What does God ask of you?
This is a question that was posed to me frequently by my youth leaders, by our pastors, and by my parents. I believe God asks us to serve Him in various capacities throughout our lives. Some are called to serve in very visible ways: pastors, choir members, ushers, church leaders and teachers; and some in more quiet capacities: cleaning the church, visiting the sick and shut-ins, donating to capital campaigns, straightening the hymnals after services; and countless other ways.
I am a PK—yes, I’m a preacher’s kid. My father is a retired minister, but he wasn’t ordained until I was an older teenager. Even so, I had the unique opportunity to see life from a different perspective. I had spent many years sitting in the pews with my parents and siblings, then suddenly, there Daddy was: behind the pulpit! I watched him preach the Gospel and tend his flock (all very tiny country churches), and it was interesting to observe people responding to him and receive God’s message.
What does God ask of me?
Around 2011, I met some people who were planting new churches and actively using social media (primarily Twitter) to reach more people and share their message. I was curious about their success. Then in 2015, when I became a Google City Partner, it occurred to me that there were numerous churches and religious organizations that were missing important information and valuable opportunities to reach more people. Yes, some of the newer and bigger churches were taking advantage of the Internet of Things, but many churches were not. I felt God calling me to be like Peter and cast down my net and give others the tools necessary for them, too, to cast down their nets and bring more into their church. And so, the Lydia Ministry was born.
Jeanne and I decided to launch the Lydia Ministry to fulfill what God asks of us. Teaching church leaders and administrators how to use modern marketing to support spiritual outreach is our mission. The world has changed, and we as spiritual and community leaders need to keep up. Our youth needs spiritual guidance now more than ever, and churches need to be in a place to reach out to them where they are: social media, the internet, smart phones, video, email…The Lydia Team is here to help local churches cast down their nets.
As St. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, “The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it.” Philippians 1:6
This has long been one of my favorite internet memes or graphics. It is part of what led me to want to work with Melanie’s idea of working with local Churches on traditional and social media. I have a full-time job that I love and find rewarding. But I always felt there was something missing…that those who had a true gift or talent they could use for good were luckier than I was…the grass was greener over there.
I wasn’t blessed with the gifts most easily recognized and highly valued in the church when I was younger. I wasn’t a gifted musician and I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. My ‘gifts’ were having a pesky intellectual curiosity about EVERYTHING, being a fast and insatiable learner, creating ideas that made sense from seemingly disparate pieces, having a quick and witty (known as ‘sassy’) retort at the ready, being an influencer among my peers, and questioning everything because of a curiosity. Those were not traits that were obvious gifts to me or anyone else. They were however excellent assets to have in a professional marketer, event planner, community builder, and trainer. It just took quite a bit of maturing and about 30 years to recognize that!
Two years ago I added a Google City Partners certification to my toolkit and held free workshops around the state of North Carolina helping small businesses claim/verify and maximize their Google map listings. I was surprised at the number of churches of all sizes that attended those classes. But I still wasn’t getting the message that I did have a talent that could be used to advance my faith without being employed full-time by a ministry. Then Melanie shared her interest and where she had been led and I was thrilled.
The public is bombarded with information every single second, shouldn’t our Churches, our message, our Good News be equally represented? Shouldn’t a Church be the best stewards of the resources given to them to spread the word? We are both marketing professionals, including online/social marketing experts and Christians who want to use our expertise to further our Faith in addition to the difference we make to the many micro/small businesses who are our clients. Churches need to have local, practical, professional, and affordable marketing partners. And Melanie and I have the skill, experience, and the heart to be those providers