Tim Sinclair is a radio personality on one of the top Christian morning shows in the country, Mornings with Tim and Pam. For over a decade, he has been helping radio stations and various other businesses creatively and effectively market themselves. His award-winning productions have been heard on more than 2,000 radio stations worldwide and recent clients include McDonald's, Word Records, Moody Press, and the country's most-listened to Christian nonprofit radio station KSBJ/Houston. Tim has written for CCM Magazine and the Huntsville Times. For more about Tim, please visit his website, http://www.tim-sinclair.com.
The church spends $1.5 million for every one new follower of Jesus. Apple sells 26 iPads every minute. What is it that makes Apple so exciting and Jesus so boring? What is it that compels someone to bring their iPod everywhere and their Bible nowhere? In a word: marketing. Jesus is a life-changing product with lousy salespeople-people who are intimidated and embarrassed by the word "evangelism" and who show more enthusiasm for their gadgets than their God.
What would life look like if we stopped mass-marketing Jesus and started marketing our faith like Nike and Apple market their products--sharing relationally, from person to person? Using examples from these and other successful companies, author Tim Sinclair challenges Christians to throw out their casual attitudes toward faith and sign on for a marketing campaign for the Savior.
Written with the wit and wisdom of an experienced marketer, Branded peels away the feelings of fear and encourages readers how to share their faith in ways that are honest, authentic, and, most importantly, effective.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters. I write non-fiction so, technically, none. However, the topics I address in my blog and my books are direct reflections of my own life and the things that God is teaching me or pushing me to better understand.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? If skydiving is “quirky” then that’s what I’ll go with. I did it for my 27th birthday. I willingly jumped out of a perfectly good airplane from
14,000 feet with a complete stranger strapped to my back. Six years later, now that I’m married and have two kids, I’ve been informed that I’m not allowed to do anything that “quirky” anymore.
When did you first discover that you were a writer? The proficiency to write was evident in my high school and college days, but I don’t think I knew I was a writer until much later. In fact, it wasn’t until I started regularly blogging about three years ago that I realized writing was not just something I enjoyed, but was something I was passionate about.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. I’m mainly a non-fiction guy, and anything that makes me think creatively is especially fun to read. I love business stuff by Seth Godin equally as much as spiritual stuff from Francis Chan and Donald Miller. In the fiction world, John Grisham has long been a favorite.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world? I try to give myself permission to say no. There are always more things that I could do, but I work hard to only be involved with the things I should do. I also “relax” by spending time with my two boys. Nothing puts the world into perspective better than being squirted in the face by a three year old with a water gun.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? I was recently one of four finalists for the public address announcer job at Wrigley Field in
. The Cubs were looking for a new voice, and out of 3,000 applicants I was one of the final few. The team brought me to Chicago (twice) to try out, meet the owner, and spend a few minutes with Hall of Fame legend Ernie Banks. It was surreal. Chicago
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why? A giraffe, I suppose. I’m tall, and I would be perfectly content eating most of the day. I tend to be a pretty easy going person, and (as best I can tell) giraffes are pretty easy going creatures. I also have knobby knees.
What is your favorite food? I’m going to say deep-dish pizza. But there are days when a burger and fries hit the spot. I’m partial to chocolate silk pie too. And bacon. I love bacon.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it? Honestly, my biggest roadblock has been the length of the manuscript. Being a radio personality, I’ve always lived by the rule, “Take as much time as you need, but as little time as possible.” When it comes to writing, however, it seems like everybody is pretty hung up on having a high word count. So, knowing my propensity for being brief and to the point, my agent and I structured the contract to say “of not more than” x number of words, rather than “of more than” x number of words. This allowed me to submit the book with the content that I felt needed to be there, without the obligation to include a bunch of filler. Thankfully, my publisher was fine with what I sent in.
Tell us about the featured book? For decades Christians have marketed (or evangelized about) Jesus the same way that Ford sold cars – en masse. In lieu of television commercials and billboards, we’ve chosen to wear Christian t-shirts and bracelets, put bumper stickers on our cars, march in the public square, and (most recently) post Bible verses and pithy sayings on Facebook and Twitter – each in order to more widely distribute the name of Jesus.
Companies like Google and Starbucks and Apple however have found a new, more effective way to share their brands, and it’s one that Christians can use to share their faith too. It’s through relationship. People sell products better than pitchmen. Trust influences people more than tactics do. Branded investigates how Christians can honestly and authentically share Christ through relationships rather than through the spiritual equivalent of junk mail and sales calls.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“It’s weird. I’m a Christian, and even I don’t like us very much.”
I can’t tell you how many people have said something like that to me over the years. I have to admit I’ve had the same thought at times. Maybe you have as well. Perhaps it came when the church you once thought was safe turned out to be full of judgmental cliques. Or when the small group Bible study you used to attend turned out to be a bunch of gossipy socialites. Or after the guys you saw pray around the conference table at lunch turned out to be the ones who chased women and drank too much on business trips.
Call it hypocrisy, call it insincerity, call it what ever you want. The bottom line is that many Christians have an “-ing” problem. We’re pretty good at say-ing, but not so good at do-ing. We’re pretty good at act-ing, but not so good at be-ing. We’re pretty good at pretend-ing, but not so good at truly liv-ing.
I don’t know about you, but it seems that to compensate for that deficit (and make ourselves feel better), those of us who are Christians have attempted to “brand” our relationship with Jesus. Rather than actually trying to change, we’ve instead decided to make the world think that we’re different. Think that we’re holy. Think that we’re transformed. We’ve covered ourselves up with all sorts of meaningless trinkets and rituals that (in our own heads) permit us to show one thing, yet be another.
How can readers find you on the Internet? My website and blog are located at http://www.tim-sinclair.com. I’m also active on Facebook and Twitter, and those links can be found on my website as well.
For other stops on the blog tour: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13338985
Thank you, Tim, for sharing this concept with us.
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