If someone made the statement: “I am second” with no explanation, your first question (after huh?) would be: “Who’s first?”
That’s exactly the right question.
Plano-based e3 Partners Ministry has slapped the phrase “I am second” on billboards across North Texas, hoping for just that response. But saying “I am second (to Christ)” without explanation or reason isn’t enough – this ministry recognizes the power of celebrity in our culture and has harnessed its potentcy for Christ.
The ads list a Web site – iamsecond.com – which lists multiple provocative testimonial videos by celebrities like movie star Stephen Baldwin, “The Biggest Loser” winner Michelle Aguilar, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton.
Every one of these individuals’ stories deals with real and often emotional issues, professionally shot and edited to give the website a feeling of a well-designed, relevant outreach rather than out-of-touch proselytizing.
This is a multimillion-dollar media campaign intended to promote faith in God, and so far it seems to be at least attracting interest. “I Am Second” began in December 2008 and is planned to last three years. A month after it began, the web site had already drawn more than 160,000 visits from people in at least 150 countries.
“We are training people to take advantage of advertising that will help them live lives of intention,” said Nathan Sheets, a vice president of e3 Partners Ministry, a missionary organization, to the Dallas Morning News. “I Am Second is a mind-set to live out authentic, transparent lives.”
Authenticity, transparency, meaning, purpose, redemption. These are all things we desperately need and only come from the saving grace of God. Hopefully people won’t be content with seeing this clever campaign blur by on a billboard or hearing three minutes from a celebrity, but will actually take its powerful message to heart.
Maybe then we can grow this movement beyond North Texas and watch more people across the world find joy and purpose in being Second.