Have you visited a website, blog or discussion board and read messages completely unrelated to the topic in the comments section? Even if the comment is relative, someone may try to sneak in an advertisement for their own blog, website, or sales business. Ever open your email inbox and see a SPAM folder?
Shady marketing practices are nothing new, but why are Kingdom citizens adopting similar habits? There are many avenues for free or inexpensive advertisements that aim to provide these services to the community and welcome them. While our friends and relatives may become our supporters, we should not automatically enroll them in our sales forces.
It is standard now for many movement ministries to have eye-catching flyers, websites, postcards, and graphics to promote ministry-related events. Because we have a visual ministry, this can work very well to give the potential participant an idea of what to expect. Spread the Word, by all means, but when we become reckless self-promoters, we run the risk of being labeled opportunists and may even cause others to question our true motives.
In the ministry realm, we may not hear from someone until they have an event to promote. This gathering may not include your ministry as a participant, but in essence, an endorsement is being requested or implied. When we receive emails in our inboxes with a request to forward the contents to our entire lists, we have the option to oblige or not. We must carefully consider what we are sending! Constantly bombarding our friends and associates with every event happening worldwide may make us operate like e-blast services (which businesses charge for) instead of concerned friends.
If we want to share the good news about upcoming dance conferences, concerts, and products, it is natural to send that information to people who share the same interests. We should always grant people the option of whether or not they want to participate. They should have a choice whether or not their entire database or friends list receives your information. Forcing ourselves in the faces of others may not only get us rejected, but diminish our respect among others.
In public areas where construction is taking place, we may see the words "POST NO BILLS." This is a request by the builder for promotoers and advertisers not to place posters or advertisements in places where persmission has not been granted. Someone paid the price for the wood or other materials to be there. We do not have the "right" to obtain free advertisement from anyone without permission or invitation.
POST NO BILLS DEFINED
Comes from era before electronic communications. One way to advertise, especially shows, was to "post" or put up on building, lamp posts, etc., "bills" or advertisements. "Post No Bills" meant don't clutter up this space with your advertisements.
In social networking, the current trend is to "post" ads, flyers, and pictures on the pages of others without permission. If we do this in our own territory (websites, blogs, social media, etc), this gives supporters the opportunity to share the good news by choice. When we request associates and friends just to increase our marketing base, we may unintentionally (or intentionally) use each other for our own gain.
When I want to get the word out about an event, I contact a graphics designer (who I pay) to produce the image. If I want postcards with the image, I order postcards/posters/promotional items (for which I pay). To reach a larger audience, I may reach out to my radio or print media associates for advertising (and pay for the benefits). I also praise God for favor in these areas. There have been times that I have been blessed with complimentary graphics, ads, materials, etc, but I did not expect these services to be provided without blessing the provider.
Posting ministry or personal information on the pages, websites, homes, cars (ouch), and other areas without invitation or permission could very well mean that we are using our neighbors for our own gain. Only the Lord truly knows our motives. While some of us may innocently copy the practices of those around us, when we know better, we must do better. Consider your neighbor. Networking and advertisement alone do not make events and ministries successful, but can be a tremendous help. While promoting events and ministries greatly blesses the Kingdom, without honest motives, we only cause division. Ignorance is not a defense. When all is said and done, true promotion only comes from God!
NEW KING JAMES BIBLE VERSION
1 Chronicles 21:24
Then King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing."
Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.