Five Reasons For T-Shirts

5 reasons for t-shirts


harvest 2015 t-shirt idea

Have you ever thought about the strange way in which T-shirts are used?  All summer long, students and adults attend one thing after the next and receive a t-shirt.  Some students raise money prepare, pray and then sacrifice a week or two for a far away mission trip and come home with a t-shirt.  Parents register kids, fork over hefty registration fees for camps, training events and summer sport sessions, and afterwards, their kids come home with a t-shirt.  The irony is that it seems like a good trade off – run a 5K and get a shirt.  Work hard in the hot sun all week and get a T-shirt. Volunteer to work during a 72 youth conference and get a T-shirt. T-shirts are overtaking the world.

Here are five reasons why t-shirts work and why we make them for most every event Harvest does.  The reasons are simple…

1) T-shirts tell a story.

Shirts tell a story.  Ask anyone wearing a unique t-shirt and they know where they got it and when.  It usually prompts a conversation about the shirt itself (if it was a bargain, free or whatever) or about the event (they talk about the 5k, the concert or the mission trip they took).

2) T-shirts create a memory.

When you pull out an old t-shirt, you remember things about those moments and those events.  When I pull out the old Fire-up Refine shirt, I think about the Fire-Up planning meeting that got snowed out, but a couple of us showed up anyway.  We were amazed at how the Scripture and planning came together that snowy morning to form the weekend outline: Refine: Prune, Purify, Perfect.  That’s one small example – there are countless others.  [see a picture of this t-shirt on facebook]

3) T-shirts share the message.

Most often, shirts will share a message.  At times, it’s literally a scripture verse or a Christian message and other times it’s more subtle, just the name of a christian event or conference.  Either way is cool. This speaks to a person’s personality.  People usually get the point.  I know some people aren’t comfortable wearing over the top Christian T-shirts and that’s fine.  Either way, make sure the message on whatever shirt you’re wearing doesn’t hinder and undermine your witness.

4) T-shirts build community.

When a group of people have the same t-shirt, culture and community build quickly.  T-shirts, especially for trips and events, help create identity in the group and help people feel like they belong. For kids events, matching T-shirts is a great way to keep all the children corralled in the same place!

5) T-shirts support the ministry.

T-shirt can help support the ministry.  If you whole church wears t-shirts with the name of the church, then the word is out naturally and supports the presence of the church in the community.  When you sell shirts at events, you are able to help fund ministry. When you sell ads on shirts, you are able to help support the kingdom work you are doing.  Christian artists, camps, conferences, and other ministries use t-shirts every chance they can – it’s a small, effective way to aid in the process of building kingdom work.

I have t-shirt quilts, pictures of t-shirts from various events on facebook and several t-shirts in my closet (I recently downsized and got rid of lots of them).  During the summer I wear a Harvest t-shirt or another ministry event t-shirt most every day.  I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to t-shirts.

devil griefBut from the start of Harvest, T-shirts have helped fund a portion of the ministry over the years.  Here’s a picture of the first t-shirt we sold back in 1991.  This shirt, based on a song I wrote my senior year of high school, was used to help raise funds while I was a traveling camp worship leader during summers in college. These days were a pre-cursor to Harvest Ministry (as you can see at the bottom of the picture shirt: Tim Price Music Ministry)

Since then, I can’t even guess how many thousands of shirts have been printed for Harvest Ministry Teams and Harvest Conferences.   A rough guess might between ten and twelve thousand? Who knows!

T-shirts can be a witness, can be a connector and can be a fundraiser!  Student ministry leaders, camping ministry leaders, ministry event staff and outreach coordinators need to use this tool well…  one of your best friends in your regions needs to be the t-shirt printing company.


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