Are Christians Brand Ambassadors for Jesus or PR Nightmares?
Catchy tunes make loyal customers
When I was a young girl in Egypt, certain commercial jingles were so well known we used to sing them like pop songs. Combine a catchy tune with simple lyrics and you had a hit on your hands.I still remember three by heart: an add for running shoes, one for a coconut chocolate bar and one for non-stick pans (don’t ask, I will never understand how my memory works). As a consumer, I was naturally drawn to these products as I had an affinity to their jingles. These brands had successfully converted me to a point that I had become their ambassador. What about the Jesus brand? Are Christians Brand Ambassadors for Jesus or PR Nightmares?
The marketing world is constantly evolving but certain principles have always proven successful: the catchy jingles, commercials that play on your heartstrings or evoke nostalgia, and star power.
Star power. Also known as brand ambassadors.
How many running shoes are sold thanks to top athletes in their fields (Air Jordan anyone?). There was a point in time when a product was assured success if it was affiliated to a certain actor/singer/athlete provided that no personal scandal erupted to dethrone the star in question.
The Corporate World’s obsession with Brands
When it comes to its own image, the corporate world is no different than the world of marketing. Any large-scale corporation has a certain brand and image it wants to protect (even copyright) and it will go to great lengths to ensure no one infringes on its image, including its employees.
For example, it is commonplace for employees to agree to a code of conduct and ethics when accepting a new job and to renew their agreement/attestation on an annual basis. With the explosion of social media, most corporations amended their code of conduct to include sections relative to Social Media and the clauses are rather detailed. Companies quickly realized, sometimes at great cost, that the way their employees interact on social media could gravely harm their reputation. Think about it: would you do business with a company whose employees tweeted/posted/shared racist or misogynist content?
Abiding by the Corporate Code of Conduct
Employees have two choices: either to disassociate themselves from their company’s brand (they don’t mention their place of employment anywhere on their social media profiles) or they faithfully adhere to their company’s social media policy.
The social media policies of most companies have certain elements in common:
- Never speak negatively of the company (a given).
- Never speak negatively about management or management practices.
- Never disclose insider company information.
- Never engage in bullying behaviour (any foul language, no name-calling).
- Remain respectful at all times.
- Never post, share, condone content that would be deemed racist, violent, discriminatory, fundamentalist, misogynist.
Employees never question this policy, they simply adhere to it or they risk losing their jobs.
The Christian PR Nightmare
So, if Christians are willing to abide by corporate codes of conduct that include social media clauses to govern our behavior why don’t we adhere to these same principles when it comes to Jesus?
We are the brand ambassadors for our Lord and Savior.
We are the brand ambassadors for Christianity at large.
How we behave, debate, engage on social media speaks volumes and reflects on all of us.
When we don’t adhere to the Christian Social Media code of conduct, we risk losing souls!!
Let that sink in for a moment. How I behave on social media might make someone close the door on Christ, for good. A popular internet meme (and one of my favorites) goes so far as to state:
“You might be the only Bible that someone reads.”
Concretely, if we were to establish best practices for Christian interaction on Social Media, they would look like this:
A Christian Social Media Code of Conduct
- Never speak negatively of the Faith (dogmatic questions should not be debated on Facebook; theological debates will not be settled on Twitter).
- Refrain from speaking negatively of the Clergy (except in cases of abuse- immediately report abuse to the proper authorities and contact law enforcement). However, if you disagree with an opinion, attitude or political stance of a member of the clergy, there is no need to report these debates on social media. If there are legitimate issues that need to be addressed, escalate them through the proper channels in your diocese.
- Refrain from disclosing inner tensions, struggles, divisions at your church/parish – this is neither edifying nor conducive to finding a solution.
- Never engage in bullying behaviour, no foul language, no name-calling.
- Remain respectful at all times. Never post, share, condone content that would be deemed racist, violent, discriminatory, fundamentalist, misogynist.
- Refrain from criticizing/judging other religions, beliefs, faiths and ideologies.
I leave you with these verses from the Bible for us to reflect upon:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity”. 1 Timothy 4:12
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6
“Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus 2: 6-8
This article is part of a series. It is the result of three Christian authors who turned to one another for comfort after yet another massacre targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the divisions they witnessed on Social Media following these horrific events. To read the rest of the articles, please visit: Healing in the face of pain by Phoebe Farag Mikhail and How to give your priest feedback by Laura Philopatir.
Other articles you might enjoy: Avengers Infinity Wars Jesus was the joke
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