“I grieve that the marketplace shows a little more creativity and tenacity than we do in the church. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
In his article, “The Art of Evangelism,” Kawasaki explains that to engage in evangelism is “to proclaim the good news.” He describes evangelism marketing as “explaining to the world how your product or service can improve people’s lives.”
So, at Apple, his responsibility was “to proclaim the good news that Macintosh would make everyone more creative and productive.” At Canva, his responsibility is to “share a platform that democratizes design.”
For Kawasaki, this is not about self-promotion, but rather sharing the best of what you, your team and your organization produce with others who can benefit.
But even in the business world, there is the danger of relegating evangelism, marketing or sales to ones with specific titles. In our current world of new media, this is no longer true or acceptable. Technology allows for the democratization of these efforts. So, who are the new evangelists of today?
The New Evangelists
At their very core, evangelists truly have the best interests of others at heart. So, anyone who has the heart for people has the heart of an evangelist. Here are examples of evangelists in the marketplace:
1. Marketing Professionals – First and foremost, evangelism is practiced by marketing professionals. They are paid for their experience and expertise to get results—not only in sharing the good news, but also in generating new leads. They are held accountable to equip the rest of the organization to share the good news.
2. Sales Professionals – While marketing professionals are hired to tell the good news, sales professionals are hired to sell the good news. They are the ones who will contact the leads generated by the marketing team to convert them to contracts or sales.
3. Employees – Some of the greatest resources to tell the story of an organization are the employees who are not directly involved in sales or marketing. They are part of the story because they have enlisted to part of the team that adds value with their products or services. They themselves share the story when they tell their friends and family of how much they believe in the mission of the company, by posting the good news on social media, and by word of mouth.
4. Leaders – Senior leadership may not realize the power and responsibility they hold, not only the telling of the story, but also in crafting a brand promise and making sure that they deliver results to the customer, stakeholder and team member. Their role in casting a vision, developing strategies, monitoring progress and developing a culture is the biggest way that they help to be the chief evangelists of the company. They equip their team to deliver, and deliver on, the great mission they have as an organization.
5. Customers – For potential customers, it is sometimes a challenge to believe a company when it tells its own story, whether it’s delivered by a leader, a marketer or an employee. The most potent evangelist for a brand is a happy customer. In reality, the customer is the real hero of this corporate story. The company exists to be in service of the customer. No matter how great a product or brand promise it, if the customer’s needs are not served, then there is no value being delivered.
The (He)Art of Evangelism
So, how can the church draw some principles from the corporate world in a way that helps Christians better serve their communities in the sharing of the gospel? Here are some thoughts.
1. Evangelism is about democratization. It is an activity that becomes accessible to everyone. Good leaders will equip their teams to understand, embrace and share the good news. It is simple, clear and shareable.
2. Evangelism is about stories. We all love stories. The best ones about are those that take the audience on a journey of transformation. These stories describe an authentic journey of ups and down and a contrast between the world as it is today and how it should be tomorrow. When the church shares personal stories of people whose lives have been transformed, this shows the power of the gospel to save, to redeem and to heal.
3. Evangelism is about passion. I don’t know about you, but when I speak with passionate people, I am usually inspired. A magnetic message will either attract people or repel people. This is where the heart comes in. When you are passionate about something, you are willing to sacrifice and endure discomfort, awkwardness or even hardship to see it through. In the case of the gospel, you realize the blessing and the responsibility of being a messenger of such as transformative story. At the end of the day, the story is not about you—it is about a God who loved the world so much that he would give his son to be offered as a sacrifice for the world. That is passion.
4. Evangelism is about sharing and equipping. The impact of an evangelist should be two-fold: They have personally shared the good news and they have equipped others to do the same. The greatest tragedy would be that the entire movement falls apart with the departure of the evangelist. Organizations that focus on empowering their entire team, from top to bottom and from department to department, will see exponential results. If you think that the organization benefits from a persuasive, charismatic storyteller, can you imagine what would happen if the entire organization became evangelists? The impact would be remarkable.
5. Evangelism is about intentionality and strategy. Most of evangelism has been relegated to its art such as persuasiveness, charisma and storytelling. This is a fantastic part of evangelism marketing. However, if it is relegated to art alone, it will fall short of its potential impact. Evangelism must also be intentional and directed by strategy. It is no longer good enough to merely say, “Well, we have this goal, and we have these people who are on the team … They should just meet their goals! Go forth and multiply!”
There are so many questions that need to be answered: What is unique about our company? What is the unique product or service that offer? Who is our target demographic? What are the psychographics about our target market? How will we get our story to them? How will we incorporate market feedback to iterate our strategies?
Developing a strategy is about answering those question and creating a roadmap to achieve your goals.
6. Evangelism is about servanthood. In 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf wrote his famous essay, “The Servant as Leader.” He wrote, “The servant-leader is servant first … It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” When the evangelist understands that she carries a message that people need to hear, then she will understand that she has a responsibility to share it. If the evangelist and her organization discover, distill and deliver their message simply, clearly and powerfully, they will naturally see growth in their movement. It should always begin, though, with the understanding the company is in service to the customer.
While we sometimes equate the work of the church to the business world, I have found that it can be very beneficial. It can be very easy to see that movements in both worlds can create impact and can even transform society. If that message you hold is of any value and helps to meet the needs of your community and the world, that by all means, share it and share it well.
Steven A. Chaparro is the vice president of business development at Visioneering Studios.