Ministry Marketing

I am terrible at self-marketing. This is unfortunate since I dream of helping through writing, coaching and consulting others who lead churches and children’s ministries. I want to help folks who, like me, struggle through the daily responsibilities of leadership decisions, pastoral joys and heartaches, and missional living.

But, I am too self-deprecating (see? there I go again!) and loathe to toot my own horn (is self-marketing tooting my own horn, or is it simply making others aware of my readiness and capacity to encourage them?). I understand the value of branding although I am clueless in technical terms of how to do it. And I intuitively practice exponential networking, plus navigating multiple cultural grids to connect with people. Yet my reticence to do what is necessary to build a platform ensures continued anonymity.

Maybe it is easier to remain fairly anonymous. But it does not help those I desire to encourage.

What are your thoughts? How do you reconcile the necessities of marketing and the need to remain humble before God? Are they mutually exclusive or can branding be accomplished in a way that honors Christ and encourages the target audience?

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4 thoughts on “Ministry Marketing

  1. I’m more than a bit out of my depth here, but from a “layman’s” perspective, I would think that the most important aspect of one’s personal brand is authenticity.

    Some might encourage one to stretch your brand just a little bit, but I think that falls outside the strict definition of honesty. That said, I think presenting one’s desire to assist others in leadership and missions with their responsibilities and goals in a way that is attractive is important too.

    So what is attractive? I think to me, what is most attractive is the simple, consistent demonstration of the wisdom of God’s word and its influence on the minds, hearts and strategies of those who endeavor to act for the Lord.

    If what you have to offer folks is based solely on personal experience, your “brand” becomes just another one of however many millions come up in a google search, but if your experience comes from what you have learned through your education, your experience and is founded on sound Biblical doctrine, then you have a “product” that people not only want (even if they don’t know so) but what they really need.

    What is your motivation? You stated that you “desire to encourage” others. 3 John finds the apostle stating that he had “no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” Having read your blog for several years now, I have no doubt that you derive joy from this same goal by encouraging others to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Should one market that? I think so. Absolutely. How does one marker that? Once again, I am out of my depth, but I believe that to encourage and equip others to “walk in the truth” of Jesus Christ in their godly pursuits is something that has to be incorporated “out front” in your brand.

    You’re really smart. I don’t know about you personally, but I know that sometimes really smart people have had experiences that cause them to tone down on “tooting” their “own horn”, but it really isn’t your horn you would be tooting, is it? I think there ought to be a way to toot Jesus’ horn as you make your brand, walking along with Him. I think if people see that, they will not be put off.

    I know a wonderful pastor who once told me that when he felt called to the ministry he went in prayer to God saying that he wasn’t qualified to teach people. What he believed the Lord gave him at that point was a question; “Who ever said that you were qualified?”

    I believe what makes a Christian “brand” valid is the One who branded him. You have the validation, you just need to realize that your “personal brand” has value. Believe me. It does. Toot the horn.

    Now that I have said nothing much, blessings :)

  2. Thank you for the comment David. As always, you are an encourager and I appreciate that about you.

    I was raised with the value of not exalting of myself, but to let others advocate for me if they deem it appropriate. The Scripture says, Proverbs 27:2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. Self-marketing seems to fly in the face of this text, especially when considered in light of Romans 12:3, which warns about thinking too highly of ourselves.

    So for me, it is not a matter of bashfulness or misplaced angst. It really cuts deeper to what it means to be an obedient disciple of Jesus Christ, and I know you affirm and understand this. I like how you frame the the following:

    I believe what makes a Christian “brand” valid is the One who branded him. You have the validation, you just need to realize that your “personal brand” has value. Believe me. It does. Toot the horn.

    It gives me something to chew on as I move forward.

  3. I know this is an old post, but I am just reading it. I struggle with the same thing Glen. The last thing I would want is for someone to think I am being prideful, so I tend to not ‘promote’ myself either. I have a hard time finding that line between a genuine desire to help based on my experience and ‘tooting my own horn’ as you have described. Have you had any luck in navigating that path?

  4. Ron, in the early going I did. However, in the past few years I diverged, essentially halting any self-marketing because I realized I needed to figure out what God wanted me to do moving forward. I’m kind if in a soon, but not yet stage. My email to you explains more about why this is so.

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