A church in Manvel, Texas has surprised many by putting up signs and billboard that read, "Strip for Jesus." The church says it's a campaign with a spiritual message in advance of the coming Easter holiday.
What does stripping have to do with Easter? The billboards are part of a campaign by Overflow Church to spread the message among the community that they need to strip themselves of whatever is holding them down, KHOU 11 News reports.
"That word strip means to take off. It means to release," Senior Pastor Pat Williams was quoted as saying.
The words are based on Hebrews 12:1, which, in New Living Translation, reads, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."
"We're thinking about taking off maybe unforgiveness, maybe taking off jealousy or envy. Strip off every weight that tangles you up or that holds you hostage. People don't even know they're being held," Williams, known as Pastor Pat, explains.
"The OverFlow Church's mission is to provide Un-Conditional love and Un-Ending Hope. A place that's safe, embracing all walks of life and is concerned about your spiritual growth," the church website says.
The church has also asked its members and others around Houston to put up signs in their lawns, too, as the Easter holiday is near.
However, the church is aware of the ambiguity in the message. "I guess we're going to have to have some security to make sure people don't show up naked," said Pastor Williams.
The church is using the hashtag #strip4jesus to promote the campaign in the social media.
Williams "serves as spiritual advisor for many entertainer and professional athletes. His vision is very clear with one principle; to build and develop a kingdom," according to the church website.
Overflow calls itself an "innovative church," which uses "contemporary styles of music and communication to help people learn and grow."
"We are willing to evaluate our efforts and change to stay effective in helping people. We try to create a welcoming and safe environment where un-churched are less familiar with church can easily fit in and learn … The Bible is also important to us. We believe it is relevant to all areas of life and gives the guidelines for connecting with God and for living life to the fullest," the website adds.