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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Business and Christian advertising

A local contractor completed an inspection of a person's property for the purpose of providing an estimate for remodeling. The contractor promised that he would have the estimate completed by the end of the week. After seven weeks of waiting, wondering, and expecting his call, it was evident that he was not going to keep his promise.

Many of the person's calls went unreturned. Ordinarily the person would just note that incident as another episode of life's normal dishonesty, or at least slackness of work ethic. That happens with many promises in our society, and service providers unfortunately tend to operate in a "business-as-usual" routine.

In this "hypothetical" case, however, the contractor was advertising openly as a person who operated under a different standard…as a Christian, with Christian ethics. It might be a benefit to that contractor, and others as well, if by putting this in writing a message might be reflected to all business persons that highlight the message that is projected.

The contractor was flamboyant in his claims: His telephone answering machine message with its upbeat Christian greetings; his business card with biblical messages; his Yellow Page advertising extolling work-standards reflecting Christ; and his powerful witnessing as he first met people. All of those indicators certainly do point to Christian principles. They would lead a person to believe that he was an individual with whom persons could place their trust.

Christianity is undergirded with many foundations: The most prevalent of course is that of the "good news," namely, that Jesus, God's Son, willingly gave His life as a ransom for all and died on the cross to provide salvation for any who believe. Further, as millions celebrate during Easter, He was raised up from the dead, now being alive. Many claim a risen Christ who offers hope and salvation for all eternity.

Another of those foundations is that to be Christ like, and take on His ethics, is to live a life of honesty and integrity; this, among other things, means being true to one's word. People count on that kind of consistency and appreciate it when they find it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying in essence, "What you are doing is speaking so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying." In more recent times we have heard from teenagers, "If you cannot walk the walk, don't talk the talk."

There was no real doubt that the contractor's Christianity was real to him. In fact, he likely was doing some good things as he walked through life. Perhaps he had touched many lives in many positive ways. If so, then let all the glory go to God.

Just a word of advice, however: You might seriously consider the impact of associating your business with the claims of Christianity. In our society that is a very tedious path along which to walk. If in the lineup of businesses a person cannot "be different, and come out from among them," then that business person may perhaps wish to consider a different advertising slant. Whatever gains the business person makes in their personal testimony will be more than lost if their business practice creates a reputation which is "not any different from all the rest."

Finally, please do not take what has been written here in the wrong light. The aim is to simply share with all business people the perception they have left with persons who have asked for their services. Many, being fellow Christians, would like to encourage each business person who claims Christ to walk carefully in a personal relationship with Christ. There is no higher calling, and no greater assurance than to place all trust in the "blood of the Lamb." But, in the "busy-ness" and hectic environment of a business life, be very cautious about aligning your business with advertised Christian ethics if there is a remote possibility that it will leave in the mind of anyone that the business person is simply using Christian ethics as a "gimmick" for his/her own personal gain.

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