I have a love/hate relationship with marketing. I love the concept because marketing is usually a primary force in the process of getting a message, product or idea out to large quantities of people. I hate the concept because when successful, it has a strange way of shortening the shelf life of things because the large quantities of people it helped a message, product or idea get to often get tired of said message, product or idea due to the market being over-saturated.
Note: I have ZERO business or marketing training and don’t even know if what I just wrote is anywhere near accurate…but it makes sense to me!
The ultimate youth ministry example of marketing gone good and bad at the same time? The WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) movement of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Think about it: So many teenagers were actually (maybe) asking themselves what Jesus might do in a given life situation that they were proudly wearing t-shirts, rubber wrist thingies, baseball caps and other paraphernalia to remind them of the noble question.
The marketing worked. It worked well! It worked so well, that a few years later the mere mention of “WWJD” would get teenagers, and us adults who minister to them, worked up into a sarcastic meets angry meets foaming at the mouth frenzy.
But the question, what would Jesus do, is a GREAT question! In that one simple question we are asking what would Jesus do, what would he say, how would he respond in this situation?
I’m not proposing we try to revive some sort of retro “WWJD” movement (my hunch is we would sooner embrace the return of Chubby Bunny or Carmen videos), but I am proposing we embrace (maybe re-embrace, for some) helping students learn about this incredible man named Jesus and what he did, what he said and how he responded in situations.
That’s a message we should never tire of.