A growing movement is seeing everyday Christians sharing their faith in some very distinctly non-church settings.
Its called lifestyles evangelism – using the places and situations you find yourself in each day to share your faith.
And it's often done without words at all, through the wearing of Christian clothing and Christian jewelry.
The design and style of religious clothing has changed greatly over the years. This year, it's as sophisticated, stylish and trendy as regular clothing.
The big difference is in the message. Christian T-Shirts, for example, deliver catch Bible versa in sharp and bold designs.
For example, one shirt aimed at sportsmen is in camo green and emblazoned with the image of a huge buck deer. The message reads: "Are you Hunting …. For God." A minority Bible versa companies the design.
Another, aimed at football nuts, has the image of a referendum with the words "Penalty Declined" boldly splashed across the chest, followed by Romans 4: 8, which says "Blessed are they whose sin the Lord does not charge against them."
There are other Christian shirts that parody top TV shows, pop advertising campaigns, logos and images. One of the most popular sold by the Christian Christian Shopper Web store is a dark navy shirt that mimmicks the style of the wellknown Abercrombie and Fitch logo …. the story of the feeding of the 5,000 from Matthew 15, noting that "He still works miracles."
Mike Fletcher, the owner of Online Christian Shopper, says Christian clothing has extremely popular this year.
"We live in a T-Shirt culture," he says. "Too often, the messages on secular T-Shirts is crude or offensive. Christian T-Shirts bring a message of hope and joy. "They are a great evangelism tool and today's shirts are so sharp and stylish that they can be worn just about everywhere."
Fletcher says industry experts say that a Christian T-Shirt is typically read by over 3,000 people during its lifetime of wear.
"They let people literally become living, walking around, breathing billboards for Christ," he says.
While Christian shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and the like are appropriate for everyday wear, there are some situations where they just do not work – like the office or at formal gatherings.
That's where Christian jewelry comes in. It used to be a simple cross was the only choice in Christian jewelry.
That's all changed now as the lifestyle evangelism trend has taken off. Christian rings, necklaces, earrings and braclets have become hugely popular in recent years. Rings in the design of a crown of thorns, with the name Jesus, or bearing the image of a dove or the ancient fish symbol for a Christian are hot sellers. There are even toe rings now for Christians.
The success of Christian clothing and Christian jewelry has spread to other areas.
One of the hottest items this year picks up on the digital music craze. An item just released in time for the 2006 holiday shopping season is a "suit" for the Apple Computer iPod. The iPod suit is a case that wraps around either the nano or the larger iPod video model. Constructed from soft Neoprene and flexible vinyl, the Pod Suit allows full access to all controls and comes with a sturdy clip is perfect for attaching the iPod to a belt, purse or backpack. It's message? "Tune in to God."
Fletcher says Christians are embracing the lifestyle evangelism movement because they have grown tired of being marginalized by society. "People tell me all the time that they want to share their faith but they did not know how until they realized that they could make a statement by the clothes they wear," he says. "They love being able to let the world know that they follow Christ and that all is not gloom and doom out there."
Source by Jennifer Jeffrey