We’ve all seen the guy standing beside the road holding up a sign promoting a nearby business. He might be dressed in a costume or normal clothing. He might be standing still or dancing to his iPod. He might be holding the sign steady or twirling it around. This type of advertising has become very popular with small business owners because it’s so inexpensive (compared to other types of advertising) and because it targets people who actually drive past your address.
So my associate, Mike Black, and I were driving in Kissimmee the other day when we passed a guy holding up a sign for a massage business. How can I say this delicately? He looked more like an MMA combatant than a masseuse…like someone who could kill you with his bare hands. Mike asked, “Would you get a massage from that guy?”
It was a rhetorical question.
Of course, there was also the fact that the sign was hand-lettered and looked like a first grader had done the honors. It was barely legible.
My prediction: that business’s days are numbered.
When it comes to promotion, effort is not enough. You also need to think about the quality of your presentation. It doesn’t matter if you’re promoting a business or the gospel. You never want people to see or hear your presentation and then spend the next several minutes talking about how unappealing it was.
I’ve met Christians who were terrible advertisements for Christianity. They were so in-your-face, so mouthy, or, to be blunt, so weird that I walked away thinking that if I wasn’t already a Christian, an encounter like that would make me never want to become one.
I’m convinced that the key to promoting the gospel effectively is to not try too hard. That’s counterintuitive, I know. But hear me out.
Jesus told us simply to let our good deeds shine. (Matthew 5:16) He didn’t tell us to confront and argue with people. He didn’t tell us to be judgmental and condescending and sarcastic. Honestly, some of the Facebook posts that I see Christians putting up are extremely insulting toward people who hold a different world view. I assume such posts are intended to take a strong stand for the faith, but there is a mean-spirited tone to a lot of them. It’s no mystery to me why so many people want nothing to do with us.
We all need to take a step back and reflect on how we’re presenting our faith to the world. Jesus said people would know we are Christians by our love. (John 13:35) Sometimes love is the thing that gets lost in all our puffed up pontificating.
For further reflection read Romans 13:8, 1 Corinthians 13, and 1 John 4:8.