As a near turn-of-the-century youth group kid, I was beyond privileged to grow up with some of today’s most iconic Christian music influencers. DC Talk, Petra, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, Skillet, Audio Adrenaline, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and the late great Carmen, just to name a few.
With all those artists also came great merchandise, which inspired others during the late 80’s and 90’s to cash in on the apparel train that gave us what is known as “witness wear.” Christian t-shirts or faith shirts with messages, images, and sometimes even scriptures on them designed to witness, state one’s faith, or invoke gospel conversations — all without saying a word.
Scrolling through history (and yes, maybe even searching for some of the cheesy Christian t-shirts I personally owned), I came across these gems that might inspire some nostalgia. Maybe you’ll even throw one in your cart for old-time’s sake. 🙂
15 Christian T-shirts You Had in Youth Group (or Maybe You Still Have)
Lord’s Gym: “Bench Press This!”
I owned this beauty in the 80’s and wore it so much that it developed holes. The shirt was bold and in-your-face, telling all those who saw it what your Savior Jesus Christ did for the world. It was John 3:16 in an image, and I remember getting looks and comments when I was a kid wearing one of the most graphic Christian t-shirts of its time. The shirt is still available for purchase…and some things are just too good not to share.
MegaLife Through Prayer: To a Holy and Righteous God
This one got denied by my parents because it was a play on the popular metal band Megadeth‘s logo. (I’ll add that it’s been reported that lead singer Dave Mustaine is a born-again Christian.) This original design is so vintage it isn’t easy to find.
My Lifeguard Walks on Water
J·E·S·U·S – He’ll Be There For You
Piggybacking off the hit television show Friends as a way to announce you’re a Jesus Freak is never a bad idea. This was a knock-off of the iconic 90’s sitcom’s logo and theme song by the Rembrandts, “I’ll Be There For You.” The shirt changed one word and now tells the world that 🎶 He’ll be there for you. You can find this one available here.
Enjoy Jesus Christ
Trademark infringement — or cool religious t-shirt? You be the judge of this Coca-Cola-inspired Jesus shirt. It tells people who give it a stare that they’ll never thirst if they’re enjoying Jesus Christ. It can be purchased here.
Christ: Jesus Christ Is the Only One Who Can Quench Your Thirst
If Coca-Cola wasn’t your soda of choice, maybe you owned one of these life-bringing tees borrowing from Orange Crush’s design. This one isn’t easy to find today, but I remember catching sight of these in the wild when I was in youth group.
Catch Up With Jesus: Blessed From My Head To-Ma-Toes
Telling people to read Psalm 37:4, which tells us to “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” this tomato-tomahto is sure to catch people’s eye. Want to bottle up this gospel tee? Check it out here.
Jesus Is My Life Savior
ABREADCRUMB & FISH
The popular teenage apparel line Abercrombie & Fitch provided great inspiration for this popular Jesus story tee. Almost everyone knows the story of Jesus taking the boy’s loaves and fishes and feeding a multitude of people, one of the most popular miracles in the New Testament. When you wore this particular “witness wear” tee, you got to also proclaim to those around you that God is still in the business of working miracles. This shirt seems to have disappeared with all the snacks; I couldn’t find it anywhere.
Jesus: The Rock On Which I Stand
Rock on! I mean “the rock on which I stand,” which is what this AC/DC-style tee displays. Using Matthew 7:24-25 (which everyone who grew up attending vacation Bible School memorized), this shirt tells the world it’s wise to build your faith on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Purchase it here.
Jesus Sweet King of Kings
This one might not be as vintage as the others, but it was too good to pass up. Jesus throwing up a peace sign as He emerges from His grave might get a few inquiries from the curious. The popular YOLO (You Only Live Once) phrase is something a believer in Christ knows isn’t reality, and this shirt helps start that conversation. Boasting 1 Peter 1:3-4, this Christian t-shirt is hard to find.
My Savior Is Tougher Than Nails
If you preferred a more graphic approach, then you might’ve had one of these shirts or something similar. The blood-stained nails fit in well at a rock concert, although they’re quite mild compared to some of today’s concert shirts. The tee can still be found for purchase here.
Shamefully this is another I admit I owned and wore until it became filled with holes [or at least one that was similar]. The iconic Air Jordan logo has nothing on “Air Jesus” holding the whole world in his hand [🎵]. Yes [Napoleon Dynamite gesture] this can still be purchased and others like it here.
FedUP? Give God Control He Delivers
God’s timing is always perfect! Paraphrasing Psalm 34:19, this FedEx logo-inspired “witness wear” tells all those reading that if they’re fed up with their current situation, they can give God control because He will deliver them from their troubles. You can get this delivered after purchasing it here.
The list seems endless, and I’m sure I missed a few classic “witness wear” gems. Share your favorite Christian t-shirts in the comments.