I had heard rumors about it…I've seen the effects of it…I even knew it was coming, but I wasn't prepared.
Yep it's the American Girl store.
Wall to wall dolls floating in sea of dresses, outfits, proportionally sized dogs, doll hospitals, hair salons with adult stylists, and aisle after aisle of passed out father's overwhelmed by the experience.
It's an experience because it isn't just a normal day at a normal store getting a normal doll. No, no, no. You see, American Girl develops a whole world for you to enter into with your doll.
Each year they create a new doll and cast a young girl that looks just like her to bring the doll to life. You can buy a DVD about the dolls. You can have tea with your dolls. You can get clothes for you to match your doll. You can even get glamour shots with your doll for a Christmas card. For crying out loud, even the bathroom stalls have holders for the dolls so you don't accidentally dunk them!
Even the shelving of the products was thought out since they are at two different heights for two types of people; the parents with the green and the little girls with needs.
All this marketing genius is for a doll that will most likely be put in a Rubbermaid container after a few months with the other $5 toys. But it works and has made getting a doll fun and down to the level of the kids.
I wonder if we as Christians could learn something from this type of approach?
I mean, I wonder if we do a good enough job bringing the Gospel down to the level of the people we are talking to or even interacting with on a daily basis?
Now, I'm not saying we should create a store like American Girl to talk to people who are interested in Christianity, but you'd have to think the Noah's Ark section of the store would be pretty sick (FYI, sick = cool).
However, there may be something to be said about tailoring the way we talk with people about God that is at their personal level which may be more effective. Instead of trying to impress ourselves as we talk at them about all that we know, maybe we should start by asking what they know and start there?
For instance, I'm certain the lady that styles hair at the store knows full well she is styling doll hair and not human hair. I'm sure she could get paid way more if it were a human in the chair, but she knows that her role in the experience is for that little girl beaming from ear to ear at the counter in front of her. At that moment it isn't about her needs as an adult, but about the needs of the little girl. When we truly want to share our faith with someone, we need to remember it is about the needs of the person we are talking to and not ours.
Who cares if you’re the CEO of the company and are talking to a floor worker at lunch about the church you go to? Who cares if a mom takes her son out paintballing to talk about having Christ-like character? Who cares if you take your wife shopping just to spend time talking about life and Jesus? So what if you look a little foolish!?
I'm telling you (and me) that we should care way less about how we look or feel and more about how the other person feels about Christ.
At its core it breaks down this way: If I look foolish for a moment, but the person accepts Christ would I care? Of course not!
I just think all of us could spend more time learning from American Girl's approach and less time with our small group of Christian friends that get together to talk about how much we all have it together. We need those moments of sharpening and encouraging, but it doesn't do any good if we don't pop the Christian bubble and get out and impact our world. Believe me…people are dying to know way more about a Savior, and not one that will get put in a box in the garage someday.