T-Shirt Evangelism

Peter Micheel (Eau Claire, Wisconsin USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Peter Micheel, a 1994 Dr. Martin Luther College graduate, serves his Savior as principal and teacher at St. Mark Lutheran School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. God has graciously blessed him with a loving wife, Leah, and four children. Their oldest, Joseph, a Junior at UW-Eau Claire, is double majoring in accounting and finance. Their second, Abby, a freshman at Martin Luther College, is double majoring in elementary and special education. Their third, Jillian, is a senior at Luther Preparatory School, and their youngest, Noah, is an 8th grader at St. Mark.

The apostle Peter reminds us, Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (I Peter 3:15) Peter certainly points out that there may be many situations when we have the opportunity to share the Gospel. Perhaps it will be while watching your own child's little league baseball game, or sitting around the neighborhood campfire on a crisp autumn evening, or even while waiting in line at the local grocery store. Since this is a reality where all of us can certainly remember examples, it also reminds us of the importance to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18a) We do this by gathering for worship, attending Bible study, leading family devotions, and reading the Bible in our own private moments. The Holy Spirit sharpens our faith through these opportunities to be better prepared to give an answer for the hope we have.

But how can we increase these opportunities to provide an answer to the world that so desperately needs to hear this message? One simple way is by using the medium of our own personal attire, T-shirts, for example, to share the Gospel message. I have had the privilege of serving as a principal in three WELS schools for the past 25 years. Among my responsibilities, I have coordinated or assisted with the following inreach and outreach activities: Vacation Bible School, STEM+ camps (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and the + for the cross, Jesus), soccer camps, and church family camping trips. As a principal and teacher each year, I also facilitate the activity when our faculty chooses a school theme based on a Bible passage. This theme permeates our many school functions like team building activities and weekly chapel devotions. For example, this year our theme is "Fix Your Eyes on Jesus" and is based on Hebrews 12:2. All of these differing situations present opportunities to give the children a keepsake to remember these unique events, and a T-shirt fits that role well.

My family has often poked fun at me that my wardrobe at home is mostly Bible T-shirts from the numerous examples listed above. I will admit that when I dress casually, I likely am wearing such a shirt out in the community. While wearing such attire, most of the time I receive no response. But there are special moments that regularly bring a reaction. Most people who have a thought will share some comment that they appreciate my shirt. Usually, these conversations are only a few short sentences, and I leave the talk knowing that the conversation encouraged the other person in his or her relationship with Jesus. While these individuals may not be a member of our church, I believe that based on the person's outward response, that the person is a member of the invisible church. These are the most common responses I receive when living as a part of the community and fulfilling my vocation as a citizen and neighbor to those around me.

However, sometimes the conversations are longer. By the way, I have a strong passion for hiking. My favorite places include both Wisconsin and Minnesota state parks and our country's national parks. When taking hikes, I am a big believer in wearing something that identifies me. Two neat stories come to mind when my family took a vacation to Glacier National Park in Montana in the summer of 2018. While hiking to both St. Mary and Victoria Falls, I noticed a gentleman wearing a Milwaukee Brewers shirt so I asked him if he was from Wisconsin. He was and shared that he was from Morrison, Wisconsin. This led me to mention that our church body has a congregation in the area, and I soon found out that he and his family, who was with him, were members at Zion Lutheran. While visiting, he also noticed that I was wearing a Martin Luther College T-shirt, and he mentioned that he had a cousin who attended MLC. After conversing for a while, we soon noted that we knew many of the same people. Yes, the WELS is a small church body, and yes, you can randomly meet them on a hiking trail in Glacier National Park. What an example of two households encouraging one another in their faith!

A second example from that same trip was a bit different. My family just finished hiking on the Highline Trail in Glacier, and we were returning to our minivan in the Logan Pass parking lot. While walking to our vehicle, I noticed a family of five, Dad, Mom, and three children likely ages 4-10, all wearing Minnesota Twins attire. I made a comment to them that I love the Twins, and soon found out they were from Yankton, South Dakota. They were grilling hot dogs on the back of their pickup and mentioned that we looked hungry and they had too many hot dogs for their family. We promptly grabbed some chips, fruit, and cookies from our van and had a picnic with some new friends. I later mentioned to my wife that there still are some solid families in America. While talking with them, I had the opportunity to share, as my T-shirt displayed, that I was the principal of a Lutheran Elementary School, a school that focuses on Jesus as the Savior of the whole world. While I don't know whether that conversation had any further impact, I trust God's promise in Isaiah 55: as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Using T-shirts as a medium for pointing people to Christ is truly an easy thing to do. It brings opportunities to give an answer. Perhaps, it will encourage people in their faith, or perhaps it opens the door for a chance to share Jesus with a soul that is so desperately needing the comfort of forgiveness. We plant seeds, and the Holy Spirit germinates them and makes them grow. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

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Discussion

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Phil (St Mark) 2019-10-21 12:44:29pm
What a great and easy way to share the Gospel message! This simple idea could easily be implemented anywhere. For those that think the investment in T-Shirts is too great, this is a reminder of how that investment can pay off! I too have had people comment on my school T Shirt or Wisconsin sports T-Shirt when traveling. It is an easy conversation starter!
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Tmk 2019-10-22 4:03:48pm
That’s a Nobel idea that could change how the word can be spread to the current generation
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Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-21 3:52:11pm
eter, Thank you for a very nicely written article! It made me think of two times in 2019 I noticed T-shirts with a Gospel message. One was worn by a man passing by at a WELS tech conference in the Dells. I stopped and mentioned, "I like your shirt" and his response was, "Hi, Mrs. Kuster!" Yes, it was you - our next door neighbor and a classmate of my son in New Ulm for 9 years of grade school and 4 years of high school. We probably would have walked right past each other if I hadn't noticed your shirt. We connected after 30 years! The other was walking around the deck of a cruise ship in the Caribbean. In front of me was a man with a Bible verse on his purple shirt. I hurried to pass him and although it didn't say he was from a WELS church, it had the name of a church on it and I asked him if he was WELS. The answer surprised me. Not only was he a WELS member, he and his wife were planning to visit a mission in Costa Maya, Mexico, the next port. Tom and I were planning to visit the same mission to deliver supplies they had requested. In both cases, those messages introduced someone to me and we made a connection. I think I need to order a shirt myself!!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-22 1:45:44am
Mrs. Kuster,
Thank you for your kind comments. I truly loved your story. It is amazing the connections that one can make with other people when someone takes the initiative to start a conversation. This past weekend a group of leaders from our church and school attended a WELS Outreach workshop titled, "Telling the Next Generation." Part of it focused on a Bible study from John 4 where Jesus began a conversation with a woman who went to get water from the well in Sychar. He soon turned the casual conversation into a spiritual one addressing her need for a Savior. Commenting on a person's clothes is definitely a way to break the ice and build an opportunity to share the Gospel.
Greet your son and former classmate, Matt, for me.
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Brian Klebig (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-10-22 3:58:25pm
What an interesting concept! We usually think about messaging on attire as strictly marketing for organizations, but to consider how to use it to witness is a genuinely interesting angle. Most of the Lutheran t-shirts I've seen have basically been pieces of apparel distributed by schools to students, or the whole Live Generously shirts from Thrivent thing, but none of them seem particularly oriented toward an objective of actually beginning a conversation with someone who maybe doesn't know Christ. Do you have any ideas on what you would do in order to make a piece of apparel that is specifically for that purpose of sharing the gospel, or starting a conversation in which the gospel message could be shared?
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-23 12:28:03pm
Brian,
Thanks for reaching out. I feel like our t-shirts that we get for school, STEM+ Camp, etc. have two main purposes. As you said, name recognition/school promotion is certainly a primary objective. I think an important secondary objective is to share the Good News of Jesus with a Gospel-oriented Bible passage. For example, our STEM+ Camp last year used the Bible passage, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
I feel that using a t-shirt as an opportunity to share Christ most often will require the individual to take the initiative. Remember how Jesus took the initiative at the well in Sychar by asking the woman for a drink of water. As I stated in the article, both conversations that I specifically mentioned began with me making a comment to someone else about their attire (Brewers/Twins). Using my own attire provides an opportunity to naturally turn the conversation into a Christ-centered conversation.
Finally, printing a Bible passage, especially on the back, provides an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work through the printed word to whoever takes the time to read the Bible passage. Thanks again for taking the time to read this.
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Giana Peterson (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-10-22 4:01:37pm
I agree with t-shirts being used as a great way to share the gospel message! I grew up attending and now work at a bible camp in Pine River, MN. Each summer, all of the staff and volunteer members get a t-shirt with our summer theme on the front and the corresponding bible verse on the back. The matching shirts definitely help on opening and closing days of camp for parents and visitors to know who to ask questions to, but I think the bigger impact comes from when the staff members take the shirts back home with them at the end of the summer and wear them around their own homes, schools, and communities. The verses and names of bible characters printed on the shirts strike up conversations with strangers, who then have that verse or story in mind after that conversation is over.
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Paula Jerez (Bethany Lutheran College ) 2019-10-22 4:24:03pm
I like the idea of the t-shirts too; I think it's a very easy way to spread His Word, because wearing a colorful t-shirt with such an important message can be very catchy. I like how you said they do it in the summer camp you worked, we should do it too during 'Best Week Ever' at Bethany Lutheran College!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-23 12:30:47pm
Giana,
Thanks for taking the time to share your story. Keep the conversations going! The fields are certainly ripe for harvest. May the Holy Spirit bless your opportunities as you fill your vocations as a camp counselor and citizen in your community.
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Madison Rich (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:13:17pm
Giana,

I love the idea of matching shirts at a bible camp. I too, have experienced that and remember often times after leaving the camp, would have many people ask or at least ready what my shirt said. I think it is such an awesome way to evangelize. Do you know of any ways that we can make some of the shirts more appealing/interesting instead of just the verse?
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Jack Vogel (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-23 7:10:55pm
Pastor Micheel,


I agree that t-shirts can start a conversation, a conversation can lead to sharing our faith. Wearing a shirt that promotes your church, would give us all an opportunity to share our faith with someone. People are also more willing to listen to a layperson than a pastor because it's their job to talk to people about Jesus, equipping members with t-shirts promoting their church, creates a huge opportunity for growth in a church.

Money is a concern in many congregations. The shirts cost money. Many of us, in the WELS and ELS, own close to a dozen Thrivent shirts. Could there be a synod wide campaign to raise money and produce shirts promoting the synod and churches, just like Thrivent?

Thanks for sharing your article.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-26 12:37:52am
Jack,

Not sure about a Synod - wide campaign for free shirts to distribute. When setting the fees soccer camps, STEM+ Camps, or school, we include a small part of that income is meant to go to the expense for t-shirts. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. God be with you as you share the Gospel with other people and consider using your own clothing to reach out and start a conversation with someone on the Good News of Jesus.

Peter
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Jack Vogel (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 7:11:55pm
Thanks for your response and for answering my question. Thanks for the ideas on using t-shirts.
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Isabelle (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:13:07pm
Jack,
I wholeheartedly agree with your statement that many churches or organizations don't have the funds to produce these shirts. I think that a synod wide campaign to raise money for shirts promoting the synod would be a great idea. Would one of the synod's youth rallies be able to help in a way with this effort?
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Isabelle Kettler (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-23 8:10:41pm

Mr. Micheel,

This reminded me of all of the different shirts that I have received over the years. I hadn’t really realised how many people actually look at and make comments about what other people wear. I personally have never received a comment on a shirt that I’ve worn from someone that doesn’t know Jesus, but I now realise that even if someone doesn’t make a comment, that doesn’t always mean that it didn’t touch them in some way. As I am at school at MLC, I’ve noticed many different shirts that spark my interest and I can’t help but think what can be sparked in others as well.

After reading your article, I have one question. A lot of people think that in order to make a difference in the world you have to see a result. How can we show people that little things in life like wearing that specific shirt on this random day can have such a great impact on another person, that isn’t always seen right away? Thanks
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-26 12:49:53am
Isabelle,

Thanks for taking the time to reflect on the article. You raise a good question. We certainly will never know this side of heaven how the printed Word, perhaps on a t-shirt that you have even worn, has given the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in people's hearts a faith that clings to Jesus as their Savior.

Maybe to answer your question, I have a thought. I remember once hearing from one of my professors who said that the only bad questions are the ones that don't get asked. In a similar way, the only bad conversations are the ones that never got started. Taking initiative and starting a conversation with a random stranger by commenting on their personal attire is not always easy to do. I have "fallen on my face" many times in my experiences. I try to use those experiences as learning opportunities for next time. And I find comfort feeling that it is better to try and fail rather than never taking the opportunity. One of the things I often remind my students in my classroom is that I want them to remember that every person they see/meet each day is someone who Jesus loved and died to take away their sins. I try to remind them that they may be the only Christian that a person may come in contact with that day.

Isabelle, be confident that God will bless your conversations, and you will get better at them when you take the time to start these conversations and look for the opportunity to connect a person to Christ.

Peter
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Isabelle (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:09:54pm
Mr. Micheel, Thank you for your response. I agree with your statement about the only bad conversations are the ones that never got started. I think that taking that initiative to start a conversation is a great way to get gospel outreach started. Using past experiences can always help and improve your confidence in this type of outreach. Thank you again for your response.
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Abby Micheel (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:19:36pm
Izzy,
I loved how you made the comment that we can still know that evangelism works through T-shirts even if no one asks you about your shirt. Also, the other person does not have to be the one to make a comment about the shirt. Sometimes, I have tried is finding a way to make my own comment about my shirt when I am around people who I care about that I know do not know God. Just make the comment natural and not forced. Have you ever thought about giving someone a comment on their shirt?
-Abby
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Alexis Waack (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-23 11:10:32pm
Pastor Micheel,

I really enjoyed reading this article. It was quite interesting how you’ve used t-shirts in a way to spread the word. When I first saw this article, I thought of the popular Live Generously shirts. It’s pretty awesome to watch God work in mysterious ways! I appreciate the stories. I would have never imagined you’d meet many people in this way. More often than not, people don’t pay attention to a person’s t-shirt in passing. Have you ever gotten negative feedback for a shirt you’ve worn? I am a little curious about that. People tend to be more public about their opinions when they are negative verses when someone has a positive response.

I love this idea and I will definitely be more conscious when I wear t-shirts expressing my faith. It is a great way to reach out!
Thank you for your contribution to this conference!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-26 12:59:40am
Alexis,

Thanks for taking the time to read the article. I racked my brain and surprisingly I don't ever remember someone sharing a negative comment with me regarding my shirt. Sometimes, I have run into dead-end conversations where the other people make quite clear either verbally or nonverbally that they are not interested in continuing the conversation.

This past summer, our church had a booth at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair. We included a banner that included the words "By his wounds ... we are healed." Several people passing by made positive comments about our banner. Some, however, I noticed felt quite uncomfortable. Everyone has a natural knowledge of God and knows that they need to be accountable to this just God. Seeing pictures or words does make some feel uncomfortable even when they try to suppress these feelings, and sadly, they turn away when given the opportunity to hear the peace that their spiritually starved soul needs to hear.

God be with you as you live your vocation as an MLC student, classmate, and neighbor to those around you.

Peter
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Alexis Waack (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 7:12:35pm
Pastor Micheel,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question! Thank you for sharing that story about the fair. It is a good example and reminder that sometimes people won't always accept what we believe but we just have to keep on doing the Lords work!

Thank you again for the response to my question.
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Nick Mitchell (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:17:51pm
Pastor Michael,

I also found Alexis' thought about other people seeing Christian t-shirts in a negative way interesting. As she said, people are often more open with sharing their negative opinions rather than positive responses. What do you think is the correct approach if someone comes up to you and asks about what you're wearing in a negative connotation?
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Katherine Fink (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 4:54:27am
Mr. Micheel,

Thank you for sharing such inspiring examples! It is hard for us to realize exactly what happens when we wear our Bible gear. You said it perfectly in reminding us that “we plant seeds, and the Holy Spirit germinates them and makes them grow.” We don’t always get a response, but when we do, it is really rewarding.

After reading your article, I would like to know if you have ever gotten any negative feedback from wearing a Bible-related T-shirt. And if so, how did you respond to it? Sharing a story of this nature may help others react in the “correct” manner.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the conference.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-26 2:01:31am
Katherine,

Thank you for reaching out. I was asked a similar question above. I would encourage you to read the response. No, I have never had a person comment in a negative way to me regarding anything that I have worn. Some respond negatively when I try to initiate a conversation. I also remember that not everyone responded favorably to Jesus when he shared his mission with them that he came to be their Savior.

God's blessing to you in your studies at MLC.

Peter
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Katherine Fink (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:11:57pm
Mr. Micheel,
Thank you for your response. It is encouraging to hear that no one has ever responded in a negative way. There are so many people out there that we can share God's love with! Thanks again for your time while being a part of this conference.
Katherine
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Roger Emmons (BLTS) 2019-10-24 2:14:31pm
Very insightful to use t-shirt evangelism. Often I too have had conversations started based on what I was wearing. The focus is always is on Christ-centered to start the conversations. What a great media.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-26 2:11:08am
Roger,

Glad to hear that you have also had these positive opportunities.

Peter
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Paul Agenten (BLTS) 2019-10-24 2:14:58pm
Great article! I agree, what a great way to display your hope/confidence in our Savior. A t-shirt of this nature can be a great conversation starter. Just like a twins or brewers shirt, it helps people know something about who you are!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-26 2:11:56am
Paul,

I agree. Thanks for reading.

Peter
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Alexander Heiman ((Martin Luther College)) 2019-10-24 5:22:56pm
Mr. Micheel

The T-Shirt Evangelism is something I myself have experienced many times as well. Christian people I run into will sometimes comment nice shirt and as you said there might be a small conversation about it, but then we both move on with our own lives. I think you had some awesome stories. I thought you had some great ideas and very eye-opening comments on what influence or connections a T-shirt could have on someone.

I do wonder though if people who are not Christian, who have never heard the name of Jesus pay attention to our attire. I was wondering what on a T-Shirt promoting the message of the Gospel would in your opinion catch the eye of an unbeliever? You mentioned in your final story that the family who shared hot dogs with you was solid. And that you had a chance to tell them about your job as a Principal. Did they ask about your T-shirt or did you just mention what was on your T-shirt?

Thank you for this great article on a very easy medium of opening doors to spread the Gospel.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-26 2:35:07am
Alexander,

As I mentioned in an earlier reply. I truly feel that if one is going to begin a conversation with someone and direct it to a Christ-centered conversation, it needs to begin with the Christian. I think most unbelievers will probably pay little attention to the t-shirts that we are wearing. Yet, when wearing a shirt with a Gospel-centered Bible passage, we remember the Holy Spirit uses the means of grace to turn a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

Answering your question regarding the family from South Dakota, after building a friendly relationship with them, I felt it was a natural lead-in to discuss what I do for a living, and the t-shirt provided the evidence to my story's truth.

God's blessings in your studies at MLC.

Peter
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Katie Edwards (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:42:19pm
Pastor Micheel,

This article is so encouraging. I feel as though it is relatable to all Christians. Anyone can wear a t-shirt with a Christian message on it. They do not need to be notable church leaders or experienced biblical intellects or talented public speakers. I have worn such shirts often in public places and had people come up to me and comment on my shirt. Often times the stranger is also a Christian. I find that really cool to meet a stranger and realize that he or she is my brother or sister in Christ. Other times, as you pointed out, it can be a chance to share our faith. I think we should work more toward encouraging people to wear such shirts. It is so simple and easy, yet it could change someone’s life!

One question that I thought of while reading this article was related to what kind of Christian message we are sending by the shirts. Do you think it would be better if they promote a specific Christian company/institution such as a church, school, athletic or drama club, etc., or if they offer a simple message of biblical truth, such as the gospel? What do you think are the benefits?

Thank you for contributing to this conference. What a great idea!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:16:26am
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think promoting your own church/school while also sharing a Gospel-centered message can make it a win/win either way. God's blessings in your studies at MLC.

Peter
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Katie Edwards (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:13:09pm
Sounds like a great idea! Thank you.
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Cassandra Rose (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:43:04pm
Mr. Micheel,

Thank you for your insights on the “T-shirt” ministry! I had not been introduced to T-shirt ministry until my high school years. I had attended a Lutheran grade school. Still, it was not until attending a Lutheran high school that I understood the reasoning behind buying or sometimes giving matching t-shirts away to a congregation, at a group event, or for a sports team. What we wear is assessed continuously in our culture today, and so we can count on others reading or at least noticing our shirts. Using every tool we can to create outreach is a wonderful way to remind ourselves why we are placed here on earth.

After reading your article, I had a question. Could we take t-shirt ministry even farther than wearing the t-shirts ourselves? Could we provide t-shirts at community events to raise awareness of the church? Could we send t-shirts home with those who walk through our church doors for the first time as a reminder of what we teach? We do not want to turn religion into a ‘cheesy gimmick,’ but would it be beneficial to use t-shirts as an outreach potential, especially because of the versatility and usefulness that t-shirts can provide?

Thank you so much for your work!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:18:47am
Cassandra,
Thanks for taking the time to read the article and respond. You have some great ideas. We provide t-shirts to those that attend our STEM+ and soccer camps. Thanks for the suggestions to go even further.
Peter
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Cassandra G Rose (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:22:12pm
Thank you for taking the time to read through my article and suggestions! T-shirt ministry is a wonderful way to provide outreach especially for children or students that love the bright t-shirt colors and the novelty of a new item to add to their clothing collection. I'm excited to see where t-shirt ministry goes next!
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Joshua Mark Snyder (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:44:31pm
Pastor Micheel,
I thought that your article on t-shirts and the impact they can have was intriguing. I specifically liked the proof that you showed when talking about experiences that you had with people based solely off a t-shirt.I feel that it is essential for Christians to be making every effort to spread the message of Christ which could include what Chrtistians wear. I remember many times that I have seen my brothers and sisters wear clothing that does not reflect their faith well at all and when reading your article I thought about how we need to make the impression before the conversation even begins.

You said that t-shirts are one of the easiest mediums for evangelism. I couldn’t help but think about why many don’t go out of their way to put on t-shirts reflecting their faith. Why do you think for many these kinds of t-shirts aren’t part of their daily wardrobe? Do you feel there needs to be a greater push to utilize the t-shirt as a tool for Christians? Or do you feel it is more the opportunity for someone to come to you?

Thank you for your time and contribution to the conference.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:25:10am
Joshua,
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think that some people perhaps feel awkward wearing such clothing. Sharing Christ with other people takes practice. I remember once learning from a pastor that a great way to practice sharing Christ with other people is to practice on those unwanted telemarketers. It can actually be quite fun to ask the caller a question like, "If you were to die tonight, would you be assured that you have eternal life in heaven?" Most of the time the people hang up, but I have been able to have a couple of meaningful conversations, including one man who was calling from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I had the opportunity to direct him to one of our WELS churches, and he even asked about baptiizing his children while on the phone.
Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
Peter
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Joshua Snyder (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:22:02pm
Pastor,
Thank you for answering my questions. I have always thought about that fear that many hold for sharing their faith in a public manner, and it seems that the Christian mindset is misplaced there. I feel that our shortcomings are the reason we do not seek out opportunities as much as we should. I need to work on this in my life and future ministry because I want to be a brave soldier of Christ.
Thanks again.
Joshua Mark Snyder
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Maya Aden (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:49:44pm
Mr. Micheel,


I think it is really cool that you have found this as a useful way to evangelize. Wearing Christ on my clothing is something I have done often and never really thought of as an evangelism opportunity, but I think that it is a useful way to show our faith. It also gives us an opportunity to live in a way that makes what we advertise on our t-shirts appealing.


Did you ever have a negative experience because of the t-shirt you were wearing? Do you think it may be off-putting for some to see someone wearing a t-shirt that may support something that they do not necessarily agree with? I’m wondering if for some less inclined to the faith it may be more appealing to share who you are verbally when they already have a positive impression of you than to have your first impression for them be your faith.


Thank you for your contribution to the conference.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:26:18am
Maya,
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I shared a response that is similar to your question above.
God's blessings to you at MLC.
Peter
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Maya Aden (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:14:33pm
Mr. Micheel,

Thanks for your response. Your response got rid of any reservations I had regarding t-shirt evangelism.

Blessings,
Maya
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Amanda Backhaus ((Martin Luther College)) 2019-10-24 6:40:37pm
Hello Mr. Micheel!

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is simply amazing all the ways that the gospel can reach people. T-Shirts are a casual enough outreach that could impact a lot of people. My late grandfather used to wear a blue ball cap with the words, “Jesus says ‘Go Fish’ ”. I remember being shocked while hearing all the people he met and was able to talk to all because of the simple message on his hat.

Have you ever considered making more than just shirts with Gospel messages on them? And along with that question, Do you have any shirts that reach other cultures or have passages in other languages?

God’s richest blessing on continuing this form of evangelism!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:28:14am
Amanda,
Good to hear from a person that I know! Good suggestions. Some people wear hats, and some don't. I think usually a t-shirt is the easiest, but you gave me some things to think about. God be with you at MLC. Make sure that Abby behaves herself.
Mr. Micheel
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Amanda Backhaus ((Martin Luther College)) 2019-11-04 7:15:10pm
Mr. Micheel!
Thank you for your response! I wholeheartedly agree that shirts are a lot easier to wear casually. I am excited to hear more about your evangelism. I will keep an eye on Abby for you! God's blessings!!
Amanda Backhaus
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Katherine Fink (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:23:09pm
Amanda,
I love your ideas! It would be so cool if we had shirts in different languages. That way other people can get the same message everyone else is! I think this would be perfect for when we have trips to other countries like the upcoming Spanish trip to Argentina. It would be awesome if all the people going wore a shirt with a message in Spanish on it. Thanks for adding to the conversation!
Katherine Fink
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Lexi Fischer (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 8:11:31pm
Mr. Micheel

Thank you for your work with your school and church. For a lot of people, the clothes someone is wearing can tell you quite a bit about them. Whether that be a fancy suit or sweatpants and a t-shirt. It is an amazing thing that we can use what people are wearing as a way to start up a conversation. I work at Kwik Trip and find that people’s T-shirts can be quite interesting. It is cool how open people can be about themselves when you just ask a simple thing about themselves, that being their T-shirt.

How would you go about bringing up your church if you aren’t wearing an evangelism themed T-shirt but you talk about their shirt?

Thank you for your time writing this and reaching out to others about our Savior.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:31:15am
Lexi,
Since I feel that the Christian usually takes the initiative, I think you can still start a conversation based on what someone else is wearing. It may be a bit more challenging/not natural without an evangelism themed shirt, but you can always practice. Engaging others in conversations can be quite fun, and you get to meet some really neat people.
Peter
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Lexi Fischer (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 7:22:28pm
Thanks for replying. I enjoy talking with strangers and learning about them and where they are from but it is hard for me to figure out how to bring up Christ in a conversation. I have done canvassing to houses before which is easier to bring up God's word but it is hard to bring it up in a conversation when that is not the main reason you're talking to them.
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Noah Schaewe (MLC) 2019-10-24 10:52:26pm
This was a very interesting thought, because I also feel that t-shirts are noticed by others whether they say something or not. I like how you gave your examples of talking with others, because not only does it show how t-shirts work, but examples how others can start these conversations. I also appreciated how you did not wait for people to ask about your shirt in both cases, rather you asked about the “generic” shirts of others. It is such a quick and easy way to start a conversation that could lead to the Gospel and later maybe something greater.

This article did prompt a question which was, could the “Bible shirts” be a deterrent that we might need to be cautious about? Some people could possibly be turned off by a group walking around wearing matching Bible shirts solely because of the stereotype sometimes paired with that situation. Could this be a bigger issue than what is noticed and if so what should be the actions taken? I personally feel that t-shirts are a great tool, but I most certainly would not want it to make people steer clear of me.

Thank you for your contribution to the conference.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:35:11am
Noah,
That could certainly be the case. Some do feel uncomfortable when seeing a Christ-centered theme. I think it goes back to the natural knowledge of God and a conscience that is troubling the person. Sometimes it could be a circumstance that a person is going through at the time that makes it difficult to engage in a conversation. I still think that it is better to share the Good News of Jesus vs. not taking the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Thanks for taking the time to respond.
God's blessings to you at MLC.
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Noah Schaewe (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:20:17pm
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment. It makes total sense that we should take every opportunity we are presented with to try and spread the Gospel! I did think about specific circumstances and their consciences that may cause the person to be uncomfortable, but it certainly is a factor. Thinking about it more, I feel that there are tremendous amounts of positives that come from this outreach than possible negatives.
God's blessings
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Abby Micheel (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 11:51:40pm
Mr. Micheel (Hi Dad!),

I loved the idea of showing simple ways to evangelize to people like the use of t-shirts. I do recall you making the comment in Glacier National Park that one should wear a shirt that reflects their background because of the fact that people will make comments about your shirt that could spark into meaningful conversations. I do appreciate how you can always make connections of mundane facts of life to God’s Word. I, as a child in your family, would love to also state that our family does not tease you because you wear shirts have Bible passages on them, but it is because of the fact that you wear the same 3-5 shirts for the whole summer.

I am curious if you can write an article about how you find the courage in evangelizing to people who do not come from the same background as you. As a person training to be in the public ministry and knowing how many random people you share God’s Word to, I find your point of view necessary to learn how to build up the courage to evangelize to strangers or good friends who don’t know the truth yet. Will you consider writing this? Also, why didn’t you tell me that you wrote an article??

Thank you so much for your input Dad!
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Dad (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:39:33am
Abby,
Thanks for taking the time to respond and clarify the family's teasing. Writing another article is a neat idea. Maybe you could help me and hang out with me when we are camping /hiking/talking to campground hosts and help me identify the techniques to use that makes it easier to share Jesus with other people. What do you think? Let me know what grade you get on this assignment too.
Dad
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Abby Micheel (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:10:30pm
Dad,
Thank you for your reply to my comments. I am glad that you appreciate that I cleared up about the teasing. As long as you are not having a conversation at 5 am again like you did with that Jehovah's witness, I would be happy to observe your techniques. Also, have you ever had a time where you just felt terrified to open up about your faith/afraid that you would say the wrong thing? If so, what would you do in those situations?
-Abby
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Dad (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 8:49:32pm
Abby,
I have absolutely been terrified at times. I think the older I get, the less I care what others think about me. Also, the more opportunities that I use, I feel like the Lord truly blesses them and gives me better experience for the next conversation. Thanks for reminding me about the story with the Jehovah's Witness on Minnesota Highway 61 at Temperance River State Park so early in the morning. Even when talking to such a person, if you can at least put a "stone in their shoe" that may lead them to question what they believe, God's Word won't return empty. Always be prepared to give an answer! Find courage to start conversations, and trust the Holy Spirit to bless you and give you the right words to speak. Love you, Dad!
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Kaitlyn Roux (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 2:12:17am
Mr. Micheel,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with “T-Shirt Evangelism.” The stories you shared were both encouraging and relatable. My family has also experienced the Martin Luther College t-shirt recognition - through an MLC t-shirt, we found out that the tour guide on my brother’s college visit to a public university had a family member who attended MLC. I liked how you included the Twins t-shirt story. It reminded me that we can make connections in many different ways to share the gospel with those we meet. As one training for the public ministry, I will now take special note of the importance of “T-Shirt Evangelism.”

I enjoyed reading about the conversations you were able to have from t-shirts. Have you ever had negative reactions to church or school t-shirts, either from the public or from within the church or school? Have you received any criticism on the t-shirts? What do you think makes a good evangelism t-shirt?

Thank you for your contribution to the conference.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 10:02:54pm
Kaitlyn,

I responded above to a question that you asked about any negative feedback or criticism. I also think it is best to focus on a Gospel message / Bible passage as a theme for a t-shirt. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Is your father, Jon? If so, send him my greetings.
God's blessings in your studies at MLC.
Peter
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Kaitlyn Roux (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:19:52pm
Mr. Micheel,

Thank you for your suggestions on t-shirt ideas. I can remember past school t-shirts that included a theme passage on the back, which could easily be used in a conversation. It is encouraging to hear that you have not had very negative experiences with your t-shirts. I appreciate your comments about the natural knowledge of God - even if people don't say something about the message we are proclaiming, they may feel something.

I will pass on your greeting to my dad.

Thank you!
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MacKenzie Lynch (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 5:41:45am
Mr. Micheel,

I greatly appreciated reading your article that reminds us of how something as simple as the words on a T-Shirt can be used to spread the divine message of God. This also shows to me how many other tools in everyday life can be used to share this message.

I was left with a question after reading this article. Have you considered giving this idea to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are working in our World Missions? This strategy of spreading the God’s Word in different countries with various languages on them as well.

Thank you for writing this article, and showing us this great tool that can be used to spread the Gospel.
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McKenzey Crowley (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 12:07:30pm
Dear Pastor Micheel,

I loved the stories you shared about how a t-shirt can bring people together. For example when you went to state parks, you bonded to people over a t-shirt, which is a great conversation starter. You also mentioned that wearing t-shirts shows who you are and what you believe, which is why I enjoy wearing t-shirts and collect a t-shirt when I visit somewhere new. These stories show that you can connect with people or the simplest things and show them God’s Word in every situation.

A question I had while reading your stories was, do you make all of the t-shirts you have? How do you come up with your t-shirt designs if you do design them on your own? I know people who wear t-shirts all the time, and it would be great for them to start wearing Gospel t-shirts, so they can start sharing the Gospel news to all people.


Thank you for those wonderful stories, and make God Bless you on your ministry.
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Caden Rindt (MLC) 2019-10-25 2:06:35pm
Mr. Micheel



Thank you very much for your very practical article. I really enjoyed reading it, and think that it is very applicable. I know that I have lots of old church and camp shirts, and reading this article shows just how important and easy sharing the gospel can be with just shirts.




After reading, I wondered if anyone else has done the same to you. Obviously the WELS isn’t the only church body that makes shirts, so has anyone from another denomination ever tried to talk with you about their faith because of their shirt?




Thank you for the great article and for your contributions to the conference.
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JuanDa Escobar (Martin Luther College ) 2019-10-25 3:23:53pm



Pastor Micheel,

I found your article faciting due to the fact that it shows how easy it is to proclaim the Gospel. Your article reminds me that little things can have a tremendous impact on people. I am a very social person, but I sometimes struggle to find ways to tie my conversation to God. The things that we do and even the things that we wear represent who we are as individuals. It is as simple as putting a christian shirt on.

After reading your article, I had two questions. Have you thought about wearing or providing shirts written in spanish or any other language in order to catch the eye of more people in your daily activities? And also, have you ever experienced any type of bullying or aggression because of the message you are trying to share?


Thank you for your contribution to the conference.
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Erika Gosch (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 3:39:55pm
Mr. Micheel,

Thank you so much for all the work you have been doing. It is truly amazing the impact you can and are causing on people with their faith. It’s funny because making biblical t-shirts is such an easy way to spread the gospel, outreach to people, and to just represent our Savior, and I never thought about how much impact I could cause for a person by just wearing a shirt. I have made t-shirts for my SDTeenAge Republicans(TARs) organization when I was the Chair. We would always have people talk to us about it and it always served as a great conversation starter. Thank you for the impact you are causing in this world.

I am curious to see if you any further ideas of ways of outreach. Such as maybe other accessories to be worn or events of some kind?

Thank you for your contribution to the conference. God’s blessings.
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Luke Schlomer (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-25 4:24:11pm
Mr. Micheel,

Thank you for sharing your story on T-Shirt Evangelism. This use of t-shirts for spreading God’s Word is awesome. Talking to everyone you see throughout your day to day life about Jesus is not always the easiest thing. Wearing a t-shirt proclaiming God’s message will always be an easy and effective way for Christians to let their light shine.

Reading your article left me with some questions. Do we have t-shirts for outreach around the globe? Would these t-shirts have the same effect for other cultures if they had words with their language on them?

Thanks for the article on T-Shirt Evangalism. God’s blessings!
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Kristin Knickelbein (St. Mark) 2019-10-27 5:57:52pm
I have found that flooding the community with kids wearing the same shirt also helps raise awareness. I was in a grocery store wearing a STEM+ Camp shirt once and had the checker comment that he had seen a lot of people wearing that shirt that day come into the store. He wanted to know more about what was going on. I got to tell him about our camp and our ministry. it was a great opportunity to have that conversation! Thanks for the work you do on this, Peter!
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:42:09am
Kristin,
Thanks for being a great partner with the STEM+ Camp. Thanks for sharing your experiences. You are a tremendous classroom partner to work with as we share Jesus with both our students and the community of Eau Claire. By the way, the North Shore has some great hiking opportunities and lots of souls to meet who need to hear about their Savior.
Peter
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Kelsey and Jenna (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-10-27 8:42:29pm
Thank you for your post!

In this day and age, everything revolves around identity and defining yourself to the world through whatever means necessary. Isn't it wonderful when we do not have to worry about that, thanks to Jesus! I completely agree that people often assume what you wear is a part of your personality and how you communicate your values to the world. I always try to engage in conversation with someone when they are wearing a shirt I like or that I do not understand and want to learn more about. It's so easy to make a difference in someone's day through simple small talk and evangelizing to them could well open the door to salvation.

Being from Colorado, I thoroughly enjoy hiking as well and I love interacting with the people I meet. I've never made a conscious decision to evangelize through my clothing on hikes or other places. I will certainly start doing that from now on!

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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 9:45:58pm
Kelsey and Jenna,

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

God's blessings as you hike the trails of Colorado.

Peter
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Michayla & Isabella (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-10-27 10:04:42pm
In this day and age, people use clothing to demonstrate their identity. Growing up in the church we are taught to be mindful of what we wear and what we portray through our clothing. So it is important to instill a positive outlook on wearing clothing that states your Christianity. It can be hard to show what you believe in your clothing because people can be judgmental, but we should encourage the next generation to feel pride in their Christianity and not worry about the negative comments that may follow. Mr. Micheel would you recommend teaching the next generation to be okay with wearing their Christianity on their sleeve?
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-28 1:12:52am
Absolutely. I read this story to the students in my classroom last week, and I think it gave them some courage to share Jesus with those they meet.

Peter
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Gabe Stoesz (Bethany Lutheran College. ) 2019-10-28 11:52:23pm
This is a great article that reminds me of how people tend to notice even the smallest things we do, such as what we wear and how we present ourselves. Growing up, I received a shirt that read: NONCONFORMIST on the front with the verse Romans 12:2 (Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...). That was my favorite shirt to wear, and sometimes it sparked conversations with classmates, even as a kid. Later in life on a mission trip, my church group wore matching t-shirts featuring Gospel messages. This led to several comments and moments of prayers with complete strangers in Chicago. As you mentioned, these shirts do serve as keepsakes for ourselves and as seeds for others we interact with. T-Shirt Evangelism really can be a powerful tool!
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Peeter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-29 12:41:10pm
Gabe,
Thanks for contributing. God's blessings in your studies at Bethany.
Peter
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Madison Rich (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 6:10:28pm
Gabe,

I really like the part about the shirt you wore growing up, that said NONONFORMIST. It proves how much a T-shirt can do if you still remember it years after you have worn it. I think that for all mission trips, the people going on them should have shirts made just to have a point to talk about to the people they pass by. I agree with you that T-Shirt Evangelism can be really powerful as well.
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Jack Heichelbech (MLC) 2019-10-29 1:10:47am
Pastor Micheel,

I loved hearing about your stories in witnessing your faith partly because of T-Shirt Evanglelism! What a cool and conveneient way to spread the gospel!

What other challenges have you encountered because of your t-shirts? Are you known as “The T-shirt guy” or do people not really notice? Perhaps they do notice and turn away because of it? In your opinion, would you say it’s better to “passively” be a witness with t-shirts, or better to “actively” be a witness by asking people upfront about their faith? Perhaps a mixture of both? I am genuinely curious because I am not sure. I could see being upfron and asking people could be both good and really bad. But I’m curious to hear what you have to say about it!

God’s Blessings, Jack.
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Peter (St. Mark - Author) 2019-10-29 12:44:05pm
Jack,
I think you really need to see the tone of the conversation and read the person's body language. I often pray and seek God's guidance to give me the right words to speak at the right time. It takes practice. It takes courage. There will be times that it may seem like you fail. There will be times when you know it was the right thing and trust the Holy Spirit to do his work. Above all, keep Christ at the center of the conversation and use his word when discussing with someone.
Peter
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Jack Heichelbech (MLC) 2019-11-07 6:21:56pm
Thank you for your response, I suppose there is no black and white answer to my question, as with most things related to ministry! I think it also is very contextual on the person you are talking with as well as timing and place. Certainly, there is no "right" way for all people. Thanks for reminding me to keep it Christ-centered and to remember that the Holy Spirit works faith in people's hearts. It is very important to keep going and to keep preaching the gospel even when we feel like we failed.
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Jeremy Fluegge (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-29 7:29:38pm
Mr. Micheel,
I really appreciated how you highlighted the uses and efficacy of T-shirt messages to share the Gospel with the world. A Bible passage on the back of a shirt might be what it takes to start a conversation with a stranger who does not know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Regardless of how that conversation goes, one can be confident that the Holy Spirit has the power to work faith in their hearts through such a conversation. Also, believers can be uplifted and encouraged in their faith when they see the Gospel message on someone’s clothing. I have gotten compliments from such people who were pleased to see God’s Word being shared in that way and strengthened in their own faith as a result. Finally, I enjoyed your mention of how noticing someone’s clothing could lead to finding something in common. I have a question for you about your personal experience with T-shirt evangelism and younger children. When you gave students (especially younger students) a T-shirt with a Bible passage on it, was the meaning and use of that passage made clear? I apologize if my question is a bit unclear, but my thought is that if students are wearing clothing with the Gospel message on it and are also able to understand and possibly even share that message with others who notice it, this would be a great head-start as far as teaching young Christians how to share their faith with those who might not have it. Thank you for your contributions to the conference.
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 8:40:47pm
Jeremy,
Thank you for triggering my thoughts. Since having the opportunity to share this article, I have made a point to share the article with our students to encourage them to share Jesus with other people. Wearing their shirts in the community is such a simple way to wear your faith to those in whom you come contact.
Thanks again.
Peter
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Dr. Jeff Lemke (Bethany Lutheran and MLC) 2019-10-30 10:15:27pm
Principal Pete,
Thanks for the great article, photos and stories that illustrate the topic well.
T-shirts, yard signs, car stickers, pens, coffee mugs, stocking hats and branded water are all my favorite conversation starters. One may want to choose a different item based on the ministry and the context of the user. What would a parent utilize at work to start a conversation with a co-worker? What would a student be proud to use in front of community camp kids in the summer? You give some great examples of how to approach personal visuals in public and how it leads to the wonderful Word of Mouth ministry.
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 8:43:55pm
Jeff,
Thanks for taking the time to comment. It was good to see you last night at the WELS Choral Fest. God's blessings to you, and thank you for contributing to the conference as well.
Peter
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Nancy Roebke 2019-11-02 12:50:58pm
So I have seen the “Living Generously” Thrivent shirts here in Central Africa. I stopped the wearer each time but I as the one to witness because I think the wearer liked the shirt but had no idea where it came from: beyond the second-hand shirt bundles sold at open markets...so this T-shirt evangelism can go either way! You can be told what your shirt means...meanwhile here Lutheran Church Central Africa members indulge in fabric with Jesus or Martin Luther images wrapping themselves (skirts) or making tailored shirts or pants or dresses. See One Africa Team WELS Facebook page for all the fun
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 8:42:11pm
Nancy,
What an interesting perspective! God's blessings as you serve our Lord in the Lutheran Church Central Africa.
Peter
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Sashia Swenson (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-11-02 11:00:34pm
Reading this article reminded me of a story my mother told me that can relate to t-shirt evangelism. She was wearing a t-shirt created by our church that on the back read "Jesus Loves You." We has stopped for gas and she was inside getting a snack for the road. Someone had saw her shirt and made the comment that Jesus loved her too. T-shirt evangelism happens in the most unlikely circumstances and is truly an easy way to spread the message.
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 8:37:20pm
Sashia,
Thanks for the neat story. Since publishing this article, I have heard many others who have so many great stories to tell that are similar. I feel humbled to have the opportunity to trigger others to share such beautiful stories. Keep sharing the good news of Jesus with those you meet. The fields are ripe for harvest.
Peter
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Alissa D. (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-03 7:09:10pm
Thank-you for this well-written article! Reading it brought back so many fond memories of the events I have participated in that got me t-shirts. If you ask my mom, she will tell you that I have WAY too many t-shirts. They are from running cross country/track, being in the concert band, and participating in the Lutheran Vanguard of Wisconsin marching band in high school. I even had a t-shirt quilt made before I started college because I had so many! The reason I cannot part with so many of these old t-shirts is because their message resonates deeply with me. Even if the t-shirt I am wearing does not have a Bible verse etched on it, wearing it reminds me that I was a part of a team or group that shared my values and belief system. Of course my faith is important to me, but it can be scary to share it! Like a lot of other people have said, I have been able to start up a conversation with a stranger when I noticed him/her wearing a "Seminary Shuffle" t-shirt or a "WLC Football Parent" t-shirt. I am convinced that I will forever wear my favorite t-shirts until they completely disintegrate, and if doing so can help point others to the gospel, that is a win-win in my book. Thanks for sharing!
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 8:04:37pm
Alissa,
Thank you for commenting and your encouraging words. God's blessings in your studies as you carry out your vocation as a student and member of the community.
Peter
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Jenna Ehlinger & Kelsey Boucher (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-03 7:33:19pm
Such an interesting concept! Tshirts not only express identity but connect groups and beliefs through symbols. I see that this concept can be applied beyond just religious tshirts as well. I understand the idea of planting the seed in those who need it, but wonder how the impact of certain shirts outweighs other, nonreligious ones. Is it simply the effort of exposure or is it ideal to interact with people and engage in further discussion.

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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:52:42pm
Jenna and Kelsey,
I think the double blessing is exposure and opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus. Thanks for the comment and reaching out.
Peter
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Madison Rich (MLC) 2019-11-04 2:28:16pm
Mr. Micheel,

Thank you so much for the awesome article! I feel that the idea of wearing a “faith-oriented” t-shirt is genius. It is such an easy concept, that we as followers should take advantage of. When I have worn a t-shirt with a bible verse or from a VBS camp, I have had a wide range of responses, and even the people who don’t comment on my shirt, many times I notice the individuals still reading the shirt. There is still evangelism in that. Taking the opportunity to talk to people who comment on your shirt can be a game-changer for people and their faith.

Although I agree with evangelism through t-shirts and love the idea, do you have a favorite website where you can get t-shirts as cheaply as possible so this can be an affordable option for most churches?
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:46:23pm
Madison,
We buy locally from a business in Eau Claire. It supports the local economy and even subtlely serves as a witness and reveals that our church and school are part of the Eau Claire community.
Peter
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Josie O'Brien (MLC) 2019-11-04 7:11:55pm
Mr. Micheel,

I appreciated how you incorporated many personal stories into your presentation. It made me feel like I knew you and the situation you were in. I loved how you both opened and ended your thoughts with Bible passages. It kept your topic strongly connected to the Word, and this makes this source of evangelism so much more touching and effective.

Have you ever received negative reactions to the shirts when you wear them? I know that persecution is a source of major concern and worry for many people, and this could possibly turn them away from wearing such an expressive shirt.

Thank you for your contribution to this conference.
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:57:59pm
Josie,
Surprisingly, no, I have never heard a person make a derogatory comment to me to my face. I have experienced people who make very clear that they are not interested. It is best just to move on and look for the next opportunity.
Thanks for encouraging me with the Bible passages. I always feel that my words are a distant second to the words God reveals to us in the Bible.
Peter
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Regina Lou (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 7:13:41pm
Mr. Micheel,

This is an amazing idea to get people open up for a conversation about our savior. We should be proud to share our faith, don’t take living on a free land for granted. Sharing the Gospel does not only apply in church. Realistically, people are more likely to pay attention if the message is delivered through a casual conversation instead of, for example, door-to-door canvassing.

Since the T-shirt is a great way to deliver the message, why don’t we expand our focus on people with different cultural backgrounds? Is it doable to print on the massages in different languages like Chinese, Spanish and German? As for me, an International student from China, it is always eye-catching to see Chinese on someone’s shirt.
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:54:50pm
Regina,
Thank you for your comments. What a great idea to share the message in a different language, especially if the area that you live has many different nationalities and cultures.
Peter
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Paul Grubbs (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-04 8:20:54pm
Mr. Micheel,

Your presentation brought to mind an experience I had about twenty-five years ago with my siblings in Florida. We went to Disney World with my grandparents, and my eight-year-old brother Peter wore a tank top that had thirty trivia questions printed on the front side and the thirty correct answers on the backside. During the long day we spent riding shuttles between locations or standing in lines for rides or snacks, countless strangers read over his shirt and asked him to turn around repeatedly so they could confirm their guesses using his back. (This is in the pre-internet era when you couldn't just Google such information on your phone.)

In your piece, you mentioned that "While wearing [attire related to church or school programs], most of the time I receive no response." Combining your thoughts regarding t-shirt evangelism and that experience with my brother, I wondered if there were specific design traits or strategies that might be more likely to comfortably engage people, especially those who might be unfamiliar with our church. The most direct relevant cousin to my brother's shirt would probably be a t-shirt featuring Bible trivia questions, but I'm sure there are other better ideas as well.

Incidentally, my brother refused to wear his trivia tank top ever again on vacation, claiming that he grew tired of being a personal gamepiece for tons of unfamiliar folks. So it would take the right personality to wear a shirt that actually nudged people toward interacting with you in a positive fashion. But I thought if you or other readers had thoughts along this line, or strategies they'd tried in the past, it could be an interesting addition too the useful conversation you started here.

Thanks for your article, and I also enjoyed the pictures of your family modeling recent efforts! :)
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:35:21pm
Professor Grubbs,
Glad to hear the article triggered such a memorable moment. Thanks for the thoughts. Putting trivia questions on a t-shirt could stimulate more people to start a conversation with the person wearing it. I would welcome curious people who wanted to ask.
Peter
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Paul Grubbs (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-09 10:37:00pm
It is clear from the wide-ranging conversation resulting from your presentation that this is an Evangelism idea that many different people are excited to explore and expand on after reading over your encouragement and experiences. Thanks for generating so much positive thought and discussion about this outreach suggestion that isn't as intimidating as others an individual or church group might consider.
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Chris (BLC D.E. Student) 2019-11-05 1:58:15am
Wow... it is truly incredible what something as seemingly insignificant as t-shirts can do. I’m glad that God has been able to use you to spread his word through those shirts. Actually my parents recently bought a T-shirt printers and started up an online store for selling T-shirt’s. Maybe we could take notes from you and print out Christian shirts to spread God’s great news! Thank you for the idea! I live in Miami Florida by the way.
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:15:34pm
Chris,
Thanks for the encouragement. Keep in touch to let me know what your family does with it. My email address is pjmicheel@gmail.com

Peter
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Al D. & Jessica N. (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-05 8:05:48am
Mr. Michael, It certainly does make sense. People are always wearing band t-shirts or ones from a country, sports team, etc. It is a way to show pride for something you believe in, something that helps you in your life, and then to let people know that you care about it. I remember hearing once how the best conversations usually start because of comment on a hat, t-shirt, sticker, or what have you, and I think your article falls right in to that.

Our question is how do you think we can harness this power of a t-shirt to continue to bring followers to Christ, or at the very least get them to ask about him?

Thanks again.
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:14:07pm
Thank you for responding. My thoughts are to put a Gospel-focused passage on the t-shirt. Let the Holy Spirit work through the Word. Also, don't hesitate to take the opportunity to start a conversation with someone by commenting on their shirt first. This could provide an opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus.
Peter
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Kaylan B. (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-06 3:27:48pm
Thanks for the article! I recently had an interview for an internship and after the interview, the agency gave me a free t-shirt. I was so excited to tell my advisor about the t-shirt and we were laughing about it because college kids love getting t-shirts, especially free ones. I think this has everything to do, like you were saying, wearing t-shirts gives you the opportunity to show people a little bit about yourself while expressing yourself. This is so important and is such an easy way to make conversation. I can certainly relate to your stories, because I love traveling to different ball parks and wearing my Brewers gear. People from different cities will comment on it and start conversations, which I love. I am curious, what is your all time favorite Bible t-shirt that you own?
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 6:57:54pm
Kaylan,
Good question. I would go with a STEM+ Camp shirt that we had in the summer of 2018. The Bible passage is John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This passage clearly shows that God's plan of salvation for sinners is through Jesus alone.
Peter
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Nora (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-11-09 4:57:37pm
Great example of how there are simple ways to show your faith. Sometimes small things like this are all that it takes to spark a conversation with someone.
Something to consider: reaching out to media arts students at Bethany and our other Lutheran colleges and asking for them to practice their design with creating tshirts for various events and things. It would help to keep students involved in the community and also to help them practice what they are learning in classes. It also makes some pretty cool tshirts!
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Peter (St. Mark, Principal/Teacher/Author) 2019-11-09 7:07:24pm
Thank you for the practical advice. We will certainly consider it. Who do I need to contact for the future possibility?
Peter
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Millicent and Mario (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2019-11-09 11:35:01pm
I love how you mentioned t-shirt evangelism sparks conversation. There are many times I will be wearing a Wisconsin Lutheran College t-shirt or sweatshirt in public and have made connections I would not have made otherwise. I have even had people ask me about the college and what we stand for! What an amazing (yet simple) way to plant the seed of a conversation. We are all ambassadors of Christ!
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Madi W. (WLC) 2019-11-11 3:58:50am
I love this idea. First of all, it is a very simple way to show your faith as well as sharing the gospel to those that need it. I come from a WELS background in which I went to a private, WELS grade school, high school, and now college. I too have collected a various amount of Bible-themes or driven shirts throughout the years. In my experience, it has been rare that someone has started a conversation with me over the shirt, but who is to say that they don’t see the Bible passage and look it up. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways sometimes. Sharing God’s Word like this is so simple, and something that we as Christians can consciously do in order to spread the good news in a passive way.
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Kendall P & Haley S (Wisconsin Lutheran College ) 2019-11-11 4:32:48pm
We believe that it’s a great idea to show off your religion and belief with a tshirt! They are a huge part of our society today and graphic tees are basically sold in every retail store across the nation. Graphic tees are a medium to express your self in today’s society and what better way to do it then showing your love to God. What do you believe could be another medium in today’s society, that we could use to spread the word of Christ ?
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Tom Kuster (Christ in Media Institute) 2019-11-12 7:33:36pm Moderator
(The comments posted just above arrived too near the scheduled close of the discussion window to receive answers.)
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