The t-shirt, an American icon. First adopted by the U.S. Navy as early as 1913, it had become a staple of farmers and factory workers by 1944. In the 1950’s the t-shirt went Hollywood, and Disney found a way to put Mickey Mouse on t-shirts across America. Thus the advertising t-shirt was born.
In 1977 an advertising agency was hired to develop a marketing campaign for New York state. Graphic designer Milton Glaser came up with the logo including the letter “I” followed by a heart symbol and the state abbreviation. It didn’t take long for “I heart _______” t-shirts to pop up in every souvenir shop across the globe.
And then in the 2000s, the church jumped on the “I heart” bandwagon with their own variation of “I heart my church” t-shirts. Now, everyone can proudly wear their shirt to display their love for their church.
But what happens if the shirt gets dirty or if your shirt doesn’t fit anymore? How will anyone ever know you love your church if you can’t proudly display it?
I’ve come up with a few ideas.
- Show Up – to church, more than twice a month. While “I heart my church” t-shirt sales have been on the rise, church attendance has been on the decline with many Christians. If you really love your church, you won’t want to miss what’s going on each Sunday, and you’ll make it a priority to be there every week you can.
- Serve – in the church, at least once a month. That’s twelve times a year. Surely that’s not too much for someone who loves the church. I would argue someone who loves the church should actually want to serve more, not less, since we are called to be servants.
- Give – to the church, on a regular basis. The church’s main purpose is to go and make followers of Jesus. Your generosity helps to accomplish this purpose. If you love your church, you should have no problem giving to it. If you can’t afford to give, you can’t afford to buy the t-shirt.
- Pray – for your church and your pastor, every week. Your pastor carries an incredible burden for those inside and outside of the church. You can help them by lifting them up in prayer. The people inside your church have needs as well, even if we don’t always see them. Lifting them up in prayer can be one of the most important things you do each week.
I’d argue if you have a hard time doing any of the above, you might not truly heart your church. Or, it may be that you just heart something else more.
I believe a more accurate t-shirt for some of us would say, “I love my church” on the front, and on the back “But I love myself more.”
If that comes off as harsh, take comfort in knowing that it’s a t-shirt I wear from time to time as well. I just don’t want to get comfortable wearing it, and I don’t want you to get comfortable wearing it either.
What are some other ways we can love our church? I’d love to hear your ideas. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the blog to get ideas on church growth, strategy, leadership, and more direct to your inbox each week.