Now is not the time to hold back. Now is not the time to shrink into a corner and do the minimum necessary in order to just survive. Now is not the time to live small. Now is not the time to lockdown our ministries, non-profits or businesses and hope we make it through to the other side. Now is not the time to lockdown our vision of possibilities and opportunities that are out there.
Now is the time to be bold and courageous. Now is the time to strategise and innovate. Now is the time to make marketing your ministry.
No matter what he was facing Jesus didn’t hide away or limit His exposure in ministry. Rather, He followed the primary principles used in effective growth strategies. He used principles such as visuals (the coin from the fish’s mouth, etc.) and stories (many, many parables). He met needs and invested in His followers so much so that they literally became “message evangelists” themselves. Jesus adhered to integrity, approachability, and authenticity. He demonstrated and modeled real service.
Take for example when Jesus went away to be by Himself because He was tired from constant interaction and the threat of the Pharisees (Matthew 14:13). But the crowds followed Him. And He felt compassion on them because He knew they would be hungry. So He put those He served ahead of Himself and He took the time to feed them, despite a lack of funds to do so or a board of directors who would approve of His methods.
Also consider the woman at the well. Jesus used the art of identifying common ground, attracting a new relationship, cultivating that relationship, meeting a need, and more. As a result, the woman “marketed” Jesus’s message as a “message evangelist” herself and “member of His tribe” and an entire town of unbelievers was reached.
Far too many non-profit organisations and churches self-restrict what they are able to do in the area of ministry simply because they do not (or will not) recognise the value marketing holds in identifying common ground between a brand and an audience, in attracting relationships, in cultivating relationships, in meeting needs, and then in replicating that process with someone else.
Marketing is not the twelfth advertisement for a brand of chips you see while watching a show. That’s advertising.
Marketing is not the person at your door with a folder full of magazines you can choose to buy. That’s sales.
Marketing is not the message in your mailbox threatening that if you don’t give today, a child somewhere somehow will die tomorrow. That’s manipulation.
Marketing is messaging.
Marketing is developing community.
Marketing is empowering believers.
Marketing is ministering.
Marketing is letting your light shine so that others may see, glorify God and want to join in to glorify Him themselves too!
Marketing is serving, and serving well—with the hope that because you did, you’ll have the opportunity and resources to serve even more tomorrow.
When you view marketing as your tool for not only investing in your supporters, church goers, listeners, and partners but also for expanding your ability to invest in more lives, you will have come to view marketing as one of the most spiritual things you could ever do.
By Nurden Cross
Cinnamon Network International Communications Lead
Acknowledgement: Inspired by the writings of Heather Hair