I’ve noticed lately that there’s not much in the way of business advice for Christian business owners online. This is especially true when it comes to marketing and sales. The closest sources I’ve found to what I was looking for have been mere justifications for what the sales people are doing. There is a gaping hole in the spot where God centered advertising should have been.
I understand that many people use verses like Proverbs 16:2 to justify taking things from the world and using them in a Christian context. This certainly works for music. Church musicians have taken the music of the world and changed the lyrics, ONLY the lyrics, to turn it into something that praises God.
However, I do not believe this works with everything in our lives. A blatant example would be someone who commits prostitution for God. This doesn’t work the same way as the music does. Prostitution is a sin and God desires obedience before sacrifice. Committing such a sin for Him is disobedience to His word.
Well, the same is true for advertizing, marketing and sales. I do not believe we can use the sales techniques of this world because I believe they are all based on the fruits of the flesh. Today’s sales techniques encourage others to act upon their flesh nature and to sin. If we use this kind of advertizing, then we are guilty of the sin of leading them to sin.
I wrestled with this for a few months before I submitted it to God and asked the Holy Spirit what He wanted me to do. I tried to find an answer to this seemingly complex problem. How can we, as Christians, compete with businesses who use these proven strategies of appealing to the flesh nature of man to get the upper hand? It is a competitive market and I struggled with the question, what can we do to get the edge over them? Certainly, God wants God centered businesses to thrive over businesses that turn their backs on Him. But how do we sell ourselves without falling into those same practices?
The answer is a simple one. After I realized I was trying to do it all myself again, I submitted this to God and asked the Holy Spirit how it should be done. I don’t know yet how to implement His answer, but when it comes time to do so, I will pray for guidance again.
The Holy Spirit told me that every ad, every piece of marketing we release, should bless the people who read it in some way. It’s that simple.
Like I said, I don’t know how we will do that yet, but the answer resonates with me. I feel God’s peace within me when I look at our advertizing this way. If the objective is to bless people, then I don’t get that same unsettled spirit I used to get when I consider doing things the traditional way, the world’s way.
I will write about this again after we do what the Holy Spirit told us to do. I think it would be a great testimony to write these things and share them with you so the world will know that there is another way.
The previous half of this post was written at least a year ago. Pearl and I have been looking for ways to bless people through the business ever since. This is not as simple and straight forward of a task as it may seem. Blessing people doesn’t always mean just giving them whatever they want.
I was thinking about this recently in the context of buying gifts for people. Pearl and I really like to bless people with gifts, but there are certain gifts that aren’t really blessings. It’s common for people to give bottles of liquor as gifts, but that sort of gift is not a blessing, it’s a curse. Giving a gift of liquor makes us enablers. It sends a clear message that we think drinking alcohol is a good thing. When considering what gifts to buy people, bottles of liquor cannot be on the list.
There is also another issue of what happens when you bless someone in a way that makes someone else substantially less blessed. For example, I would love to give free lessons to all my students, but doing so would force me to find another source of income and as a result cause the quality of my teaching to suffer severely. I would much rather charge a decent rate and bless the students with high quality lessons than to give away a bunch of substandard freebees.
Another example is actually a more common issue that we deal with on a regular basis. I would love to give free makeup lessons to everyone who misses no matter when the canceled or for whatever reason the canceled. But that would cause other students to go without lessons by locking up precious hours of the week in our schedule. If we don’t know about an absence at least 24 hours in advance, that hour is wasted. Not only can we not place another student in that spot, but it also prevents us from filling that time with other business plans.
You see, blessing people isn’t always so straight forward. We don’t want to bless just one or two of our students and let the rest suffer for it. We want to bless ALL of them. So we have learned over the years that the only way we can do that is to stand firm on our policies. It’s ironic because it makes us look like we are being mean and that we are doing everything we can to NOT to bless people. When we stand firm on our policies, some people think we are being unreasonable jerks. But when we stick to the structure that has already been implemented, it gives us the room in our schedule and the resources to do good things for ALL of our students. That’s what matters to us.
We have many things we are doing to bless people that I don’t have time to discuss here, but I thought this would be a good topic to add here, at the beginning of this blog’s existence. After all, part of the purpose of this blog is to advertise and we want to bless YOU with the content we are sharing. That is our advertising concept.