Church spreading Word through rubber wristbands

Mike Griffin wears four wristbands, including one that glows in the dark. “My problem is selling them; I just give them away.” said Griffin, referring to the wristbands that are sold for $2 apiece. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

Rubber wristbands: Trendy fashion accessory or clever way to spread a message?

The slip-on bracelets gained popularity with the inception of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong’s yellow version featuring the words, “Live Strong,” which he created to raise money for individuals fighting cancer. The Susan G. Komen Foundation has a similar version in pink sold to raise funds toward battling breast cancer.

Muleshoe resident Mike Griffin said he normally wears two or three wristbands at a time on a daily basis. The 46-year-old construction worker favors bands featuring religious messages.

“I have one that says Shine His Light,” Griffin said. “It glows in the dark.” Along with his luminescent accessory, Griffin wears a simple blue rubber wristband featuring the words “Stretch Your Faith.”

Jack Stone, pastor of First Assembly of God Church in Muleshoe, developed the “Stretch Your Faith” version. The pastor said the idea came to him after hearing a message preached on faith. The Texas-raised grandfather said he originally planned to order crimson red bracelets to represent the blood Jesus shed on the cross, but eventually chose two shades of blue because the words “stood out more.” He said he also wanted to choose a color that didn’t represent a current cause.

Stone said the bracelets are serving many purposes where his congregation is concerned. The wristbands, which retail for $2 apiece, are being used to raise funds to pay off the church’s mortgage.

“We (congregation) have four years left on the note,” Stone said, “but we are hoping to pay if off sooner.”

According to Stone, the wristbands are also meant to be a reminder to the wearer to not put God in a box.

“When our back is against the wall,” Stone said. “We need to stretch our faith.”

Griffin said he wears the blue wristband on his left wrist because he is left-handed.

“It is a constant reminder to me to live my life as an example,” Griffin said, “and to have God on my mind constantly.” According to Griffin, he also uses the trendy bracelet to spread God’s word. “People ask daily about my bands,” Griffin said. “That gets me in the door to invite them to church.”

The outgoing Christian said he has given away hundreds of the wristbands.

“The message on the bracelet plants a seed,” Griffin said. “It is a constant reminder to watch your actions.”