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If in doubt, give credit

I read about this case on AdAge this morning. Basically, the branding company that helped JC Penny create the “Fair & Square” messaging is crying foul because JC Penny decided to do something that wasn’t fair & square. Namely, not fulfilling their contract in allowing the ad agency to make money by building and installing 1700 “Fair & Square” signs in 800 locations.

It’s poetic irony at its finest. A company trying to remake its image as a place to get a fair deal is getting sued because they didn’t give their ad agency a fair & square deal.

This has relevancy in youth ministry

I’ll never forget my first youth ministry class. In my 3rd semester at Moody Bible Institute one of our textbooks was Doug Field’s Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry. By the time the semester was over the running joke in our class was that most of the students thought that their youth pastor had invented PDYM!

As youth workers, we are notoriously good at borrowing, improving, and brazenly stealing one another’s ideas. We joke, “It’s all Kingdom property!” And in most capacities this is just fine. We lift and repurpose an idea or rework someone else’s illustration to make it our own.

But JC Penny’s case is a reminder: In an internet age where almost any fact is a Google search away, you have to be extra diligent about giving credit where credit is due. (Or paying for something instead of asking a friend to share it on Dropbox.)

One way we represent Christ to our students is to exemplify a fair & square life. Think about their lives… so much isn’t fair. Wouldn’t it be great if the place they could count on to be fair is their youth group?

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