The Church’s Job: To Declare God’s Praises

St. Peter says that Jesus’s people should “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). That means we are in advertising. Our calling is to announce to everyone the great things about God. We tell people who’ve never heard about God. Tell people who stopped listening. Tell people who don’t believe a word of it. Tell people who are dead set against God, and we tell them in such a way that they become interested. How do we do that?

We must use words to declare the praises of God – that is, to tell people what God has done and how he has changed our lives for the better. Of course, our lives really do need to be better for this to work. If we don’t believe it, no one else will either. It can’t be all talk: there has to be a life to back it up.

It is a life of love. We love Jesus and think the world of him. It is a grateful life. We are thankful that God made us as he did. It is a confident life. We genuinely trust God, even when things are hard; especially when things are hard.

These things may seem like background stuff, and maybe they are, but they are crucial. Stores and advertisers learned a long time ago that combining the right sensory mix of music, colors, and scents at Christmas time (all background stuff, right) helps shoppers feel more positively about shopping and spending money. People are usually not consciously aware of these things, but they make a different. Just so, they may not be consciously aware that we love Jesus, are grateful for our lives, and genuinely trust God. But those things make a difference.

If we are going to speak to people, we will need to get their attention. Advertisers know this. Research in the science of attention suggests that an advertiser has 6.5 seconds to capture the consumer’s attention and motivate them to act. If it takes longer than that, it probably won’t happen.[1]

How do we get people’s attention so that they actually listen to what we have to say? We get their attention with our actions. Our actions earn us the right to speak about God. Peter outlines five life areas where our actions prepare people to hear our praises: personal life (1 Peter 2:11), social life (1 Peter 2:12), citizen’s life (1 Peter 2:13-17), work life (1 Peter 2:18-25, and married life (1 Peter 3:1-7).


[1] Cathy Davidson, Now You See It (Penguin Books, 2012), page 24.

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