the shirt [that says it all]

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

June 2, 2010

Let me start by saying that I’ve never been a huge fan of Christian ‘witnessing shirts’. There just seems to be something about them that doesn’t generate the kind of response that they’re supposed to.

I’ve even heard a story once about a zealous young Christian man who became discouraged when his witnessing shirts didn’t have the effect that he had hoped. Then one day he put on (something like) a Harley Davidson t-shirt which prompted an awesome conversation that even allowed him to share his faith with someone.

So, imagine my surprise when I put on a Christian t-shirt that got some people talking to me.

The first was a lady at Target. She said to me, “That’s great! It’s nice to see that kind of message out there these days!” It took me a moment to realize she was talking about my shirt, and by the time I caught on she was walking away giving me the thumbs-up of approval.

Then I was waiting at a restaurant for my take-out, and the hostess kept looking at me and smiling. At first I thought she was flirting, but then she said something. “I like your shirt. That’s really cool.” Umm… wow dude.

Since then I’ve received several other comments, and I’ve noticed many more doing the double-take to make sure that they saw it right.

I’m still not sure exactly why this shirt is generating so much more conversation than I’m used to seeing for a Christian t-shirt. Maybe it has to do with the authenticity and simplicity of the message. Maybe because people see it as much less evangelistic, yet still carrying a boatload of truth. Whatever it is, it seems to be working.

I just never expected this response when I designed it.

What do you think? How does the message of this t-shirt strike you? Why do you think this one resonates so well with people? Comment below with your thoughts on the message on this shirt.

If you’re willing, then I challenge you to try it. If you do, then I’d love to hear about your experience! Are you getting the same kind of reaction that I am?

Buy the read. serve. pray. t-shirt now~

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  1. Kathleen

    Why does it resonate with people? Because Elizabeth Gilbert prepped people with Eat Pray Love? BEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!

  2. @bibledude

    Hmmm… I had never heard of that book, but now I see that it looks like it will be a Julia Roberts movie this summer. Looks a little different than the intent that I had, but I do see the similarity in the format of our message…

  3. Seiji Yamashita

    I think this shirt resonates because it isn't as in-your-face as a lot of Christian t-shirts. There's one that says “There is no your truth or my truth, only THE truth and that is Jesus.” which is pretty caustic. Others are all about God's saving grace and Jesus' sacrifice, but this shirt is about Christian love. There is no way this message can be given in any way other than in love, where as plenty of people have delivered the message of salvation only to cause a whole heck of a lot of harm.

  4. Becky

    To me it's a good reminder, and it's only three things that are easy to remember. It's not a message like “got Jesus” that could be reflective of your attitude. Those could but not quit the same.

  5. Richard Sipes

    My question is, does the message of the shirt attract comments from believers, unbelievers or both? And is the response different for believers and unbelievers?

  6. @bibledude

    Great points Seiji! As I read your comment, I cannot help but to think that there is a certain humility in the message of “read. pray. serve.” It is certainly a statement of faith, but one that ends with the idea that we (who call ourselves Christians) should be humble servants as opposed to arrogant snobs (which is easy for people to perceive us as sometimes).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts dude!

  7. @bibledude

    Thanks Becky! When I designed it, I intended it to be a simple reminder like that. So it's good to know that that design hit the mark with you!

  8. @bibledude

    That is a GREAT question Richard! I'll have to ask some folks next time people say something to me about it. It would be interesting to hear what people with different religious beliefs think about it. I'm thinking that there could be a follow-up to this post in the works! I might even be able to get some feedback on certain message boards…

    I'll have to do some digging now! Thanks for dropping by and making me think!

  9. Duane Scott

    I like that shirt!

    But I don't like the ones that say “Got Jesus?” I don't know why really. They just seem rude. They don't speak the truth. Jesus isn't something you pick up at a Kohl's. It's doing. Like your shirt says.

  10. @bibledude

    Duane dude! I was just thinking about connecting with you earlier today… but got sidetracked.

    I think that the difference is some t-shirts (like “Got Jesus?”) suggest that others need to share our faith. This one expresses a statement of faith, and a core message of the Gospel, without being condemning.

    Thanks for the great feedback dude!

  11. Jennifer @ GDWJ


    I think it's what you said here in the comment box:

    “This one expresses a statement of faith, and a core message of the Gospel, without being condemning.”

    Love the shirt. Truly, I have a whole drawer of this type of shirt. I told my husband the other night that if I die before him, I want him to take all the shirts (30-40 of them) and ask people to wear them at my funeral.

    But I don't like the condemning ones, either. Not in the least. But this one? Yes! Love it.

  12. @bibledude

    LOL! Thanks Jennifer! I love the funeral idea! That rocks!


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the shirt [that says it all]

by Dan King time to read: 2 min