Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's Your Marketing Motive?

Take a moment to ponder this question: "What motivates you to write a book or give a speech?" Do you feel compelled to tell people something that will help them? And, do you find yourself driven to share your message with someone and see positive results?

We live in an era of unprecented technology where anyone and everyone can have a voice. New tools, such as blogs, self-publishing, YouTube, and podcasts make preaching and teaching easier than ever. In fact, last year over 400,000 new books were published. But, I'm not convinced this is a good thing. And, at the risk of offending someone, I've got something important to say:

God does NOT call Christians to be authors
(or speakers).

Instead, God calls Christians to write or speak about a specific message that will improve other people's lives. So, if God hasn't given you a distinct message yet, then He hasn't called you to write.

I've met too many Christians who say, "God called me to write a book." Others desperately dream of becoming a "retreat speaker" or keynoter for arena events. Yet, when I ask, "What is your core message that you feel burdened to tell others?" or "Why is your message so important?"...they can't answer the question.

Here's the problem: without a real message, you can't be a good writer or speaker. Sure, you can be an entertainer, but the American Church already has enough of those folks (they're called musicians and comedians). So, if you think God called you to be a professional communicator, but you don't have a deep message to share yet, then keep waiting on God - or question if He actually called you.

In his wonderful book, "Communicating for a Change," Pastor Andy Stanley referred to advice he received from his father, Dr. Charles Stanley, who said, "You've got to have a burden. That's the thing most preachers are missing. A burden. If they don't have a burden, it's just a bunch of fluff...It is a burden that weighs so heavily on the heart of the communicator that he or she must deliver it." So, if you want to be an author or speaker, then I ask you...what's your burden?

Many people think God called them to speak, but it's really just a personal desire for the limelight. Or, they're trying to satisfy what someone else told them to do. However, the Church doesn't need any more "authors" or "speakers." People are thirsting for proven, biblically-based, life-changing messages that will answer the tough challenges they face.

Here's my point: If you just want to be a Christian author, that's like saying you just want to get married - for marriage's sake. It's a selfish motive, because it's not about whether you want to sacrificially love a specific person. You just want to be married, and it doesn't matter to whom.

Likewise, people who just want to be speakers or writers are too focused on what it will do for them (their ego, their bank account, etc.) Instead, good communicators are more concerned about the needs of their audience.

To truly be a "Christian" speaker, make sure you've clearly defined a God-given burden. Know your value, and the results you can produce. Without that element, you're just another voice lost in the cacophony.

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