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Last updated November 24.

July 9, 2007 issue

Putting on the gospel

Kansas pastors start T-shirt ministry with designs from silly to serious

By Western District Conference

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. — Can evangelism be done with T-shirts? Doug Krehbiel and Alan Stucky hope so.

Kansas youth pastor Alan Stucky shows one of his T-shirts: “The Dirk Willems Ice Hockey Team.”

Kansas youth pastor Alan Stucky shows one of his T-shirts: “The Dirk Willems Ice Hockey Team.”

These two Western District Conference youth pastors have joined forces to start a ministry with T-shirts as the focal point.

Their venture is showcased at Mennoshirts.com, which sells T-shirts with Anabaptist themes. The shirts range from silly to serious, but all are designed to help people show their Anabaptist roots and share their faith in a new way.

Mennoshirts.com had its unintentional conception when both pastors found their youth groups interested in Anabaptist history.

“It was kind of a fluke,” Stucky said. “We were talking at a youth pastors meeting and realized that both of our youth groups had created their own Anabaptist themed T-shirts and that the kids were excited about them.”

After finding surprising interest in the original shirts — one with a limerick and a picture of church reformer Menno Simons, and the other a whimsical portrayal of Anabaptist martyr Dirk Willems — from both adults and youth, the two youth pastors were inspired and ended up with 12 designs.

The shirts range from the Menno Simons quote, “The enlightened do not go to war,” to a picture of Menno Simons holding a mandolin with the caption, “Mando Simons.”

Other shirts include the full title of the Martyrs Mirror and another with a quilt pattern that reads, “Blessed are the Piece-Makers.”

Mennoshirts.com attempts to give a fresh take on Mennonite history and theology, to promote the work and witness of Mennonites and to present the full gospel of Jesus, including peacemaking and service.

In addition to the T-shirts, those exploring the Web site will also find a brief description of the history of Anabaptists as well as a links page that will take them to the Web sites of Mennonite colleges and seminaries, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service and other church-related organizations.

“It’s about a lot more than the shirts,” Krehbiel said. “We see this project as an outreach ministry. The shirts are just a means to draw folks in.”

Half of the profits will go to Western District Conference youth ministry. The other half will help with Stucky’s tuition at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., this fall.

Krehbiel is conference youth minister for Western District and youth pastor at Tabor Mennonite Church, rural Goessel. Stucky is youth pastor at Buhler Mennonite Church. They hope to create more T-shirt designs and look for ways to improve their online ministry.

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