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BRANDED: SHARING JESUS WITH A CONSUMER CULTURE
September 30, 2013
How do we share Jesus with a consumer culture? In "Branded: Sharing Jesus with a Consumer Culture," Tim Sinclair boldly declares that sharing Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with mass-marketing and everything to do with being personally branded by Christ, permanently marked by our Saviour. BRANDED is a clarion call to turn the Christian hourglass over, to make drastic changes in order to see new progress. It is all about branding Jesus and becoming branded by Him ourselves.
Tim Sinclair specifies that when it comes to sharing Jesus with the world around us, it is crucial that we acknowledge our own unique talents and abilities and use them effectively to reach out to people within our own circle and sphere of influence. As Tim states so clearly, there is no "one-size-fits-all" methodology. How do people see you? When they look at you, what do they see? Do they see love? When love is authentically lived out in a person's life, it stands out brightly in today's world. Do they see you as a lover of Jesus who cannot help but share Him? Do you speak about your love for Christ to the world?
As a Christian, you inadvertently advertise Jesus wherever you go. Tell your story with your own particular flair and style, boldly, confidently, as open and honestly as you can. Show the world how Jesus can make a striking and significant difference in your daily life. The story of your walk with Christ is your most powerful tool. Be a bright and shining example of the extraordinary power of Christ to transform a person's life and make it totally new! Make those around you want to believe! Your own life is your greatest testimony! Remember the words of St. Francis of Assisi: "Preach the gospel at all times - if necessary use words."
Tim Sinclair, a top-flight communicator in today's hi-tech, consumer-oriented world, exhorts Christians to promptly sign on for a world-class marketing campaign for the Saviour and to share their faith honestly in authentic ways for God's glory.
I don't see Tim Sinclair as angry like another reviewer...actually I found him very positive. I am starting up a youth group in my church and feel more confident after reading this book. I have come across many nay-Sayers not liking my suggestions because it's different. i feel encouraged now. Great read!
Reading, "Branded" by Tim Sinclair, I had really mixed feelings about attributing sharing the Gospel on the same level as marketing, but this is a book, that like all books, have to read with discretion and in context of what exactly is trying to be reached overall and taking care too, not to be too picky to see the context of the book. It is easy for someone to think, what does marketing have to do with sharing the Gospel and bring up with it, negative connotations of what marketing would imply.
With,"Branded", Tim Sinclair shares with wit and observations of ways sharing one's faith to help better connect with many, in today's world, who may not be speaking the same language that is being taught in our churches.
On page 95 of "Branded", Tim relates an experience he had on the road and goes, "He was creating a first impression without every looking me in the eye. He was pushing me away before I had the chance to get close. From hundreds of feet away, it was clear that his interests, values and personality couldn't be more different from mine".
Tim continue with later on,"Again, its not about changing our message. It's about changing the method with which we share it".
This is not an easy book to read; It will take people out of their comfort zone and that is sometimes a good thing and a necessary thing.
In the last chapter, "What If"; After the shock, of wait, but this isn't what I'm used to hearing passes, Tim, offers some down to earth, biblical based reasons that really challenges the follower of Christ, to re-evaluate how they are thinking and approaching sharing the Gospel to others.
The book doesn't advocate, not sharing the Gospel, but rather, take a careful look of how the Gospel is being shared.
Tim offers this challenging look on page 39, "...But what happens when we step out into the real world, where situations aren't so cut-and-dried"?
I like "Branded" because its' both a hard, "ouch" book to read and also a, "hey, this isn't a watering down but rather, look how are we approaching look at things".
My intial thought was..whoa whoa...lukewarmness to is this just over the fence, cold, but then realize, its a witty, but honest and hey, real life look of how are we sharing His word...sometimes, its just a simple, honest, "Hey I'm just there" approach"...a non-one size fits all, but its not about , "Fine whatever" approach either.
Tim hits the issue on the head when he shares on page, 35,"Applying faith to this equation then would indicate that for non-Christians to value Jesus, they need to see that He can meet their needs and they need a favorable perception of Him. They need both head knowledge and heart feeling. They need information and inspiration. One side without the other is useless. Or in this case, worthless".
This brought me to mind,
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (1 Peter 3:15, New King James Version)
"Branded" is a book that will gently, though firmly and lovingly, though at times, it may not feel like that, show, how in today's multimedia, social media, consumer based, marketing based, ad-driven world, that we can share the Gospel without changing the message and still hold on to His Word.
I have to admit that I didn't know what to expect from Tim Sinclair's book - Branded - Sharing Jesus With A Consumer Culture. The large question at the back of the book "How Do We Market Jesus?" made me curious enough to open the book and start reading it.
As I read through chapter after chapter, I began to develop some strange feelings. I am starting to wonder who Tim Sinclair really is? He seemed angry to me. Angry at the old ways of evangelism, confronting Christians about their way of living, how they are reaching out to others and sharing Jesus. After the seventh chapter, I decided to put the book down and give it a rest.
When my family attended the Sunday worship the following Sunday, we found out that the youth were leading the worship. We began with a Praise and Worship time that was so energetic made even noisier by the group of youths sitting in front banging their heads to the music. In the middle of the service, the youth pastor showed us a video of some of the youth talking about their growing faith in God.
It was there that I realized that much of what Tim Sinclair said in Branded: Sharing Jesus with a Consumer Culture was right. Here I was observing it in reality. This church knew the way to reach the youth was to accept them for who they are. They came to church dressed in their regular youth clothes, they have their own youth service where they are free to worship God the way they want to, and they learned about God through the help of their disciplers.
As I continued to read Branded, slowly I understood where Tim Sinclair was coming from. He is a marketer who has helped businesses such as McDonald's to market themselves effectively. In this book, Tim teaches us to think about Jesus as a brand and how to market the Jesus brand effectively to others. He does this by asking us to open our minds and think out of the box. I am especially challenged by his last chapter "What If" where he talks about â€˜Green Light Thinking'. â€˜Green Light Thinking' is a brainstorming session where everyone pitches ideas and no idea is wrong. The ideas in this chapter that he pitches to his readers will touch you, open your mind and challenge you to actually do it.
Branded is not a hard book to read because the chapters are short, the writing is humorous, the concepts are clear. Most of all, it is based on the Bible. A Christian would be bothered and challenged upon reading this book. He would be definitely be encouraged to try out his ideas in reaching people for Christ.
We are a consumer culture and often times try to â€˜sell' Jesus to our friends and family by wearing Jesus Saves t-shirts, bumper stickers, and hats. We put snippets on FB and our blog about Jesus and the Bible. We are missing out on the relationships with people, and showing them how we are â€˜personally branded' by Jesus.
Tim Sinclair writes "Branding Jesus (and becoming branded by Him ourselves) will require rethinking the way evangelism has always been done. It will require challenging the status quo. It will require questioning the effectiveness of our current methods. It will require regaining our passion, reenergizing our base, and rebuilding our personal outreach strategies from the ground up". Basically we can't continue doing things the same ways we have been doing them for years. The culture is changing and the people are exploring options other than Jesus. Many think that they don't need Jesus and that He has nothing to offer them.
We as Christians don't always "get a specific culture or worldview." And to understand them better and effectively reach them we need to be prepared to speak to their â€˜reality'.
We can't market something that people don't want. We can't push Jesus on those who don't see a need for Him. We need to be changed and renewed ourselves, being honest in our relationship with Him, the good yes, but also that the life of a Christian isn't about perfection, nor is it without pain.
Branded was a good analogy of the practice of marketing in our culture and how we present Jesus in a similar fashion. Tim Sinclair's theme of marketing worked well through the book, and put into easy language a theme we have heard often. Go out and meet people where they are at.
He brainstormed some ideas on a â€˜white board' in one chapter, and though some sounded interesting there were others I was like â€˜what!' toward. Take them with a grain of salt, take the ones you are comfortable with and see if you can impact our culture today by showing how you are branded with Jesus.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review of the book.