What’s Our Brand? – What Do We Want People to Know First?
Growing up without the money to buy the latest ‘trending’ this or that was a blessing. Although, growing up without the internet understanding ‘trending’ was also a blessing. Many of us have a brand whether we want one or not. But some in our culture push a brand on us. Think about Amazon, that’s a brand we are all familiar with. But what about our own brand? How do we promote our brand? What is our brand from? I know people who constantly promote this sports team to the point that’s all they talk about. One way to find someone’s brand is to look at their social media, if they have one. We know that employers look at our social media to see what we promote. That’s our brand.
In the 80’s or so we called this -brand- a reputation. But today Western Christianity culture has incorporated so much corporate/social media lingo into local churches, it makes more sense to call it your ‘brand.’
When children grow up, what brand do we give them? Do we push Starwars, Marvel, Barbie as their brand? As a side note, one side effect of pushing a brand on a child as they grow is, it might limit their own imagination, or affect their personality in a way that mimics the brand, and not something they learn on their own. But that’s a squirrel topic and not the thrust of this post.
And you don’t even have to claim ‘Christianity’ to have a brand. Atheists have a brand, Agnostics have a brand, Buddhists have a brand, we all have a brand.
What is our brand? Is it drinking alcohol, partying, YOLO, or is our brand something else? Good question. We can change brands as we grow as well. Maybe in our teen years our brand is ‘x’ and now it’s ‘z’. Then we look back at our early year brand and shake our heads. We grow up, our brand changes. Do fans of the University of Alabama have a brand… nope, I’d say they are a cult. Just kidding you lovely rabid Roll Tide people. Jesus loves you.
As Christ followers, what should our brand be?
Well, an easy answer our brand should be Christ. But is it really? What is a good test? Here is one to think about. – Having been in conversations about Christian topics, I’m often intrigued as to the hero of the Christian conversations. Or when someone asks us if we are a Christian, is our response true to our brand or do we go off brand in our response.
Question: Are you a Christian.
Answer: Yes, I go to ‘X’ church.
Or is our answer, ‘yes’, I’m a Christian and I’d love to tell you why. I often see shirts, sunglasses, bumper stickers promoting a local church. That is their brand. That’s what they promote. That church is promoting itself. But is that what the church should be primarily first? Of course not.
So what about t-shirts with scripture? Well, that is also a brand. That promotes God’s word. What about our speech, that’s a brand as well. Does our speech promote Christ as followers of Christ, or is our speech ‘off-brand’ of Christ?
So what does it mean to be ‘on brand’? Well, it means that the message we are trying to convey is consistent with our outward efforts. Being on-brand means we are true to what we believe. You wouldn’t find a hamburger joint putting, time, money and effort into a commercial about lawn care. They would put money, time and effort into a message about hamburgers and why they have the best.
In the same way as Christ followers, what brand do we put time, money and effort into? Is our brand clear to folks as Christ followers? Or is our brand hidden as Christ followers. Again, one way to test what our brand is, is to look at someone’s social media. But we can also look at their lifestyle. Jesus calls this fruit. He also called this light and salt. As Christ followers, our brand is to be akin to Christ. The Christ found in God’s Word, not the Christ of our making, or even the Christ that our preacher talks about. We are to understand who Christ is from his Word.
What will we not do without?
A good self test is to examine our lives and see what we are willing to do without and what we are willing to give up. What’s left in that ultimate decision is our brand. Jesus requires us to forsake the world for him. That is the brand he wants us to walk out. I have seen people become quite vitriol in defending Disney, Halloween, even Starbucks, they’ve even included the ‘!’ mark. Is that their brand? Or are they just ‘off-brand’ for the moment.
What is our first foot forward?
“I. You are the Salt of the Earth. Matt. 5:13 Jesus in these verse sums up the collected truth of the eight principles of the B-attitudes.
A. What are the properties of salt? The Lord compares true believers with the properties of salt.
1. Salt is used to add favor to food. It has a taste all its own, utterly unlike anything else.
a. When mingled with foods it makes them taste good.
b. It brings out the natural favor of food.
2. It is also a preservative. When added to other substances it preserves them from corruption.”
When asked if we are Christian, what is our first foot forward. Do we respond with what church we go to? Do we change the subject? Does our brand even represent Christ in a way that someone would ask the question? What is our brand? Are we honest with ourselves about our brand? Are we on or off brand? How close is our brand to Christ? That takes prayer and examination, and understanding who Christ is in his Word. Because their are so many brands of Christianity, some on Brand with Christ and some not. Our brand in Christ has to be founded in his unchanging Word. So again, what is our brand?
If we are asking that question, we might have a problem already. The Bible teaches that our lives are not our own as Christ followers. It should never be our brand. We don’t develop or own our own brand, just as we don’t own our own lives as Christ followers. That’s for those who hate Christ, they ‘control’ their lives. A better question to ask is, “how do I get closer and closer to what Christ teaches?” How can his brand become mine?
For it was Jesus who gives us hope, who died on a cross for our sins, saved us from an eternal Hell. Making his brand our brand should be easy. However we struggle with our greed, our selfishness, life gets busy and we forget about Christ, having a sinful nature warring against our desire. We should pray to God that he will help us put to death our desire for ourselves and in that we make his brand our brand. We become salt, we become light because he shines, he seasons our life and encounters with other. I pray that we all stay on His brand.
Steven Davis is a well done preacher’s kid, musician, media producer, learning apologetic writer.
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