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Monday, March 26, 2007

How's your advertising?

I live in the Buckeye State. Not only do I live in the Buckeye State, but I live in the center of the state, in the midst of Ohio State country, and the Buckeyes from OSU rule the land. If you've never seen a buckeye, you're not missing much. These little things are basically nuts, or maybe they're a fruit, who knows. But when you're talking about them in regard to football people around here just go crazy. Jason and I, being a transplanted Floridian and transplanted Northerner, respectively, don't quite understand this feeling. It is pretty overwhelming to live right in the thick of it!

So, needless to say, if your business has the word "Buckeye" in it, you've got a pretty good chance of being successful simply because you're in the right neighborhood for it. There are two pages in the phone book dedicated to companies with "Buckeye" in the name. If you were to take the name "Buckeye Plumbing" to San Francisco, it wouldn't have any elevated chance of tapping in to some undercurrent of mania that it would here in Ohio. It is knowing your target audience that matters; you need to advertise appropriately.

Jesus knew just who his target audience was. Did you ever stop to think of what Jesus would have been like had his primary audience been the Pharisees and the lawmakers of the day? Would he have dressed in expensive robes, spoken in theologically intellectual terms, and been seen in all the important places in order to get through to them? If he were a good businessman, he sure would have. He would have changed them from the inside out.

What if his target audience was the army of the Roman empire? Would he have showed brute strength to get their attention, and bravely fought alongside them to contribute his military prowess? To get his message across, of course he would have. He would have met them where they were. That's what he taught his disciples- and Paul and Peter especially learned this well.

Instead, however, Jesus took his message of hope and salvation to the sinners and outcasts. After all, it's the sick that need a doctor, not the healthy, as Jesus himself said. His audience was filled with the everyday ragamuffins who didn't have the clout, wealth, pride and position necessary to demand attention from those in power. He spoke in stories, parables that resonated with the people with whom he spent his time. He shared meals with them, mourned with them, laughed with them, basically lived an everyday life with them, so that they would relate to him and understand that he was one of them- a leader, to be sure, but still one of them. He lived without material possessions to minister to those that had nothing.

Jesus knew how to advertise his product. And he was that product.

So today, in my life, do I know my audience? When I am living out the gospel and witnessing to those around me, can they relate to me? If I'm with moms, do I show that I'm down in the trenches too, slugging it out day by day while keeping my knees to the carpet and my eyes on the cross? If I'm with students at the college where my husband works, do I show them that I remember what it's like to be busy college kids trying to find my way in the world? Do I point them toward the one that can give them lasting peace and contentment as they struggle in a world that values them only for what they can do and not who they are?

Godly advertising is about being yourself, but being the self that the people around you can understand.

As we live side by side with the people in our lives, it's important to know how to advertise Jesus to those around us. We never should change our tune but it's important to change the instruments every once in a while. Meet them where they are. Speak their language.

And if that means talking about the Buckeyes to witness to your neighbors? So be it.

9 Comments:

Blogger Elise said...

I knew this was you without scrolling down! :)
Reading about who Jesus *could have been* and who He chose to be, just makes me love Him all the more.
Your picture of knowing our audience was crystal clear, Christine. I now know exactly what I need to do to ensure that I am being godly, at the same time as I am aware of my surroundings. Thank you so much!
Love you!

March 25, 2007 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Thank you so very much for this, bless you.

March 25, 2007 at 10:30 PM  
Anonymous eph2810 said...

Christine, thank you so much for your words this morning.
Sometimes we come across that we are better than the ones that don't know Him yet. We are still sinners, but forgiven. We need to always remember that.

Blessings to your day and always.

March 26, 2007 at 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

Christine,

Jesus who came to set the captives free... I pray we never live in a Christian bubble so that the current day captives can see the real Jesus who came to set us free.

March 26, 2007 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Christine,

Lovely post I like it when you said, "being the self that the people around you can understand."

The different missionaries can reach different people by their backgrounds and experience.

Blessings.

March 26, 2007 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

That was insightful Christine. It makes me want to get into the trenches with those I hope to reach. I like this line, "We never should change our tune but it's important to change the instruments every once in a while." Great line!

March 26, 2007 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Great thoughts Christine..

My attempt at relevancy has been to learn to text message my teenager girls at church...It's been a struggle, but i've almost lrnd 2 abrve8 da rite way. :))

March 26, 2007 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Jen Holland said...

Ths was a great message! And as a true Buckeye it was fun to read as well!!

I struggle with just HOW to "advertise Jesus" everyday....I really enjoyed reading this!

March 27, 2007 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

this is such a unique view. I loved it.

March 28, 2007 at 2:17 PM  

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