Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’



Authenticity and Your Brand Promise

“We are good at copying but not good at being authentic.” Those were difficult words for a pastor to say, but both he and I knew they were true. As we talked, he told me he had visited enough congregations to know how churches freely “borrowed” others’ identity.  I ran into that problem early on in my marketing career as I was asked to create something that looked exactly like someone else’s work . Even today, my company gets calls from churches that want to use one of our client’s  logo, brand identity and promises as their own. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. I believe that’s a problem way beyond churches and businesses.  We often want to copy the style of something or someone without possession any of the substance.  I know church leaders go to great lengths to look and act like  prominent Christian leaders without spending the…

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The Christian Ghetto and Social Media

“Every good idea must have a similar, but yet inferior Christian version.”  Unfortunately, I think that’s a sad reality these days. I have lost count of the times I was asked if my company, The A Group, could help a church or ministry to create a Christian version of Facebook. Seriously.  Should every church have its own alternative to Facebook? For some un-Biblical reason, we Christians find the need to abandon our culture and gather together in what I call the  “Christian Ghetto.” The Christian Ghetto is a place where you go to hang out with your Christian friends, fill up a website with Christian pictures and Christian videos of lots of happy people, bad preaching and youth camp promos. There’s not much witnessing and shedding of light in the ghetto since everyone is already convinced and the place is way too bright as is. I understand the need for…

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Why Non Christians Cannot Lead Successful Christian Businesses

Christian industry businesses run by non Christians cannot succeed. I know that’s a bold statement, but after years of watching large conglomerates buying Christian music labels, publishing houses, retail stores and failing to make it work, I’m more convinced than ever that a non-believer cannot successfully lead a Christian businesses. Here’ s why. It’s all about the message. Unlike any other industry, the Christian message is key to product development. If you don’t understand, relate, and more importantly, believe in the message, nothing else matters. If the power of the message is not there, then you no longer have a compelling reason to sell your product and you are competing in the same crowded waters as everyone else. Your focus then, has to be on price, packaging and marketing–the product becomes a mere commodity. At this level your uniqueness is gone and you have to do your best to outsmart…

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You Cannot Hate People into Heaven

“God hates gays” said on the front of the hateful bright yellow t-shirt. The girl wearing it didn’t look much older than my son. She could have been a high school student or someone in her early twenties. Two days ago as I walked by the corner where protesters of the Lady Gaga show stood on the streets of Nashville, I couldn’t help but notice the scene. For some reason this young woman was further away from the rest of the angry pack. I felt compelled to talk to her, but our exchange broke my heart. I didn’t want to shout or call attention to us and attract the rest of her angry clan, so I quietly walked up to hear and said, “My dear, God hates sin, but He Loves people. He cannot hate gay people. He died for them.” She jumped to attention as if not expecting my…

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Wearing Your Religion

He was about to give the man at the front desk a piece of his mind. He had some of the worst customer service experience in a long time, after all, these people had overcharged his credit card two months in a row. The fitness club manager was a shady character who wore warm up suits and gold chains and spoke words like “your health is the most important thing to us.”  My friend stood at the front desk getting the run around on why the charge discrepancy. As his righteous indignation grew into plain anger, and the level of his voice began to raise he suddenly stopped dead on his tracks. I stood to the side of him watching the whole exchange go down. Secretly, I was looking forward to the show down between Dickie and the smarmy manager. But it didn’t happen. Dickie, stopped talking and said, “I’ll…

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Bad, Really Bad Church Signs, Part II

For the Friday post I’m going back to a place where I know and love well and where fun material abounds: the church. How many times have you driven by a church sign that, while well intentioned, it was, let’s just say, poorly executed. These signs speak for themselves even when we wish they wouldn’t. What’s the worst church sign you can remember?

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Are Your Best Days Behind You?

I heard someone say that his best days were during his high school years. Not for me. My high school years could be described as “awkward” at best. But this exercise created a series of questions in my mind: what were my best days and why? Could they have been my college years, or my early 20’s or the productive 30’s? They all had highlights and yet I couldn’t decide even on a decade. I have struggled with answering that question until I realized that I deeply believe that my best days are still to come. I don’t know about you, but if I allow myself to think that the best life has to offer is already past, I would have a very tough time carrying on the status quo. As part of my Christian faith, I know that my days are ordained and redeemed by God. I also know…

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Thoughts on My Catalyst Conference Experience

This past week I attended Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA. Some 13 thousand Christian leaders came together for 3 days of  meetings that featured, Pastors, businessmen, marketers and thought leaders. While I wouldn’t attempt to review or summarize the conference, I decided to share with you a few random thoughts: Authenticity from Christian leaders is no longer a novelty, it’s the norm. The days of the bully pulpit are over. I’m truly optimistic about a new generation of Christian leaders whose commitment to living out their faiths encourages my own walk. They are bright, resourceful and committed. I hold out a lot of hope for them. There’s a strong movement to give away resources and tools to the Christian community at large. Generosity seems to be making its way into the evangelical church. Evangelicals have embraced the under-resourced, exploited, and downtrodden. Social justice seems no longer the banner of the…

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Can The Local Church Help Save Christian Publishing?

Traditional publishing is not what it used to be.  The digital revolution has now reached book publishers and for the first time ever, electronic titles outpaced hardcovers on Publishers everywhere are downsizing, and even long-time NYC headquarters are being moved away from the city to cheaper rent  in nearby Connecticut.  Christian publishers are not exempt from this industry-wide shake up. I’ve sat through many meetings, taught seminars and have consulted with several different Christian publishing houses. I believe the Church is going to play a key role, if the role, in keeping publishers afloat.  However, publishers better deploy the right strategy or they won’t prevail. Over 56 million people attend a Christian church  (excluding Catholics) every week in America. That’s a lot of resources needed for preachers, teachers and small group leaders,  and a lot of money for publishers and content providers. With the digital revolution flattening the distance…

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Narcissism, Social Media, Christianity and Me

I knew I was in trouble even before I began reading a very thought-provoking post on social media by Mitch Joel, Confessions of a Narcissist brought to my attention by Mike Hyatt.  The title alone was convicting. In his post, Joel unplugs from the Matrix long enough to see what we have often feared would happen: a feeding frenzy of the cult of ME. Social media has empowered narcissism to a new level and given it legs to run amuck. He poignantly writes: The true destination for most of our online endeavors really are the new media equivalent of the biblical statues that were presented as deities. These digital shrines that we create to ourselves. The post hit  a nerve with me. Intellectually I know that social or any type of media is inherently neutral. Unlike some who believe Facebook, and Twitter and whatever new social network a 19 year-old…

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