Marketing Christianity

I attended a marking conference last week for my Real Job. It was amazing and I cannot say enough good things about Vocus, their marketing cloud suite of services, or their fantastic line up of speakers and training. It was all good – and so was the food.

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Just a sample of what I learned at the Demand Success 2013 Vocus marketing conference.

In most things patterns repeat. The pattern in marketing, as defined by repeated themes during this conference, boils down to three words: Authenticity, Connection and Helpfulness.

Still buzzing from the conference I ran those three words past my mom. She kind of snorted a little, more like a humph, and said, “A lot of Christians could use that marketing advice.”

Whoa.

This is not a twice-burned atheist with a secular agenda who sees Christians as the stumbling block to utopia. This is a woman whose core definition is her Christianity. Jesus is her personal savior, friend and guide in this life. My mother lives, breathes and walks out her faith every day. She is one of the few people I know who has earned the right to set other Christians straight (God knows she’s corrected my course more than once…)

I had been so caught up in the intended application of the conference – how to help your business thrive by creating Authentic, Helpful Connections with customers – that I completely missed the spiritual application.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candle stick; and it gives light to everyone in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

~ Jesus, Matthew 5:14-16

Let’s break that last verse down into its Authentic, Helpful and Connective parts.

Authentic: Letting your light shine

Who are you? Have you ever stopped to think that light only escapes through weakness? Lamp shades are fabric or paper, glass is fragile, and candles are the riskiest of all – so easy to extinguish with a puff of air.

Authenticity means not being afraid to let people know that you function only because Christ gives you strength. And that sometimes you struggle. And that sometimes you don’t even know why, but you’re hanging on anyway because you know that even if it never does make sense God has promised He will work everything out in the end.

Christian authenticity is admitting that no-one has all the answers and sometimes the best you can do is just be, breathe, and share a shoulder.

Helpful: Doing good works

There is a crusty old maxim in Christians circles, “he’s so heavenly minded he’s no earthly good.” These are the people who think they are doing you a favor by saying, “I’ll pray for you,” when what you really need is just $10 for gas to get you through to payday.

Don’t be that guy.

Yes. Pray. Absolutely. But don’t use prayer as an excuse to avoid being someones answer to prayer.

Connection: God in heaven

This is the reason we’re not teleported to heaven in a rainbow of Star Trek sparkles the very moment we accept Jesus as savior. We remain in this messy, painful, screwed up world to point the next person to The Reason we are able to be authentically helpful. Because we sure couldn’t do it on our own strength.

Look. I know this is scary. The people I met last week are very influential, very smart, and very secular. They are now a part of my social media circle and it’s quite possible this post will show up in their streams. The thought of pushing the “publish” button makes me feel more than a little jittery. (It’s not the caffeine – I’ve only had one cup.)

But then I think about the people who have stepped into my life, light and strength shining through their weak spots. The help I have been freely given. The God in heaven shown to me – who has Himself stepped down to lift me up. And I know I must.

This is me, authentically afraid you won’t like my message, offering the best help I can give through a blog interface, pointing to God who gives me courage to tell the truth I have come to understand.

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Comments

  1. I needed to read this today. Thank you.
    J M