Jesus, the Master Evangelizer

Clergy Corner by Deacon Ivan Hawk for October 11, 2015

Clergy Corner by Deacon Ivan Hawk for October 11, 2015.

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Jesus is the ultimate model of what marketing (Evangelization) is all about and why it is so important in ministry. When Jesus spoke to a rural audience, He taught using examples of planting and growing seeds (Matthew 13:1-32). When He spoke with fishermen, He taught using examples of fishing (John 21:1-15). His teaching was relevant because it was spoken in the language and culture of those He taught. Jesus’ ministry was successful because He immersed Himself in the culture and language of those He served. He connected with their life experience and they understood and grew in their knowledge of Jesus and themselves accordingly.

Jesus knew His audience because He went out among them in the marketplace. Jesus mixed with sinners. He was actively involved in their lives. Jesus was an Egalitarian -- all are equal in the eyes of Jesus. He reached out to all who were in need. Jesus knew the hearts of those He served; and He still does. Jesus meets us where we are, knows what we need and addresses those needs. Jesus is the Master Marketer/Evangelizer.

Marketing vs. Sales, what is the difference? Does the difference really matter? Marketing means that we invite the ones served into the process to collaboratively determine what their needs are.  When a product or service is determined this way and is offered, the one served is more likely to buy or participate. Sales means that we have developed a product or service without the input of those who we want to serve. Our product or service may or may not meet their needs. The likelihood that we will is pretty slim.

As a church, we can get caught up in programs and products (sales) that do not necessarily meet the needs of those we serve. You can probably think of some. The products might be very good, but few are willing to participate in them because we didn’t involve them in the process. The “product or service” doesn’t connect with their lived situation. When we do involve those we minister to, we have shifted from sales to marketing. We are now more likely to meet their needs because we went out to them, spoke their language, determined what was in their hearts and let them help design the product or service. That is what Jesus did. He was and still is the Master Marketer.

We all have a unique role in the church and community. We live among those we serve as neighbor and co-worker in our places of employment. It is in this “marketplace” that we have the opportunity to be real marketers, just like Jesus.

Do you serve in a specific ministry in the parish that allows you the opportunity to use your charism, your special gift? Do you include those in the parish community whom you serve, to determine the needs and appropriate programs, etc. to meet those needs?

Tags: deacon ivan, clergy corner
 

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