1/4/12

Branding vs. Daily Obedience

Branding is a hot topic that sometimes leave me cold.

I read quite a few books and articles about branding last year ~ the best being Branding Faith by Phil Cooke, which explains why some churches and nonprofits impact the culture and others don't ~ and I see the benefit of branding to connect with our audience and communicate our message.

I love Cooke's closing words: "Don't give your audience what you think they want. Give them what they never dreamed possible." Those are challenging words, and I'm still considering how they might change how I do ministry. I want people to know that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26); I want to encourage them to dream big, work hard, seek God, and live Truth. But how do I communicate that?

Branding is simply about perception. What do people think of when they think of you, or your organization, or your product, or your ministry?

As I enter a New Year, thinking about vision and goals, I'm thinking, again, about branding. I wonder whether I am short-circuiting the message God is trying to communicate through my life. Perhaps my brand isn't wide enough to envelope the message. Or perhaps God is asking me to rethink and rework the brand ~ and I may need others' help to see that clearly.

One thing I do know. Obedience is more important than any brand. Obedience may even take us in a different direction from our brand. That might mean a simple branding tweak, or a complete overhaul.

Sometimes I feel like I am pulling in two directions. On the one hand, I focus on the simple, lighthearted positives of the faith ~ on joy, on hope. Writing the devotional for women, LOL with God, with Pam Farrel was an expression of that, with lots of scripture included to cheer women's hearts and give them hope.

After spending too many years judging others, and intense introspection that went beyond all God ever asks of us (resulting in depression and spiritual paralysis), beginning to focus on enjoying God and who I am in Christ was a refreshing change. Part of my enjoyment is the understanding that I don't have to take myself too seriously, because God is still working on me, and He can redeem my brokenness for His glory. I rejoice that He continues to create sharable life messages within me.

Another part of enjoying God is my new perspective on Jesus. Totally human as well as totally God, Jesus no doubt dealt with all the human emotions. Along with righteous anger and compassionate tears, I imagine Him laughing with His disciples, and that makes me smile.

This lighthearted joy-hope message is a part of who I am.

But sometimes I feel that I'm not sufficiently expressing another message God embedded in my heart ~ the need for personal and corporate revival.
I cannot escape the truth that God wants me to help women seek Him, know theological truth, and live out the Christian faith in practical, encouraging relationships.

So where is the brand in all of that? Do I even need a brand for all of that? Does it matter?
Yes, branding is important for marketing ... but does it make a difference in how I minister? Does God care?

I keep coming back to Heart Choices Today. We learn the truth, and we have choices to make. We saturate our hearts with the timeless scriptures, and we apply them in our everyday circumstances.

In other words, my brand speaks to me ... but I'm wondering how my brand speaks to others.

I believe my branding issues will get settled in God's time, but in the meantime, I am thankful that I have been "branded" by God. His image is stamped on my heart (Genesis 1:27) and my Father is transforming me into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). I belong to Him and serve Him.

I'm praying that God will help me recognize the desperate needs in the culture ~ especially the needs in women's lives ~ and that He will give me opportunities to be a part of transforming this generation. So in this new year, I simply pray:

I'm ready and willing, Lord; and I promise to obey Your voice.

3 comments:

lisa said...
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lisa said...

Very thought-provoking. I thought Phil's book well done too. Loved it and was nice to hear of branding from a Christian and ministry perspective. Enjoyed reading through your thought process and have had some of the same thoughts. I think that when we brand something we are making a big commitment. We have to be sure about our choice, and sometimes that is hard to do when we feel God is leading us down the path still--there isn't yet a big sign saying, 'Stop Here!' and put roots down. I think branding is important so we can have a message for others but it cannot be taken lightly. some people are quick to brand and then they drop their program and move on and brand something else, and they do it over and over. As a consumer it makes me less trusting of them being around long... And it makes me feel like they are sending me more of a marketing message, rather than really following God's calling. Great job on the post!

Dawn Wilson said...

Thanks, Lisa, for thinking through this issue with me. You are so right that branding sometimes comes across as simply a marketing message rather than the leading of God through a person's life. I don't want that to happen to me, so I'd appreciate your prayer (and insight as the Lord leads) as I take this journey. Blessings to you in your own ministry, Sister-Girlfriend!