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Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.

6421 W. Poinsettia Drive

Glendale, Arizona 85304-2419

623-334-8014; chemnitz@uswest.net





I have borrowed a video tape of the WELS Easter TV commercials. You can look them up at: http://www.wels.net/sab/frm-ev.html


I will transcribe some of the comments on the tape. Believe it or not.


The most ambitious outreach ever – in celebration of WELS 150th anniversary.


Target Audiences

Baby boomers – 1946-1964 80 million Boomers, by far the largest and most influential audience.

Generation X – age 18-34 – 45 million. “And people we need to see far more of in our pews.”


“Research helped us craft our messages so they might be most effective and moving.”

  1. Aimed at women. They are most likely to encourage church attendance.
  2. The two groups prefer to be talked to rather than preached to.
  3. To make our solution, our Lord Jesus, ring true, we need to identify problems [felt needs].
    1. Stress for Boomers.
    2. Unreliability of the past and their future – for Xers.
  4. Give it to them straight.


“Think of them now as potential buyers of our product.”


Boomers and Xers respond very well to commercials with attitude.


A theme or slogan is used in advertising.


We opted for rapid fire images of people “speaking, not preaching.”


The commercials repeatedly state “I am.”


“I am saved through Jesus Christ. You are too.” – That’s the most content to be found in the two commercials. It is difficult to imagine exactly what they are trying to say.


Xer TV Commercial

“I am a Christian. I am no way counting on Social Security. I am really mad.  A quarter century old. I am pregnant. I am not a slacker. I can party, swear, dress too much.”


“And I’m so dumb.”


“So confused sometimes…but I always know.”


“I am, I am, I am forgiven, loved.”


“I am saved through Jesus Christ. You are too.” Song - “Jesus loves the little children.”


Boomer TV Commercial

“I am a Christian. I am sick of poopy diapers. I am maybe 10 pounds overweight.”


“I am trying to quit drinking…I am a blond again. I am dying of cancer. I’ve got too much stress. Not enough time.”


“No husband anymore, but then I remember.”


“I am, I am, I am. Never alone. Forgiven.”


“I am going to heaven through Jesus Christ. How about you.” Song – “Yes Jesus loves me.”


Comments Provided on the Tape


Half of the actors in the two commercials are WELS members. The impression is, for some people, that all of them are. But that’s only an impression.


Comment by a WELS member on the tape – “I am just confident that the Holy Spirit will work faith in many people through these messages.” Once again, the efficacy of the Word is denied. How can God work faith through the Word when the Word is not used? Twice or even three times the silver haired narrator mentions “talking to, not preaching to” the Boomers and Xers. Faith comes by preaching the Gospel not via poopy diapers.


A Black woman says that there is an opportunity to see diversity in WELS. This is an effort to spin the diversity program in WELS – multi-culturalism, a joint program with ELCA. Guess who teaches multi-culturalism? Fuller Seminary.


The Sprecher Bertalot Company (http://www.sprecherbertalot.com/) helped in the design of the commercials, with the WELS Mass Media Committee and the Anniversary Committee. You can look up the web site for Sprecher Bertalot, but it has almost no content, only a tad more than Thoughts of Faith (http://www.tof.org/index2.htm), a site worthy of special mention. Month after month, clicking on the TOF links only yields “This will go here.”  


The video tape show a funky shot of someone dressed as Jesus, as if this is the theme of the commercials. The TV Jesus does not make an appearance. Both commercials have almost no religious content at all. I went through both commercials many times to pick up the entire script. Both are verbatim, to the best of my ability and hearing acuity.


Note that the narrator said they did research to find out what was “most effective.” He then explains that everything except the Word is effective with Boomers and Xers. I don’t see any reason to say more about the commercials. One WELS pastor asked ME about them. I told him he probably had the tape in his mail. He found it and played it at home, so his wife could see it. They were both sickened by it.


I don’t mean to pick on WELS alone, but WELS people keep sending me information.