A company selling Wrigley's gum wanted music for a commercial in Russia. It went to an English company, and bought a catchy tune. The commercials aired in Moscow, until the Chinese embassy called to ask why the Chinese national anthem was used to sell gum. The company calls it a "misunderstanding."NPR's Morning Edition, January 16, 2007
When I heard this story, I laughed... then I started thinking. (Yes, thinking. I occasionally do that.) How often do we in the Christian church do exactly what Wrigley's did?
You can go two ways with this:
- Churches have a tendency to go buy the latest program/curriculum/40 Day experience/whatever, expecting since it worked for Churches X, Y, & Z that it will work for them.
- Churches have a tendency to be completely tone-deaf when it comes to reaching the community around them. We have lived so long in our "Christian bubble" that we don't realize what we sound like to people on the outside.
Either way, it's worth spending some time mulling this one over. First, the church applications:
- Is my church spending time, energy & cash looking for the "next big thing" that will make us grow & "be cool"... or are we asking God "what's next"?
- Is my church really listening to our friends in our community who don't go to church & trying to hear what they hear when they listen to Christians?
And then, the personal applications:
- Am I looking for "the next big thing" to fix my problems, my ills, my hurts? Do I want a "magic bullet" to make all my garbage go "poof"... or do I want Jesus? (These are NOT the same thing.)
- Am I really listening to the people around me who don't know Jesus... or am I simply reciting the lines I learned in Sunday School? Am I having real conversations about truth & grace & life... or am I simply trying to get them to sign on the dotted line?
Maybe I shouldn't listen to NPR so much - it makes me ask too many questions.
Another classic Grapevine article that was written back in early 2007... slightly edited for my readership.