is simply designed to get people out of bed and into church on Sunday.
“We just wanted people to come to church, that’s what it means,” Griffin said.
“I have suggestions from people from the church and from people [who] drive by and say, ‘We like your sign, can you put something up,’” he said when asked who came up with the sign's statement.
“Somebody called some months back and said ‘I have a couple things I’d like to see if you could put it on your sign,' so we prayed about it,” Griffin said while standing outside the church. “It basically just means that for those people who think they can stay home, they are fine. We just want people to come to church.”
He added, “We go to church to worship our Lord, but there are people who say ‘well, I can stay home and worship God, too, at home.'
"We just tell them what the Bible tells us, to come to church. That’s what it means.”