Tuesday Re-mix –
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
I will confess that, when it comes to my ministry, I have struggled over the years with the concept of “marketing”. I was mostly comfortable leaving that up to God, Who took Five Principles of Unity all over the world and led us to publish it in four different languages in multiple countries without any kind of marketing plan whatsoever. Still, I do understand that marketing is important. It is why I have tried to surround myself with people who understand marketing much better than I. I also must boast that I have come a long way in my own understanding of it, and how important it is that we take some responsibility for getting our message out there and for how we say it. In fact, I would say that I have made some remarkable progress in terms of accepting “marketing and communications” as an everyday part of what I do…so much so, that I actually give a little “marketing” advice now and again to others who are just getting started with ministries of their own.
So you can imagine my dismay with how God chose to roll out the initial ad campaign announcing Jesus’ birth. Let’s just say I would not have done it that way.
Again, I am no marketing expert. But if I were responsible for getting that very important announcement out there with some hopes of it “going viral” over time (even before the internet), I am certain I would not have started with shepherds. Neither would you.
Shepherds were guys who did not spend a great deal of time around people. They were not educated, not articulate, and not terribly creative. They fought wild animals (lions and tigers and bears, etc.). Probably didn’t talk much. They were not what you would call “social networkers”. In that culture, if a shepherd came up to you and said anything to you at all it would be, well, weird. But if he said anything meaningful to you about anything other than animals, you probably wouldn’t believe he knew what he was talking about. He would have zero credibility. Bottom line, when it comes time to choose a spokesperson for a message about the Savior of the world, shepherds would not even be on a marketing professional’s radar screen, let alone at the top of the list.
Moreover, the shepherds were scared speechless by the announcement. Again, by conventional wisdom, “speechless” is not an endearing quality for a spokesperson (energizer bunny and a few others notwithstanding). I honestly do not get it.
But, as always, God’s choices did seem to work out pretty well even without my best advice. I just would not have done it that way at all.
So, my recent delving into Luke 2 certainly took its toll on me and on my confidence in marketing strategies. Not sure what I’ll be saying to my ministry board the next time we meet to discuss, among other things, marketing…and I had made such good progress up until now. 🙂