A Eulogy to The Ice Bucket Challenge.

I couldn't escape it. The philanthropic blockbuster that was the ALS Ice Bucket challenge was everywhere this summer. Bringing in over $100 million in donations (roughly a 5,000% increase from last year), the challenge was easily one of the most profitable, and wide-spread, blitz fundraising campaigns of all time. Between July and August my newsfeed on every social media platform was inundated with people - from 5 to 85 - pouring freezing cold buckets of water on their heads. 

How did the Ice Bucket challenge catch? How did it go from being a few middle schoolers and random frat boys calling each other out on Instagram to being a national phenomena? Simply, it engaged the head and the heart. It supported a cause which connected emotionally to viewers, people of all ages want to know they are making a difference. But the genius was how simple it was to help "raise awareness." This was for everyone. It wasn't rocket-science. Literally everyone was invited in. The crazy thing though is that it dried up (pardon the pun) overnight. At least, in my networks it wasn't even a slow trickle. It just stopped overnight. Like a faucet being turned off it stopped instantly. Okay, I promise I'm done punning now. 

Most importantly though, the challenge was temporary and fleeting. If you were to ask someone now what ALS is, even those that participated in the challenge, most can't even tell you what it is. So then why did we "raise awareness"? Trends and fads are fleeting (see Bell-bottom jeans). 

What are we investing in that is eternal? How would it change the world if we engaged people's heads and hearts with the good news that they are loved by God? Even if we did it with half the urgency with which we poured ice buckets on our head, what would that look like? 

Challenge: let 3 people know they are loved this week. Whether you talk to them, or go way out of your way to show them love, do it! Let the love of Christ be what you give to others this week. 

Jeremy SchultheissComment