Christian Business Owners: Is it Okay to Market Our Business?

Feb 20, 2013, Written by Sue Miley

MarketingI’ve been talking to God about something lately that I think you may think about sometimes too.  I worry, a little (not a lot, because I know Jesus doesn’t like it when I worry Matthew 6:26-34) that when I am marketing my business it may reflect badly on God.

I am not marketing anything sinful.  I am just marketing my business.  This one.  The one that wants to help other small business owners like me.  And I want to help you to build your business on Christian values.  So I know my desire to help people do this isn’t bad.

Faith versus Business Acumen

Here is where the confusion really sets in.  I have a long business background.  It started in school and grew with twenty something years of experience.  Everything I have learned in business tells me to:

  • plan
  • project
  • try to determine what is profitable
  • sell
  • and, yes, market my services

The same business experience, and my Christian values, also tell me:

  • be ethical
  • do what I say I am going to do
  • treat my team well
  • care about my clients, team, and vendors

and all of the other moral and ethical activities that make good business.

Just Pray About It or Do Something

Yet, I have had many conversations with pastors, elders, and other Christians in business that say to just trust God.  Pray about it.  If it is His will your business will grow.

Now if you were my client and you told me this, I would say, “Yes God can grow our business without us, but He also likes to work through us.  We should do our part to use our experience, knowledge, and ability to run and grow our business.”

That sounds logical doesn’t it.

I believe God knows my heart and wants me to use my abilities.  And though many of my Jewish family members say “God helps those who help themselves”, I know that is not in the bible!

One of The Myths That Keeps Us From Success

I wanted to share this with you because I think this is one of those myths Christians believe that keep them from being successful.  I believe that my hidden, nagging, hesitancy in the marketing arena:

  • makes me inconsistent in my efforts, and my business experience says be consistent
  • makes my messages seem wishy washy, and my business experience says to be confident and trustworthy
  • is an excuse, where my past business experience said “no excuses”!

The worst part though to me is that I go from thoughts like these:

if I trusted God I would step out and be bold.

if my motives were true I would not hesitate to market my wares

if I wasn’t so prideful I wouldn’t have an issue putting myself out there

to thoughts on the other end of the pendulum like these:

all of that is just an excuse to give yourself permission to be a marketer

you are trying to hide behind not wanting to disappoint God

you need to just admit you want to sell things

I don’t know about you, but to me it is exhausting.

Satan Thrives on Confusing Us

Then it hits me.  Satan wants to confuse me.  He wants me to doubt my motives and God’s.  He wants anyone trying to build a business on Christian values to hide in the dark.

He is full of lies and I am buying them.

So in my praying and scripture reading I look at how Jesus and His disciples spread the Gospel and built the church.  They spoke out.  They tirelessly travelled from city to city and village to village spreading the Good News.  Jesus delegated to His disciples so that He could expand His reach.  Paul repeated his messages about living like and for Christ so many times that people can recite them.

Becoming a City on a Hill

I believe that for Christians who are in business, and have an honest business,  God wants them to be successful.  He wants them to become a city on the hill to other Christians in business.  He wants to spread the news that you can be successful in business because it is built on Christian values, not in spite of that.

One of the core values of my business is to help Christian business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of their Christian values so that they can be a city on a hill to other Christians in business.

How can we be a city on a hill if we don’t tell anyone?

As you can see I have come full circle on the issue.  I built my business concept on the fact that this idea that we are not supposed to do marketing for our business is a myth, yet I routinely fall into Satan’s trap myself.

I’m done with that.  I am telling you so I have to be consistent.  I have to follow the advice I believe is good for you, right?

I hope you don’t have this same issue, but if you do, let me know so I can support you in this journey.

Together we can be a city on a hill!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Vonda Skelton says

    Great post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on something so many Christians struggle with. I pray God blesses you as you continue to bless others through your business!

    • S_Miley says

      Hi Vonda, Thanks for visiting. I was looking at your site and it looks like some interesting resources/inspiration on writing, among other things. I look forward to exploring it more!

  2. Patti Arbon says

    Thank you for this (followed a link from twitter, fyi)

    I love promoting other businesses and I can’t do that properly without promoting mine! I totally agree with you that Satan does not want us to shine! Success matters and we can be successful ~ together successful businesses can make kingdom differences!

    Blessings!

    • S_Miley says

      Thanks Patti! I seem to have no problem promoting other people’s business or telling other’s that it is just Satan trying to confuse them. So I guess my issue is a pride thing! I need to keep working on that. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  3. Marsha Durken Hallin says

    Sue, Thank you for this post. You know how God is, he brings into our awareness what we need to help us at that moment. I am just starting up my ministry outreach to busy moms, and I really have been wrestling with how much marketing I should do. I realize no one will know of the ministry if I don’t spread the word, but spreading the word takes so much time. Because of that I think God would not be pleased. Yes, I have been so confused and torn. I needed this post and thank God for leading you to write it. Thank you. I am going to print it, and put it where I can see it every time Satan slips another thought in my head to try and confuse. God bless you Sue.

    • S_Miley says

      Hi Marsha, So glad to see you over here! Yes it does take time to do the marketing, but if you develop a simple plan it is easier to execute consistently. When I started I was doing a little here and there and it took up more time because I didn’t have a plan. Also, I wasn’t consistent so it wasn’t as effective. A simple plan executed consistently is the best place to start!

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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