I have a confession. I hate advertising myself. I hate it a lot. I hate it more than day old coffee with creamer in it.
Advertising is defined as:
“[A]n audio or visual form of marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.” “It is differentiated from personal selling in that the message is nonpersonal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual.”1)Source: Wikipedia
Recently, I have been wrestling with the idea of advertising as I have began to search for my next vocational adventure. God is calling–I just have to find out where.
I began contemplating the necessity of advertising myself. Once upon a time I actually did digital advertising for a company where I used to work. I am familiar with the pros of advertising. It gets a message out.
Our culture tells us that we must advertise ourselves to be heard. If you interact with culture at all then you are likely bombarded with advertisements. Actors selling real products crafted to convince us that we are not whole unless we own whatever the product is that is being advertised before us.
So I was faced with a dilemma. Should I advertise myself? Should I advertise my ministry skills in the hopes of landing a position?
I reject this attitude.
Advertising may be truly necessarily if all we really are is a collection of circumstances, experiences, and accomplishments. This view fails to see us as complex, real people. If we really are merely a product, service, or idea that can be commoditized and sold then we should advertise ourselves. Yet if we are something more than we should reject turning ourselves into a product to be consumed.
God tells us that we are real persons made in his image (Genesis 1:26-27) and those of us that profess to be Christians should be countercultural (Romans 12:1-3). Instead of merely advertising oneself, it would be better to take an evangelisticmodel of spreading a message greater than oneself that also includes oneself (Romans 10:15). The word evangelist comes from the Greek root “evangel”. The idea of evangel is to share good news.
There is nothing wrong with sharing with people who want to know your work ethic, especially when you apply for a job. However, instead of merely advertising your skills, take an evangelistic position. It allows you to tell some good news about what you have done but it also allows you to explain how it fits in the wider context of what Christ is doing in your life. It is wisdom to share that you are more than an extraction of your abilities and services.
Being your own chief advertiser is more about exalting yourself while being an evangelist is more about exalting God working through you.
Advertising says: “I’m a pastor with 14 years pastoral ministry experience including families and children, lead/senior, planting, revitalization, education/small groups, and youth.”
Evangelism says: “I’m a pastor used for 14 years to share the Gospel of Jesus in a variety of ways.”
Advertising says: “Hire me because I’m more awesome than candidate X.”
Evangelism says: “Hire me if this fits God’s plans, for me as an individual, and you representing your organization.”
Advertising is about the end goal. Buy something. In this case, buy me for your organization. Evangelism is about a relationship. I choose a relationship. How about you?
I reject advertising. I choose instead to be an evangelist about how God is working through me. Want to know more? Check out my Ministry Resume. Here is my Personal Information Form (PIF) for any churches that may be interested.
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