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BEYOND RELEVANCE MUSINGS ON CHURCH, STRATEGY, AND CULTURE

BY RICHARD REISING

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Nov 17

The Video: Real Men Love Java

Nov 17
Nov 17

You’ll notice that there are some great bumper stickers in our video, What If Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?. “Real Men Love Java,” “Think this coffee’s hot??” and of course the Starbucks logo eating the Juan Valdez logo. Now, this was not meant to be a cheap shot at all Christian bumper stickers, as bumper stickers are not the issue when it comes down to it. We specifically chose bumper stickers that had a combative undertone. Of all of the props we used, we admit this is the one that any given church has the least control over (except in our video, where they were sold inside on the bookshelf). It can, however, reflect your church's culture or tone towards people who do not think the way you do.

Most of these bumper stickers started out as great inside jokes between Christians. We laughed about them and made them into bumper stickers but maybe never really tried them out through one-on-one situations in personal evangelism. I mean, can you imagine? Someone at the gas station goes up to the person at the next pump and says, "Real men love Jesus. Are you a real man?" It might work, but I doubt it’s the most strategic and effective opening line.

While I fully believe that Christ portrayed the ultimate man, I’m wondering how many non-believers on the highway today fell to their knees seeking manhood after reading "Real Men Love Jesus" on the car in front of them. Jesus is awesome. He doesn’t need us telling non-believers they aren’t "real men." Knowing scripturally that only God knows our heart and that "man looks on the outside" (1 Sam 16:7), I just wonder what we are showing unspiritual people about what God is like. The chances are, my only reaction as a non-believer would be to close myself off even further. You might as well drive by and yell to someone at a stoplight, "You're not a real man!" and then drive off. If you have 10 seconds to say something to someone with your car, is that what you want to tell them?

"Think this Texas heat is hot? Wait till you get to hell." This is along the lines of "Get saved or get microwaved." It might sound cute when we say it among believers, but would you ever kick off an evangelistic effort with this door-to-door opening line? Oh yes, and we are not the biggest Darwin fans, but does our fish have to eat his fish?  I'm not saying it doesn’t work—just that combative evangelism is not necessarily the best way to open hearts. I assume most of the church world gets this, but let’s be aware of our need to develop a culture that loves people into the knowledge of God. Remember, it is "His goodness (kindness and patience) that leads us to repentance" (Romans 2:4).

© Richard L. Reising

4 comments

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Heidi Rafferty

Richard, I heard about your video via our assistant pastor, and it totally ROCKS. I love it so much that I also posted it on my blog. I hope that's okay. I also circulate my blog on www.alphainventions.com, and the video is getting international play as we speak -- I've seen people call it up all over the U.S. and in other countries on my statcounter and keep hitting on the video, just in the past 30 minutes alone. It is fantastic. If you have any problems with me posting your video (which I found on You Tube), please email me. I don't want to do anything that would be upsetting, but I was just so thrilled to see it and wanted to share it with my readers. God bless you.
Heidi Rafferty, Harrodsburg, Kentucky (member of Quest Community Church in Lexington, Kentucky)

Posted on Mon, Nov 17, 2008 @ 1:58 PM CST

Mike Peatman

Loved the video. Even in a UK context where some of the references don't quite connect, it still has a lot to say. Thanks for putting it together.

Posted on Tue, Nov 18, 2008 @ 4:43 AM CST

Mike Peatman

Loved the spoof bumper stickers btw

Posted on Tue, Nov 18, 2008 @ 4:44 AM CST

Tim

My FAVORITE part of the video (after the bumper stickers of course) was "Coffee's good, all the time..."

That hit home soooooo well in how we come across when we so repetitively say things that, while true, can make those around feel an instant sense of "Wow... how did they ALL know to say that?"

Good work. - Tim

Posted on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 @ 9:31 AM CST

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