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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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What's our pitch?

We should find better ways to express our Lutheranism

A theory says life in the United States is a series of sales pitches. Everyone is touting a product or service, and we can all just sit back, listen, watch and select what sounds and looks best. While this is an exaggeration, there's certainly some truth to it. Does this theory apply to churches?

Recently my wife, a friend and I toured Temple Square, the Mormon Church's headquarters in Salt Lake City. After the tour, led by a local CEO, we entered a lower level and saw banks of computers. Over one group of computers was a sign, "Who is Jesus Christ?" Over another, "What are Mormons?" And another, "What is my purpose in life?" The software allowed us to select questions and get responses, to see short video vignettes with sound as part of some answers. We tried several computers--all were effective at educating us.

Next we received tickets to The Legacy, a full-length film that would match Hollywood in terms of professional production. Our Roman Catholic friend was moved by Joseph Smith's story and the trials of Mormonism's founders. She wept.

When we left Temple Square, we had learned a great deal about the Mormon faith in an enjoyable manner. The Mormons really know how to tell their story--and it's heard by millions of people.

We also toured the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., not long ago. The museum reawakened us to the tragedy of the Holocaust with its power and emotion. We lived the victims' trials.

The museum contained well-done movies of actual historical events, emotional videos of survivors, displays, documents and other methods of education, including art, architecture and design. The rise of Adolf Hitler, Nazism, anti-Semitism and the massive crimes of the Holocaust were all presented in an effective manner. Millions of people will visit this museum.

What about the Lutheran story? We have a great story, second to none, with Jesus at its center. How do we tell it? Where do we tell it? Do millions get told? During this Reformation season, we should be thinking of a better way to tell our story.


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