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Though I will be speaking mostly to marketing, you’ll learn how this principle—positioning—is vital to any idea that you want another person to grasp. If you’re a church, ministry, or business, you must understand this principle if you’re going to connect well and help those you desire to serve.
I’ve been reading business and marketing books since my late teens because I’ve always been intrigued by success stories. Perhaps coming from a dysfunctional family where learning how to do things well was not an option, I found “the story” of those who know how to overcome intriguing.
Of course, it was after God saved me that I began to realize that real success was His mercy to me, but I also learned that my relationship with God was not a passive adventure. He wants us to actively and aggressively work out what He is working into us (Philippians 2:13-14). And though all credit goes to Him, we must learn from His special and general revelations, which means we can benefit from His common grace on unregenerate image-bearers.
“Positioning” is the process of understanding what already resonates in a person’s thinking and then connecting (or positioning) your product or idea into the mind of that person.
The thinking is that we live in an over-communicated and distracted culture, and if you attempted to create something that nobody has ever heard of, it would not resonate with them. Let me give you three illustrations, one from the world, one from the Bible, and one from discipleship.
When Christians think about what I do, they call it a ministry. Rarely would any of them call it a business. When I share with an unbeliever what I do, they understand it as a business. None of them would call it a ministry. Ironically, both demographics are correct—it’s a ministry on the facing side, but behind the curtain, it’s a business. A church is the same way.
And if you’re not business minded, you may fail at what you’re doing. The magical idea of trusting God, so all you have to do is “build it, and they will come” is bogus. There are zillions of bloggers out there, posting their honest thoughts that nobody is reading. Part of the problem could be the quality of their ideas—they are poor articulators of the truth, but there is no question that if you don’t resonate (position) with your audience, they won’t listen to you.
Know the difference between the error of the seeker-sensitive movement and the legalist who won’t change.
Many Christians operate about twenty years behind the culture. And because of this, they don’t relate well to the people and times in which they live. Though the gospel never changes, our methods must always be changing, or we’ll end up like Blockbuster or Radio Shack.
Fundamental Idea – Don’t fall in love with your methods, but fall in love with your mission. If you keep your mission in view, you’re willing to adapt your methods in an ever-changing world, which will keep you relevant, expanding, and influencing.
E.g., the man behind a desk, with a white shirt, necktie, and a big Bible. Today, there is the redemptive use of technology where more than 70% of the world prefers content on mobile devices.
The Christian Analogy
Though our mission has not changed since we began this ministry, our methodology has changed in many ways because our culture is not the same as it was in the mid-2000s.