Many of you remember a few months ago when we started handing out pens that had “Central Christian Church” printed on them along with the address of the church. The idea behind it was to give out the pens to friends, family, and others that we come in contact with to get the church’s name out in the community. We still have a bunch of pens left, so if you need more to hand out, please let me know, but that really is not my point in this article. We ordered the pens from a company that specializes in advertising through things like pens, notepads and various other small gifts like that.
Since we made the initial order, the company has sent numerous samples of items they are trying to get us to purchase with the church name on them. Most of them are not cost effective for us, so nothing has happened since the pens. Another sample came in the mail just earlier this week, and I got a really good hard laugh out of this one. I opened the envelope, and saw, with “Central Christian Church” printed prominently on the product, a “deluxe bottle opener with cork screw”. This is something that you would easily see in a bar, but that I just could not see a church giving away in the community.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there are reasons for a bottle opener, whether you drink alcohol or not, but it isn’t something that I would ever expect any church to give away. My point is this; this company forgot something very important in sales (and in sharing your faith with others). They did not keep their audience in mind when they created this sample (at their own expense) and sent it to churches. I’m guessing grocery stores, bars, and other similar businesses would have been more receptive to something like this, and possibly even purchased some of the bottle openers to give away.
Here is the bigger point I want to make. We are in the middle of a sermon series right now looking at living a life on mission. That mission is sharing Jesus with other people, as much as possible. This past week, we talked about connecting with others, building relationships with them. In other words, getting to know someone before we share our faith. That’s what we can learn from this company not understanding their potential customers.
We have to know our audience before we know how to share our faith. The message of Jesus and God’s love does not change. But how we share that can change depending on who we are talking to. Jesus was great at knowing His audience before He shared with them. He taught mainly in parables, or stories, and they hit on subjects that would have been very familiar to those that were there to listen to Him.
Paul even did this. He would start at different subject areas depending on whether he was talking to fellow Jews, or if he was talking to mainly Gentiles. All we are asking each other to do in this is to live a life on mission of moving people toward Jesus. Get to know others that don’t know Him yet, build a relationship with them, and once you know your audience, tell your story of what God has done in your own life. Let’s get on mission!