5 April 2018

The “Jesus is _____.” campaign reminds me of the annual Movember campaign.

Now in its 16th year, Movember encourages men to grow a mo (moustache) during the month of November. The idea is to register with some mates, start the month clean-shaven, and then go through the varied stages of beauty involved in growing a dirty mo. I first participated in the mid-2000s.

But Movember really struck a chord with men. Its purpose is to raise awareness and funds for men’s health: prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. To get men talking about these big topics (something we don’t do), using the humour of a mo, must make it one of the best campaigns in terms of hitting its target.

Over the years they improved their marketing. The website became slick. Merchandise became fashionable. But the ultimate measure remained awareness and fundraising for men’s health.

To that end, Movember made another masterstroke. Rather than shave the mo at the end of the month, participants could ask for increased sponsorship in order to keep the mo. The mo stays, awareness remains and more money comes in. Brilliant!

“Jesus is _____.” reminds me of Movember in a few ways. The website is good. Merchandise looked great. But the measure remained awareness. The ultimate measure of “Jesus is _____.” was that Christians feel more confident speaking personally about Jesus.

Did we hit the target? It depends who you are.

Anglican churches in the Southern Highlands counted thousands of personal conversations about Jesus by members. A primary school boy in Wollongong was laughed at by an older boy for wearing his “Jesus is _____.” badge and wristband on Harmony Day but didn’t remove them (to the praise of his mother at end of the day).

A uni student was asked about his shirt by another student, which led to the latter coming to Bible talk meetings since.  There are thousands more stories to encourage each other.

Maybe you missed “Jesus is _____.” completely. Don’t be ashamed of that. But don’t be ashamed of Jesus either. Speak to a Christian friend about how you can get involved now.

For like Movember spills into the month of December when moustaches are sponsored to stay, speaking of Jesus will continue into our Term 2 ‘E is for Evangelise’. Invite a friend to join you at one of the ‘Towards Belief’ sessions. Offer to have a meal or coffee with a friend before or after checking out church together.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Movember is fantastic. But the hope of beating cancer by cure is for this age only. But God in his mercy, has caused believers to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable in heaven (1 Peter 1:3).

Jesus is … better than Movember.

Jon Baird,
11am Easy English Congregation