Is God a brand? This is the question that I am going to undertake to answer today. Just to be clear, if it is weird reading the phrase “brand of God” just swap “brand” with “name” and try reading it again. I believe God has a brand and that the church upholds God’s brand and making him famous.
I have been reading the Pleasures of God by John Piper and there was a small section in the fourth chapter on the “Pleasure of God in his Fame” that really got me thinking. The section talked a lot about the goal of missions and how the most fundamental aspect of missions is glorifying God’s name and bringing him fame. John Piper spends an entire chapter talking about the fame of God and why the central goal of God and all of his being is to bring glory to his name. In order to bring glory to his name, he has ordered those who follow God to make Him famous among the world.
John Piper clearly states why Jesus/God’s name is of utmost importance: “the goal – even faith and obedience – is for the sake of his name (God’s name). The same of Christ, the reputation of Christ, is what burned in the heart of the Apostle Paul (Romans 15:20).” The faith of the nations was not at an end. It was how the means for how the name of Christ would be honored.
Branding is Important
In the modern world, our reputation, whether it’s online, offline, our business, or personal all comes back to branding. According to Investopedia, a brand is a mark, symbol, term, or phrase that differentiates you from other people or businesses. So what is God’s brand? Does God have a brand? I would say that God has a brand. His brand is in his name, Yahweh, which differentiates him from all other gods.
When God revealed himself to Moses from the burning bush (which is funny because I just watched The Prince of Egypt recently) God proclaimed that “I am that I am”. If God was a brand today, the name of his brand would be ”Yahweh” (If we still spoke Hebrew), and the phrase that people would know him is “I am that I am”. If the goal of missions is to bring glory and fame to God’s name, then the modern world application of missions tactics must be seen through the lens of branding.
Throughout the 18th-19th and 20th Centuries, the goal of denominational and Evangelical missions has been to bring the word of God and the gospel to unreached peoples. Today the global Christian mission’s initiative is to bring God’s name to the peoples of the world. Modern mission agencies have focused specifically on people groups and their overall reach. Yet, with the advancement in technology, mission agencies still fall behind with branding, data, and business design strategy.
Why Your Digital Brand is Important
As I went through Seminary, many professors quoted the Joshua Project and used it as sources for theological debate and class lectures. I was always skeptical because I thought, “how accurate can the Joshua Project and its data sources be? I mean, we are talking about all the people groups of the World and their religious association. Which we can never really know if someone has become a Christian or not without a deep, deep understanding of their values and a heck of a lot of data.”
The Joshua Project is an example of an organization that seeks to bring data and research to Christian mobilization efforts across the globe. The question I have always asked myself is how accurate is the information of the Joshua Project? Well, after some research, I found the Joshua Project to be a bit underwhelming.
On the Joshua Project website, they state that the information of the Joshua Project is “ballpark” or as I like to say, “guesstimations”. Overall, the data sources I viewed on the Joshua Project website seem to support the efforts of the Joshua Project. Yet, the sources which support statistics like “42.5% of people groups are unreached as of March 2021” seem to lack financial backing and data visualization. Not only does the Joshua Project seem to have poor data sources, but as I was gleaming through the data source websites, I found that most websites were at least 10-15 years old and outdated in both design and branding.
All the source websites seemed poorly designed and outdated. Too much text and HTML sites were not what I was expecting from what seemed to be legitimate missions agencies. As a viewer, it led me to believe that a lot of these organizations are not up-to-date and forward-thinking. If anyone from the Joshua Project ends up reading this critique, I’d be more than happy to have a conversation about improving y’alls overall branding specifically with your data sources.
The Work of a Brand Ambassador
Paul was the ideal brand ambassador. He went from town to town preaching the name of Jesus and proclaiming the brand of God. He always sought to monitor God’s brand in each region, identify false information about God’s brand, and promoted the true brand of God.
In order for us to ”do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) we must recognize that bringing people to faith in Christ is necessary. Equally important is bringing the name of Jesus to people and making God famous for the sake of modern Christian missions. Therefore, there must be an effort in missions to monitor God’s brand on Earth, identify fake news and false information about God’s brand, and promote the brand of God in a way that reflects the true essence of the name.
Here are some takeaways,
1. I believe the Joshua Project and other similar organizations are lacking in monitoring their brand and how it reflects God’s brand. Although the Joshua Project has information on who is a Christian and who isn’t, their data sources need to upgrade their websites and include more data visualization.
2. With the many Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox denominations, identifying false information is quite difficult. Many pastors and influencers are lacking in identifying false information and poor theological concepts. There are plenty of agencies and influencers out there who identify fake news in the Christian world, but work is still necessary.
3. I believe that many mission organizations are lacking in promoting the brand of God in a way that reflects the true essence of His name. Many organizations and people do a good job of promoting the brand of God but lack the true essence of His name and resort to “fun and games”. Many organizations and people do a good job of reflecting the true essence of God’s name but fail at promoting the brand of God.
I believe God has a brand and that the church upholds God’s brand and making him famous. Through all of this, I hope that I have granted you a different perspective on the name of God and why having a solid online presence, an understanding of your brand, and an understanding of the complexity of missions all exist together with evangelical and denominational missions.