That commercial was probably my favorite Super Bowl commercial of the night. There were several good ones (the Doritos one kind of creeped me out but was hilarious) and some downright awful ones (Godaddy?!) It was interesting to me to see how the kids saw the commercials as an event in and of themselves. I know that companies who place ads in the Super Bowl pull out all the stops on the commercials, but it’s a testament to our consumer society to see just how “important” the Super Bowl commercials have become.
“Consumer” is a word I hear thrown around a lot in the youth ministry world. Not long ago I saw a guest post on a blog I read pretty regularly about what we are consumed with, and what we consume. For some reason, that got me thinking. I think and talk a a lot about what I consume and what my students consume, but it just occurred to me that I am something to be consumed too.
From a marketing aspect, all of us are selling some sort of product. Everything we do and say is a message that is being consumed by others. This means there is a good chance someone is deciding the merits of us as individuals and our ways of life based on…us. In fact, I can guarantee that someone is doing just that.
I am marketing my faith and values to my daughter and to all of the kids I reach in the ministry I serve. The kids I am marketing to have been conditioned to suck up messages like sponges and internalize them. So much so that I bet most kids don’t even realize they are consuming and forming opinions 24/7.
I’m not so naive to think they are mostly listening to what I say, they are watching me. A few years ago I was playing a game with my former youth group that required them to stack wafer cookies (the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry kind) on their foreheads and walk from one end of a room to the other and back. One of our volunteers had to bring her two year old twins that night so they were there watching the game.
After the game we went into lesson time and had wafer cookies as a snack. The twins immediately went and grabbed the cookies and instead of eating them, they stuck them on their foreheads. It was really cute, and really telling at the same time. In less than 10 minutes we had “taught” them what they were supposed to do with those cookies.
It scares me to think about what I might be teaching my daughter and youth sometimes. I’m not exactly the most patient person in the world, and I’m REALLY competitive. I know those messages are getting through. The challenge for me is to, even at my weakest moment, send a message to them that Christ is worth the sacrifice, that he loves them far more than they think is even possible, and that he is worth following.