Nike was a struggling company before it’s iconic slogan, “Just do it!” was adopted. Most people don’t know that the slogan was inspired by the 1970s famous killer Gary Gilmore. Gary was executed by Utah state and was asked if he had any final words. He said, “Let’s do this.” Dan Wieden, founder of an ad agency, was from the same town as Gilmore. He adapted Gilmore’s phrase to “Just do it” and presented it to Nike in 1988. The slogan saw instant success and catapulted the company to an over 1,000% increase in sales.
Obviously it was the message, and not the origin, that inspired people. It’s only three words but the slogan was brilliantly coupled with star athletes and inspired ordinary people to go out and do extraordinary things. Thirty-three years after the slogan was introduced, Nike still enjoys global success and has stood the test of time. Last year Nike’s revenue was $37.4 billion. The simplicity of the messaging is what has worked well with Nike. When messages are too broad, too wordy, or too ambiguous, it leaves people unmotivated or confused.
Jesus’ final words can be summed up into a very clear message: Go make disciples. It’s a message that inspired his disciples to do great things for the kingdom of God. In Acts 1 Jesus ascended into heaven right before his disciples’ very eyes. His message to “Go make disciples” was reinforced at his ascension: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 ESV).
As the disciples stood there, staring at the place where Jesus had just stood, two angels reminded them of their mission to go make disciples: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?” (vs. 11). They went to Jerusalem after the ascension and the 11 apostles were with the Galilean women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. They were devoted to prayer and very shortly after appointed a twelfth apostle. From there, they began accomplishing the charge to “Go make disciples.” The church began to grow because there was a very focused charge to get to work!