Thursday, February 21, 2008

Marketing the Ministry

marketing In today's world, the temptation to market one's message is strong.  All around us, we hear slogans, jingles, and sound bites.   "You have to get your message out there!" advertisers tell us. "Let us help you to get the public's attention."  Wanting to do our best to fulfill our mission of raising a voice for the voiceless, these words hit a responsive chord. 

But then I hear Jesus' words in Mark 1:44 to a leper that He had just healed: "See that you say nothing to anyone!"  How odd. Then I am reminded that our Lord told parables not to reveal the Good News but to hide it (Mark 4:11).  I look at Jesus' life and I realize that He did very little to self-promote His ministry. He resisted the temptation to cheapen His life by becoming a commodity.  It was because He is the incarnate Son of God that He showed God's love through His miraculous works.  But miracles were not what He ultimately wanted to be known for.   This would not encourage false expectations in His followers and the crowds that He had no intention of fulfilling.  His destination was, of course, Jerusalem and the cross.  It was as the suffering Servant that His identity and God's love was most fully expressed; not through signs and wonders, but through suffering and self-denial.  And this was not (and still is not) a very "marketable" product for the masses.  And neither is the message of the Persecuted Church.

And is this message of weakness and human foolishness that proclaims the glory of God more loudly than any billboard or advertising campaign ever could.  But only for those who will listen.  "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." 

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