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Thousands of Christians, from business professionals in three-piece suits to Mohawk-coifed teenagers, are wearing WWJD—"What Would Jesus Do?"—bracelets.

Greg Stauffer, a youth minister at Kentwood Christian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, finds the cloth bracelet helps with self-control while driving. "When an obnoxious driver cuts me off in traffic, that's when I'm most challenged to think about my actions," he says.

"The bracelets are a reminder that you should live your life as Jesus did," says Mike Freestone, director of Christian markets with Lesco Corporation in Holland, Michigan. "People wear them to keep a check on their lives and to witness to others."

The fad started in 1989 when Janie Tinklenberg, former youth leader at Calvary Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, studied Charles Sheldon's 1896 novel, In His Steps, with her youth group. In the novel, parishioners preface every thought and action with "What would Jesus do?"

Tinklenberg, with Freestone's help, came up with the bracelet concept as a tangible reminder for her class.

Family Christian Stores began selling them last fall. "The bracelets have caught the evangelical imagination," says Mike Hupp, senior buyer for the chain. "I've never seen anything like it in my 25 years in the business." Freestone expects 3 million bracelets to be sold this year. Family Christian Stores is selling 57,000 bracelets a week, Hupp says. They come in eight colors and sell for $1.50 each. Ancillary products include WWJD necklaces, key chains, coffee mugs, and even "witness rocks."

This month, ForeFront Records is releasing a "WWJD" compact disc featuring Big Tent Revival and other artists, and Zondervan is releasing book and Bible products, including the WWJD Interactive ...

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November 17, 1997

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