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Witness Well

Church branding is not about its logo

Businesses use logos to help identify themselves.

Like cattle ranchers, they separate themselves from the herd with an identifying mark.

A swoosh on the side of show means quality and fashion.

Golden arches let you know what you are going to get every time.

The word “Disney” usually ensures quality family-friendly content.

Church branding is not about its logo.

It can serve an important purpose by transmitting a message to help identify yourself.

The early Christians used the image of a fish.

The cross is an identifiable symbol used by the universal Christian church.

A logo can be an illustration of a church’s mission statement to help remind members and project a vision to the community.

There is a dangerous flip side.

What communicates effectively on the inside can communicate an entirely different message to the outside.

People are savvy consumers. They can spot a logo that is dated and immediately jump to the conclusion that a church is out of touch and not worth their time.

A church logo can unwittingly deliver a conflicting message. Like a mission statement that is unfamiliar with members and needs dusting, a logo could use the same treatment by updating its design.

Church branding is more about your name

People in your community will far more readily identify with the name of your church than your logo.

For small businesses, word-of-mouth advertising means everything. They can have a beautiful logo, invest in advertising, but if they don’t deliver an outstanding product or service they are not going to last.

When people hear the name of your church, what words will come to their mind? Will the words be positive, negative, or indifferent? Will they even know you exist?

A negative or indifferent reputation will close minds and plug ears from unchurched people in your community. It’s true that the power of God’s Word can penetrate any hardened soul, but do we allow ourselves or our church to get in the way of the message. Or worse, do we refrain from delivering any message at all?

A church’s name is a powerful brand. Like any foundation, it often requires the laying of bricks one at a time. One word, one misdeed, one careless act can wipe out a wall of bricks that have painstaking built over time.

A church’s reputation is a brand that can help win an audience to proclaim the gospel. It is built brick-by-brick in the words you say, the visuals you show, and the experiences people have with you over time.

The most powerful brand for your church is your people.

We must remember that the primary objective with every church brand is transmitting a gospel message. They are not just reminders for members of who you are but can serve as starting points with your community to communicate why you exist. They are conversation starters.  Brands can be baseless if there is little connection with the community.

The human brand is the most powerful brand of a church.

They can have five distinct characteristics:

1.         Human brands believe in the power of great questions.

They are interested in getting to know people. They ask questions to help arrive at answers – instead of preaching at them.

Churches connect with their community by asking good questions.

  • They listen more then they talk about themselves.
  • They act, talk, and function like real people – unafraid to make mistakes and unashamed to own them when they do.
  • They are people who don’t have all the answers but point to the One who has already provided an answer to the one question that really matters…. will you be in heaven?

2.         Human brands understand the power of authenticity.

They humbly accept every person that walks through the doors of a church on Sunday morning as a work in progress. They understand that unchurched people in their community arrive with different starting points – not a finished product. Visitors do not arrive on Sunday morning to win a contest or be judged by outer appearances. They are arriving at church because God has sent them. They are usually looking for answers or connection during a difficult time. Their presence alone speaks louder than words.

3.         Human brands understand the power of heritage.

They know and appreciate where they have come from is as important as where they are going.

They recognize that they are standing on the shoulders of faithful giants before them who have faithfully preserved the Word and persevered during tough times.

Traditions come and go… and that’s okay. New programs, ideas, and methodologies will arrive and fade away. But heritages remain rooted and steadfast. They define who you are.

4.         Human brands rely on the power of community

They know their strengths and weaknesses. They would rather not go at it alone and willing to work with others for the sake of the gospel. Their mission is bigger than themselves.

They preserve their identity and their heritage that may disqualify themselves from partnerships that might blur what they teach. They are willing to work with the community and its leaders to help support their work. By doing so, bridges are built and networks are expanded that leads to greater opportunities to spread the gospel.

5.         Human brands know the power of empathy

They exhibit genuine interest in others. They want to know people’s stories. They think about the challenges we are facing and the fears that everybody is experiencing.

Quick to listen, the power of empathy refrains from Christian jargon or pat answers that may come across as uncaring. Instead, an emphatic hearts discover felt needs and provides specific answers from the Bible to address them.

Great brands are great people.

Your church is a name that people call you. You are a fixed anchor – a beacon of light – salt that preserves – in a community that may seem adrift in difficult times.

Now is a great time to build your brand.  People are watching and observing how your congregation will respond in this crisis.

Now is not the time to be Noah’s ark and close the hatches. I don’t think it’s raining yet. The Lord has set believer apart right now to help get the Word out.

Church brands are not about logos, but about people.

Four Ways to Start Applying Innovation to Communicate the Gospel

I love innovation. I love discovering innovative ways to proclaim the gospel. How can congregations respond in this rapidly changing world to communicate what Christ has already done for us?

Church Culture and Evangelism

The Bible tells Christians to be salt and light – influencers in a dark world. When it comes to evangelism it seems that the influence of culture is overshadowing the biblical commission. It’s important for Christians to identify that because it may be coming from an unexpected source… their church.

Praise and Proclaim Ministries launches outreach initiative in Goodyear, AZ

 

Phoenix in February is a nice place to visit especially when you come from parts of the country where winter means ice, snow, and frigid air.

Going door-to-door to proclaim the gospel dressed in a short-sleeved shirt is a nice treat when the temperatures are in the low 70’s.

Praise and Proclaim Ministries received the blessing of launching an outreach initiative at River of Life Lutheran Church in Goodyear, Arizona (azriveroflife.com) – a suburban area west of Phoenix. And the Lord blessed this wonderful effort.

The Word made flesh entrusts believers with the gospel

Before time began… was the Word.

The Word became the Light… and made his dwelling among us.

The Word remains today… so that all people may believe in him.

It is the Word we celebrate every Christmas – he is there, wrapped in cloths, and lying in the manger.

The Word made flesh entrusts believers with the gospel for the purpose of preserving and proclaiming it to the world.

God’s commission for evangelism is sandwiched between a reminder and a promise

When God calls His people to action, he typically begins and ends with a promise. He provides words of assurance that God is God and we are not. He provides words of comfort to calm our fears. He promises His presence to let us know that we are not alone.

When it comes to God’s commission for all believers to proclaim the message of the gospel – perhaps the most fearful, intimidating, and difficult task given to all believers – the words of exhortation are sandwiched between a reminder and a promise.

  1. He reminds us that He has been given all authority that He is passing on to His disciples, and,
  2. He promises all believers that when they step out in faith to share their faith — they will not be alone.

Comforted by His Word – emboldened by His promises – believers embrace the commission to share the message of what Christ has already accomplished for us on the cross.

Is anger an appropriate response when sharing God’s Word with others?

Nobody likes to hear that they are going to hell. When anger is used to pronounce this eternal reality, I don’t believe it is an appropriate response.

God’s wrath falls down on souls who reject the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Out of perfect love, it’s a final judgment against sin, but accompanied with profound sadness for the soul. During a time of grace on earth, God’s anger is typically reserved for his chosen people, not towards people who do not yet know Him.

Prophets of the Old Testament did pronounce angry judgment against the Israelite people. They had forgotten and abandoned God — the same God who had faithfully loved, cared, and provided for them. Like an abandoned spouse, the Israelites chose to divorce themselves from the one true God and fall for more appealing gods that satisfied their temporal and lustful needs. And God was having none of it.

God used these prophets to deliver messages, but they are not necessarily role models on how to share God’s Word with others.

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he certainly expressed anger. It was directed towards the outwardly religious who confessed a faith in God, but were disgracing His name and His house. Jesus even used some very colorful, unflattering names to describe their spiritual condition.

Sometimes Christians need a kick in the pants to let them know that God is aware of their actions and He is not impressed.

The reason is that God takes sin seriously. The light of the gospel is needed in a dark world. Salt is needed to express it. However, when salt loses it’s saltiness, it is to be thrown away. It’s good for nothing. Christians can easily get entangled in the weeds of life causing their fruit to dry up. The branch can eventually die causing it to be cut off and thrown into the fire. For those who confess a faith and not live it, anger is appropriate means to deliver a loving message of warning.

Note that we don’t see harshness when Jesus confronts people who don’t know or are ignorant of the truth. He tells Zacheas to get down from the tree and invites himself over to his house. He gently rebukes the Samaritan woman at the well and tells the woman caught in adultery to leave her life of sin. Jesus is more prone to engage sinners in need of the gospel versus saints who think they are spiritually healthy.

Anger doesn’t engage, but love draws people out.

When sharing God’s Word with others who do not know Christ, it’s important to build a bridge of trust and understanding. Loving and sincere words of concern can effectively share the consequences of sin to those who may be ignorant of the true message of salvation. For those who stubbornly persist in rejecting God’s message of grace, they already pronounce judgment on themselves. With a measure of sadness, we walk away shaking the dust off our feet.

Anger really doesn’t have a place to those who don’t know Christ. It seems that anger is only appropriate for those who confess Christ, but make life choices that gives evidence that they have turned their back on Him.

Reasons why God chooses to provide a miracle or not

A person can feel so isolated and alone when they are encounter suffering in this life.

An extended hand of warmth and compassion touches the soul during times of grief. Well-timed words of comfort can be absorbed like drops of rain during a time of drought. The thought that somebody cares brings welcome relief to those who feel they are marooned on a deserted island. The chances of healing may seem as remote as the island itself.

When healing does occur it seems as if it were a miracle.

When Jesus Christ encountered those who suffered from physical ailments or possessed by demons, he extended compassion by healing them. They were miracles performed, but for a very distinct purpose.

Jesus told his disciples after healing a blind man, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3)

Sometimes bad things happen to people or continue to happen so that the work of God may be displayed in their life. A miraculous healing can bring praise. Continued affliction or no healing at all can bring forth a display of hope and trust. If not this mortal life, believes the afflicted, than in heaven I will be made whole. That is faith — a miracle in of itself.

In the case of the blind man who was healed by Christ, he did not truly know who the Healer was until later. All he knew was that once he was blind from birth and now he can see.

Upon learning of this miracle, the Pharisees interrogated the man. They inquired how a sinner who was blind from birth because of his parent’s sin be healed by a man who sinned by healing on the Sabbath? “It wasn’t me,” the healed man confessed, “It was all the work of Jesus.”

Portrait of Blind Man

The healed man simply confessed to the Pharisees what he knew to be true. In doing so, we discover that the Pharisees were the ones who were truly blind. God used the healing of the blind man to confess the work of Christ.

Is this not the same thing when Christians share God’s Word with others. We share what our heart sees. We confess to what we trust to be true. The Lord then uses our unique set of circumstances to present opportunities to display the work of Christ.

We were blind, but now we see. We were lost, but now we are found. All because of what Christ already accomplished for us on the cross.

And it seems that the Lord gathers an audience when he allows difficult circumstances in our life. Connections are made. A bridge is crossed. And we are asked how can we receive such confidence in Christ our Redeemer.

Those who share God’s Word are miracle workers like the disciples. Perhaps we can’t heal the sick, or cast our evil spirits, but through the power of God’s Word we can be used by the Lord to bring life to those who are spiritually dead.

Isn’t that the greatest miracle of all?