|This ad says, "Do you think you are alone...think again."|
The above picture is an ad for Dume Condoms that came across my newsfeed on Facebook. The translation is in the caption at the bottom. This ad got me thinking...
A lot of branding and commercialism happens around Christmas time, this picture is just one
example that came across as a sponsored ad on Facebook. So what is our brand? What message is the church putting out at this time of year to the community? Is it loving? Is it well crafted? Is it relevant? A CONDOM COMPANY has used a very Christian idea, love others as much as you love yourself, and is now using it to promote condom sales…and consequently safe sex in an area where there is a prevalence of HIV/AIDS and where husbands cheat on their wives and then refuse to wear condoms.
Now I am not advocating that the church enter the commercialism race. We don’t have the money to compete and we honestly have better things to do, but I do wonder how well we are getting out that message. That is why #GivingTuesday makes me so happy. Not just because we received great support for our ministries, but because it helps get a message out (though again, it was started by a secular organization).
One of my favorite Christmas texts is John 1. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” If God’s glory is full of grace and truth we have to ask what we are doing to share this grace AND this truth. How are we getting this out there. Gamasara UMC just finished teaching on female circumcision, they did this the month leading up to female circumcision in Gamasara. Tarime UMC has a ministry with street children and leaders spend every Monday visiting the homes of families with children living on the streets trying to reconcile the families and children and put them back together. They also provide emotional support, prayer, and counseling for families already reconciled. Mwanza UMC is offering free tutoring for neighborhood children while they are off of school for the month of December.
These are ministries happening in our churches in Tanzania right now. We would love your support for these ministries to continue and grow, but even more so I want to ask…What are you doing to show grace and truth to the world outside YOUR church?