Fruit is Delicious
The Beauty in Marketing the Gospel
By: Kirk Hadden | Communications & Marketing
The Brilliance of Fruit
Trees are brilliant marketers. They know their target audience well.
They know that their audience is looking for something sweet. Something juicy and delicious. They know it needs to be easy to find, so they make it brightly colored—often a uniquely bright color against the dark greens and brown of the surrounding forest.
And probably all of you remember this from 7th grade life science, but it took me a long time in life to think about why. Why would a plant make its fruit delicious, and enticing, and easy to eat? Because it wants to be eaten. It needs its fruit to be eaten. Because the seed inside the fruit is going to survive the digestion process, and when it comes out the other side, it is going to find itself nicely fertilized, carried far away from the mother tree, ready to grow into a new tree in a new place. It’s brilliant.
Marketing is Not a Dirty Word
Isn’t it interesting that the Bible consistently compares people to trees? From the Garden of Eden, through the prophets, the gospels, and even Revelation, people are compared with trees. And, we are constantly called to bear fruit.
And fruit is delicious. It’s enticing. It’s attention grabbing. And it’s easy. It’s bite sized.
As a creative agency that works primarily with churches, we’re no stranger to the ongoing debate in church circles about whether churches should be marketing at all. Marketing can sound like a dirty word. Maybe it reminds you of the stereotypical used car salesman, or of the manipulative, deceptive practices of the corporate advertising industry. Or maybe it just seems that to even think in such business-oriented categories loses sight of the hands-on, person-to-person depth of the mission started by the God who came to earth as one of us.
But in reality, marketing is simply a form of communication. And just like any form of communication, you can use it to tell a lie, or tell the truth. You can use it to manipulate, or you can use it to educate. In fact, the Bible tells us that
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
– Proverbs 18:21 New International Version (NIV)
The tools of the modern world are powerful communication opportunities. In the first century, the Apostle Paul continually risked life and limb to travel the world using the best opportunities his world offered. The Roman roads. Papyrus letters. Tiny wooden sailing ships. Can you imagine talking to him in heaven? “Tell me again—you had what now?”
Share the Fruit You Know Will Change Lives
So let’s bear fruit. Let’s make it delicious. The message we have is good news. It is good news for their soul, but it is also good news for their marriage. It’s good news for their day-to-day life. Every week, you are producing fantastic content that has the power to transform people’s lives.
It can transform their finances. It can transform their relationships. It offers peace in a sea of anxiety. Hope in a storm of despair.
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And you could make it hard for them to find those nuggets. You could make them change their weekend routine, and get up on Sunday morning, and get the kids dressed and show up to a church for the first time in fifteen years just so they might hear it from the pulpit on Sunday morning.
Or, you could put it out there where they already are. They’re not sure about church yet. They’re not sure about God yet. They’re not ready to make that leap. But what if you start giving them something helpful now? What if you start adding value to their lives now? What if you made it eye-catching and attractive? What if you gave it in easy bite-sized pieces?
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In the process, they’re going to be swallowing some seeds. And those seeds are pre-fertilized, because they’ve been feeling the value in their lives. After experiencing your fruit for a few weeks or months, perhaps they’ll already have a tree of life sprouting in their heart.