You may have already seen this over at Steve Kryger’s blog, but I’m going in a slightly different direction with it, so bear with me here.
Popular (Sydney) marketing blog mUmBRELLA yesterday featured a post on the upcoming Jesus all About life campaign. This is an ad campaign where a variety of Sydney churches have contributed some money so that some TV commercials and other forms of advertising can be broadcast over a six week period. The goal of the campaign is to show that Jesus is relevant to modern life, and churches are hoping to benefit from the campaign by seeing more opportunities to talk to people outside their normal attendees about spiritual things.
The comments on the post were variously upset at the idea and actively mocking it (or the church), with a few Christians and Christian-sympathisers wondering what the fuss was about. Here are a couple of example quotes.
if paid for by ‘the Church’ it will also be funded by the ATO, since these bludgers are scabbing on the backs of Rudd’s ‘working families’ and pay no tax
What a waste of money. All this coin promoting a make believe friend for grown ups.
All of this has reminded me that for some who are seeing an ad campaign like Jesus all about life, it will be the first thing that they’ve heard about Jesus, or Christianity.
For others, though, there are negative impressions (or worse, negative experiences) they’ve had with people who identify themselves as Christians. Hearing about Jesus – rather than being a welcome message – will be like fingernails down a blackboard, and reminders of past hurt.
Perhaps you’re wondering what I’m doing about this. I try to have gentle, respectful conversations with people, where I listen to what they have to say about there understanding of Christianity. Though I’m not shy about talking about my Christian faith, it’s not something that I try and shoehorn into every conversation.
If the ad campaign helps start conversations, that’s great: I welcome the opportunity to talk. If not, I’m hoping to be ready to explain how what I believe fits in with their experiences.
What do you think about all of this?