With my online shop, I’m learning a whole lot of things I never knew before and with everything in life, at least for me, it’s never a singular entity. Everything is so connected to something.
I’ve been learning about marketing and branding and how to sell. And before you shut me off thinking I’m going to pitch you a sale, don’t. I’m not going to do a sales pitch here. Another day perhaps, but not today. I’ve learned that it’s important how you brand yourself, your image, the things you post or not post, etc. I’m sure I’m the last person on earth to know this. Which is why this is not a blog on how to brand yourself.
On one social media feed today, I read a friend’s take on an article about attracting millennials back to church and this post I’m writing is a spin off on that. First off, I think we as Christians have it all wrong. The point is not to attract people to church. The real point that we have all missed in being so focused on counting numbers sitting within a building is that we are supposed to attract people to JESUS. Yeah, Jesus. The one we build church buildings for. The one we sing about in those buildings.
In reading the article posted by my friend, I realized that there is a correlation between what I am learning about branding and marketing in my business with the branding and marketing of churches. It’s about how to get an audience, how to build up followers, how to target and market to your audience. How to have great content and images and all that. Which many churches are doing. Is it all bad? Not if it is what is NEEDED by people.
You see, the way I understand it is that we sell products, but we SHARE the gospel. We can’t brand and market the sale of the gospel of Christ. It is not a saleable product. It was freely given but that does not mean it is cheap and invaluable. The way I see it, the gospel of Jesus Christ is living, it is not just a bunch of words on paper that we can package up to look pretty and to give great content to sermons we think people want to hear. It is the living Word, it is Jesus Christ. The whole truth. We can’t package the happy, sweet, positive parts and discard the rest. We can’t brand and market it with a nice logo so that people will “buy” into the pretty packaging and “buy” into hanging out at this cool building where everyone is singing these cool songs.
Pretty packaging does not last.
What lasts is the truth. Not the truth of some gossip being passed around. But the truth of the gospel of Christ. The living Word in all its entirety. The good, the bad and the ugly. Oh yeah, there are ugly parts in there. And you know why, because of these things called repentance and redemption. The bad parts are in there because of sin. Yes, horrible word that. But that is the truth of what our condition was before Christ. And there is that other uncomfortable word called obedience. You can’t pretty package that up with a neat bow. It is nitty, gritty and bloody.
Because the truth is Jesus had to die for us. Blood and gore. Ugly scene of death. Pain. Destruction. And we cannot gloss over any of it to spare the sensibilities of some people.
There might come a time wherein we might be tested and persecuted for our faith in Christ. If we do not attract people to Jesus and give them a SOLID foundation of the Word on which to root themselves in, when the storms and tornados of persecution come, they will have no foundation on which to hold onto. We cannot offer glitz and pretty packaging with the hopes that it will draw people in and then somehow, somewhere, we will slide in the nitty, gritty and bloody. If they came for the glitz in the first place, why would they want nitty? They just want glitz. That’s what they were attracted to. That’s what was offered in the first place.
But glitz doesn’t last. Glitz is not gold and when people realize they are still empty and are still depressed, still carry hurts from the past, even though they are plugged into church and all that it entails, they will leave for other things they think will help them. We can’t market glitz and then try to offer the unglitzy real item. Don’t invite people to come for the cool events, social atmosphere, great music without telling them about the main guy. You can’t sell people Jesus on false pretenses. People see right through that; maybe not at the beginning, but eventually.
We need to SHARE the gospel. Not sell it. Not by offering a “freebie” to hook people in and then make them listen to the gospel like a time share sales pitch. (This is another story itself). Sharing means we get authentic with people. Through our lifestyle. Through cultivating real friendships with people, no strings attached. Through spending time laughing and crying with people. By living the Word ourselves so that it can come forth through us genuinely through words and actions because it is so much a part of us that people can see it. And by being there when they need a solution to their problems, so the Word can go forth to counsel, to mentor, to disciple, to coach, to teach, to heal and to give hope. We, the followers of Jesus Christ are the church. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And Jesus is the main man, the main attraction. And we don’t need to make Him a brand nor market Him covered in pretty packaging and glitz.
He is enough as He is.
This is just my two bits.