To be or not to be Christian is a conversation that has been drowned by flaming Christians who do not reason, and Non-Christians who do not care about your God and quickly move on to the next project like yours, without the flagrancy of Christian proclamation.
If you are an Entrepreneur, and a Christian like me, who aspires to embrace the limitless possibilities afforded us all you question how to market yourself in a way that keeps you authentic and truthful to your belief system, but makes you available to the masses.
In a conversation I had recently, I was overwhelmed by some of the statements that were made by a speaking coach and author who mentioned that people don’t want to read your book to find scriptures. She was referring to memoirs and testimonials of triumph. People do not want to read your personal story and be preached to. “They want hope, give them hope,” she said. She also said something like,
If they are not Christian, they do not want to feel as if they are a failure if they do not amount to your view of success.
For any spiritual person, regardless of your belief system in Allah, Mary, multiple Gods, Buddha, Jesus, or the Universe, you practice that there is hope in your higher power. When she began to repeat conversations that she has had with people who create and sign contracts for movie deals, she reiterated that they are not looking for movies that isolate your spiritual beliefs to Christianity. And it got me thinking about my own personal coaching to others.
“You are a Christian. Your business is a business to others, not your ministry.” – Ressurrection Graves
Many Christians are so excited to identify what God has put them on this earth to do, that they completely focus on giving God all of the glory in their business in a way that forces the public to accept it. You have to think about this, do you want only people like you to shop at your business? If you say yes, you are both close minded, not acting godly (because Jesus would not do that), and not an Entrepreneur (because no business mind would agree with that.)
The bible is clear that God has given us free will to choose him. In John 3:16 it says that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. We, as humans are the whosoever! He gave, but we choose. In Romans 10:9-10 it says this as well that we must believe in our hearts, and confess with our mouth that Jesus rose from the dead.
We have two call-to-actions in the above scenario. We must believe and confess. In our confession it does not say that we coerce or force our beliefs on others. In fact, without going all bible study on you, God’s desire is that we love our neighbor as we do ourselves.
Christians get a bad rap for arguing over the word of God. So, be clear that we are not going to do that here. There are many religions who have sects of their religion, just as Christians do. I am not here to give an opinion on the matter here, I just want to acknowledge that in every faith, practice, and belief system, some bright light decided to go off and do their own thing to create a better religion.
To be honest, it is the same way in business. It is the same reason that companies like Perdue, Popeyes, and KFC have put their recipes in a vault, and this process is called a Trade Secret. It means that for hundreds of years, no one but the owners will see this secret, while the recipe is used to create millions of dollars, offer hundreds of thousands of jobs, and maintain a family legacy through franchise development.
Trademarks on the other hand are registered because they are not going to be a secret. The way that we improve upon something that is registered is to present an innovative solution to what is already created. We make it better, fresh, relevant, easier to use or distribute.
As a Christian Entrepreneur it is tempting to tell the whole world what God has done for you, and while I am not discouraging your enthusiasm in your faith, I do believe that we have to be ethical in our approach. So, here are some tips that will help you to determine if you are turning away customers or clients. Remember we are talking about all faiths, and we are also talking about all races.
Tip #1: Ask Yourself If What You Are Posting Is Relevant
To be honest, I’m annoyed when I go into a Chinese establishment for food and I see Buddha everywhere. I understand that the decorations may be different culturally but, it is a turn off. I am equally turned off when I walk into a nail shop or a massage parlor, especially if I know it is a “massage parlor” which means that they are having sex with their clients and not offering professional massage therapy.
Do you have Jesus posters all over your business? Are you cursing out people in one Facebook post, and then talking about how Jesus is the Lamb of God in another? I understand if it is a personal page (not that I’m really turning my head-just closing my eyes), but if it is your business page, you may want to consider writing relevant content.
TIP#2: Is Your Business Related to Something Spiritually Related?
If you own a Christian Bookstore, or even a massage company that focuses on Christian beliefs for healing (as mine did), you may have a beautiful piece of art on the walls or something that reflects your beliefs but you should not have a sign up sheet for Jesus. It is nothing wrong with telling your clients what your business represents, but they really do not need to know who you are!
If you own a Flower Shop, take the “Jesus Is Lord” bumper sticker poster out of the window! Jesus can still be Lord without that in the window. You set the atmosphere for your business, and as long as people walk in and feel the presence of God (whether they know what they are feeling or not), they will keep coming back!
When I owned my massage company concept, we had a beautiful location in Largo, Maryland. It was the wrong location for us to get the best traffic but I hand detailed every drop of paint, artwork, furniture and layout of the facility. It was absolutely tranquil.
People would stop by not for a massage but for lunch time, saying that they had to get out of the office, and needed some peace – so they came to us! Of course, there were days that people received massages, but they came by and became familiar faces during the week because they felt what they described as the “presence of peace,” or the “presence of God.”
If your business is not directly related to your spirituality, please remove all of the tags that profess your Christianity. You are Christian, not the business! You are killing your business! Now, if God wants someone to receive salvation or to be connected to you for spiritual reasons, he is big enough to send them through the door without the sign!
How To Choose A Business Partner
As far as Christians and Entrepreneurship goes, I find that people do not make decisions with wisdom when they meet someone who is Christian or like-faith to do business with. Many times, someone will disappoint you if spirituality is the foundation for the connection. I am not saying that spirituality is irrelevant here, I am simply saying that you should have other criteria for your choice in doing business with someone.
In my experience, I have met many people who rave about being a Christian and testifying (over testifying not at the appropriate time if you ask me), and the business deal gets a yes because of something that they appreciate about the like-faith. Business decisions must be made with clarity and wisdom.
I have known many people to get their money taken in business deals, and then turn back to the church because the church was the place where they met, as a way for them to get their money back. This is not appropriate or an Entrepreneur with wisdom! It your responsibility as a steward over your home and your business to make proper decisions concerning your money.
The Soul Factory Church lead by Deron Cloud is one example that we can use today. In no way am I defending either party. I have met Deron a few times, but I do not have any personal ties to him or the Stricklands in this case.
“In a lawsuit filed against the church, the married couple, Jose and Yvette Strickland, say they lent nearly $900,000 under a verbal agreement to the Soul Factory so that it could open a satellite church in Atlanta. The church says the money was a gift.” – The Washington Post
Now, we do not know what has happened however, as a business woman or man would you give someone $900,000 under a verbal agreement because of relationship? Case Closed! I am not saying that they weren’t naive enough to do this because we often put a lot of trust and faith in pastors, but it does prove my point that your like-faith should never be motivation to avoid a written contract, EVER!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Christian out loud, sharing your faith wherever you go! However you must be understanding that people are led by your lifestyle and your example.
If you live your life in a way that others are attracted to, they will ask you about Jesus anyway. Your flashy expenses mean nothing, it is your character and your heart; determination and perseverance. When you walk in your calling and keep your business brand in the context of your personal brand, you will find that others will find your strength and abilities irresistible. The sports cars, house etc, really mean nothing if your heart isn’t right. Do not be fooled into thinking that people do not see through you.
Let go of the “Eat the Cake Anna-May,” approach, and embrace God’s love so that he can tell you how to relate to others. Always be yourself! If your aspirations are bigger than struggle, leave the cramming cake down others’ throats at home.