Advertising My Christianity
By Mark A. Taylor
What does it mean to advertise a business as owned by a Christian? Evidently quite a lot to the folks running TrustBlueReview.com. With the tag line “Connecting you to trusted businesses for 25 years,” the faith-based business directory offers consumers a way to find Christian-owned enterprises in categories from “Accountants” to “Zip Lines.”
TrustBlueReview’s home page claims all its advertisers make a threefold commitment: “Proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Demonstrate their faith through active involvement in a local church. Strive to operate their business according to biblical principles.”
I, for one, am glad to report that my bathroom remodeler and mechanic are both Christians. But their names aren’t found among TrustBlue’s headings for “Contractors General” or “Automobile Repair and Service.” They already have as much business as they can handle. The quality of their work speaks for itself, without needing to aim advertising at Christians.
Meanwhile, does it say something bad about me that I’ve never looked specifically for a Christian when I needed “Animal Removal Services,” “Pest Control,” “Shoe Stores,” or “Pizza”?
Will a Christian “Massage Therapist,” for example, conduct business differently than a non-Christian? We hope so. But “biblical principles” for a business are many. We could hope every establishment claiming to be Christian would demonstrate standards like these:
- Product quality is high, and prices are fair. Service providers don’t make unnecessary repairs. They don’t push customers to buy something they don’t need. In every case they’re doing for the customer what they’d want done for themselves (Luke 6:31).
- Proprietors create a work culture that attracts employees. Peace, patience, and self-control characterize the boss and influence the workers (Galatians 5:22, 23).
- They pay their bills on time and don’t borrow more money than they can reasonably repay (Psalm 37:21).
- They’re concerned about fair wages, adequate health care, and the retirement needs of their employees (Colossians 4:1; James 5:4).
- And they’re interested in the whole community. They demonstrate concern for “the least of these” and the marginalized minorities around them (Malachi 3:5; Matthew 25:31-46).
Maybe all this is too much to list on a website or include as criteria for admission to such a directory. But how can anyone advertising his Christianity settle for less?
And when you think about it, how could any Christian in any circumstance ignore such descriptions of holy living?
Each of us has a “public,” even if our business establishment isn’t listed in a Christian directory. Each of us has a reputation that can advance or hinder the opinion of Christianity among nonbelievers, whether we’re a well-known boss or an unknown employee.
If I wear the name Christian, I risk misrepresenting Christ to a watching world. (And, by the way, if I insist that my position or candidate or recommendation is Christian, I do the same.)
Each of us can take to heart the apostle’s admonition: “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world” (1 Peter 2:12, New Living Translation).
That’s a worthy goal. For every Christian selling “Furniture.” For every Christian offering “Self Storage” or “Snow Removal.” For Christian “Accountants” and “Movers” and “Veterinarians.” For every Christian spokesman or preacher. For every Christian, period.