I’m part of a budding ministry. Not a church, but a collection of Christians that want to do something in the community that is not being done by the churches. We have big dreams to start essential outreaches that have been lacking for a very long time. Talks of fund raising, budgets, building permits and the likes are floating in the air. Anticipation for doing God’s work is filling all of our minds and hearts. One issue that has not been addressed though is advertising.
How will we advertise our ministry?
Or should we advertise our ministry?
For you, it may seem like silly questions. Especially in a consumer driven Western culture. Everything we do has advertising attached to it. You may be thinking the exact same thoughts that I had when I asked myself that question. Of course you advertise. How else will people know your ministry exists? How will people know what you are about or where you are unless you show them? And I would agree that this kind of thinking makes sense. It has worked for how many hundreds of years, why stop now?
But, when I read through the Gospels and what Jesus did, I wondered if we should take a different course of action.
Then [Jesus] went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area (Luke 4.31-37 NIV).
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses (Luke 5.12-15).
While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened (Luke 8.49-56).
(Also read these verses for more examples: John 5.1-13, Mark 1.40-45, 5.19, 7.36)
After looking at these few verses, you may be struck by the odd behavior of Jesus.Proceeding each miracle Jesus shows no real interest in any praise of adoration. He doesn’t want people to know about what is going on, or who is doing the healing. Jesus doesn’t care to “advertise” his ministry in any way shape or form. And if anyone had a ministry that successful, you would think it could only benefit from some advertising. Even if it was Jesus’ ministry. But He doesn’t. Instead He points all glory to God the Father, lets the work speak for itself, and goes about His way. No advertising. No spreading the word Himself. Nothing.
This got me to thinking, what would happen if we ran our ministry like that? No advertising, no broadcasting who we are and what we are here to do. Only directing praise to God and letting our work speak for itself. What a strange way to operate don’t you think? Would it work?
I don’t honestly know. My western thinking and retail and marketing classes tell me no. But look at what kept happening to Jesus when He did this.
His ministry grew every time. There was no stopping it from happening. Even when Jesus told people not to tell anyone about what happened, they couldn’t help but talk about Him and His ministry. An unadvertised ministry that flourished was what Jesus had. And I can tell you this, that is what we all want. What if advertising was what hinders us?
To say that Jesus’ success came from a lack of a PR person would be to greatly diminish who Jesus was and what He did. And I am not making that claim by any stretch. But, when we continually dissect Jesus’ ministry as the example of successful ministry, why do we not pick up on this?
Jesus simply did what He was called to do, gave all glory to God and kept on going.
What would happen if we did that? And by we, I am initially thinking of this ministry. But what if we, the body of Christ did it?
What if we weren’t worried about our church name being attached to this project or program, we just did what we were called to do. What if it didn’t matter if people talked about all the good work that church you go to does, but they talked about how they experienced a love that is extraordinary? Maybe heavenly or divine?
Could we do it? Should we do it? Should all churches do it?
Let me know in the comment section.
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