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Mere-Exposure Effect



In the music industry, there is something known as the mere-exposure effect. This marketing principle states that the more someone listens to (i.e., is exposed to) a song, the more he/she will learn to like it. Therefore, when a new song is released, record companies labor to get it played on radio stations, in restaurants, on commercials, in movies, etc. The more the song finds its way into the nooks and crannies of culture, the more likely it is to catch fire and become popular...and, thus, sell more copies!


Of course, the opposite is true as well...the less something is exposed, the less likely it is to become popular. You might think of this as the mere-concealment effect. Put it under a rock, ignore it, and/or pretend it doesn't exist, and you can ensure that any idea, philosophy, movement, song, book, or whatever it is will never garner a following.


In light of the mere-exposure effect, is it any wonder fewer and fewer people are giving their lives to Christ in the Western world? We've stopped talking about Christ in our schools, even vilifying Him and His followers in many of our institutions of higher education. Church attendance has plummeted at the same time extended vacationing, weekend travel ball, and Sunday community events have skyrocketed. Memorials of faith are being removed from capital buildings and court rooms, political correctness is silencing many believers, and "evangelism" has become a four-letter word as many justify their reticence to follow the Great Commission with statements such as, "I don't want to push my faith on others," "Everyone's faith is between himself/herself and God," and "It's none of my business." In other words, the Truths of God are being concealed by "progressive" culture.


What does this mean for us as Christians? It means that we must--more than ever--apply the mere-exposure effect in our lives of faith. If we want more people to attend our churches, become disciples, and find the peace, love, and joy of Christ, then we must expose them to His Truth...over and over and over again. Is this challenging? You bet it is! But popular songs don't start off popular. They garner popularity only after a great deal of "sweat equity" and exposure.

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