“Have a good reputation of those outside the church.” (I Tim. 3:7 Phillips) All the people respected them….the Lord added to their number daily. (Acts 2: 42-44 Phillips)
Nothing Beats Public Good Will: Why did Jesus teach that strong solidarity and mutual love in His church would positively impact those outside the church? It’s not a miracle or magic; it’s a well-known principle in the business world. Corporations spend billions to project a positive image to the public. It’s something we learned in kindergarten. If you are well liked, people will be drawn to you and want what you have to offer.
To be successful in business or the Kingdom of God, nothing beats the good will of the public. The reverse is also true as BP’s recently discovered. It’s oil spill cost them billions.
Dr. Sam Shoemaker, a national church leader of the last century, realized this when the founders of AA came to him for help. Dr. Sam offered them a principle he learned from Scripture: “We grow by attraction, not by promotion.” The phenomenal growth of the AA movement backs up the validity of the principle. Isn’t it time we Christians rediscovered it?
God’s Commercial: In his second letter to Corinth, Paul applauded their good PR. “Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; (2 Cor. 3:3 The Message). A group’s good public relations begins with the public perception of good faith and inner accord.
How Do We Stack Up? How does the general public read our modern churches? Are we known for cooperating or competing? Do we have the respect of the average Jill or Jack? Do neighbors know or even care we exist? Do they know us as a loving community, offering forgiveness, or rather our society’s moral policeman? Does the average Joe see our concern for people or our religious agendas? Most of all, does he see our unity or our divisions?
During a break in our tennis doubles match, Tim and I got into a doctrinal discussiont. His church seemed to stress human free will over God’s will. Our discussion verged on a debate, so I turned to Bob, an unbeliever, who was half listening, and asked his opinion.
“You know,” he said. “There are so many churches in town, all with different ideas. Why can’t you all just get your act together?” Tim and I were embarrassed and had no answer. Bob’s opinion of the church is not uncommon these days. How can we improve our PR?