I once served as an interim student pastor at a church about 40 minutes from where I lived. A few days a week, I would make the drive away from the city to this small town. During the drive, I would pass through another small town and would see a billboard advertising a different church that read, “Worth the drive.” I did some research on the church and noticed something as I looked at the staff lineup: they had hired a marketing director, but not a missions pastor.
In that moment, I realized the state of many churches today; we have shifted from the mentality of having a missions pastor that focuses on prompting the church to go to the people, to a marketing director that figures out how to get the people to come to the church. We have shifted from a call for the church to “go” to a call for the world to “come.” We have not only outsourced missions to the mission department, but have exchanged missions for marketing. In doing so, we have shifted from being “in the world, but not of the world” to being of the world but not in the world.
As a marketing major in college, I focused on how to restructure the product for people who were static. In seminary, we took a different approach than that of marketing. We took the approach of using the static truth of the gospel in order to not only restructure the people, but to renew and redeem the people from death to life. In light of this truth, here are six difference between marketers and missionaries:
Six Differences Between a Marketer and a Missionary
1. A marketer sells a product; a missionary shares the truth.
2. A marketer sells something of temporary value; a missionary shares something of eternal value.
3. A marketer relies on the latest and greatest research to back up his or her pragmatic philosophy; a missionary relies on the Spirit of the living God to empower his or her evangelism.
4. A marketer invites one to church to hear the message of the gospel in the service; a missionary invites one directly to Christ, taking the message of the gospel to them.
5. A marketer seeks to gain something; a missionary seeks to give something.
6. A marketer discovers new ways to get people to come to him; a missionary continues to go to them.
“Go” Over “Come”
It is in Jesus’s words: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20, CSB).
As prompted by Jesus’s command, go to the lost in your school. Go to the lost in your local restaurants and coffee shops. Go to the lost where they are. Jesus Christ came to the last the lost and the least. Jesus Christ came to the utmost of sinners bearing the utmost hope. Do not expect marketing to bring them to you. Be a missionary and go to those without hope, proclaiming the Name who is hope!
Is it you that is worth the drive for the lost? Or is it the lost that are worth the drive for the gospel? Bring the message of eternal life with you wherever you go! It is those that need the message of the gospel that are truly worth the drive. Go to them. Don’t expect them to come to you. Be a missionary, not a marketer.