For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30
One handy way to think about marketing is in terms of a purchase funnel. Let’s say that I have a market of 1,000,000 people. This is the total potential number of customers my business could reach. My sample purchase funnel below (numbers completely made up) shows an awareness rate of 50%. Those who are even aware of my product make up 50% of my total potential. Next, of those who are aware my product exists, only 60% will consider using my product. Of those who consider, 45% will prefer my product over a competitor’s, and 50% of those who however slightly prefer will find it convenient to enter my retail store. For various reasons, only 40% of those who experience the product in my store will purchase it. Of those (since I, of course, make a fantastic product), 90% are satisfied customers likely to return. Thus, out of a market size of 1,000,000 people, I’m down to 24,300 satisfied customers. Not great, but probably not that uncommon for small businesses.
A graphical representation:
Our marketing skills are pretty dire compared to the Most High God’s! Look again at Romans 8:29-30 (quoted above):
Those He foreknew He predestined to be conformed to His image, and those He predestined He also called; those He called He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. That is tear-worthy beautifulness right there! Let’s look at that in the purchase funnel with the same market size.
A graphical representation:
God has a 100% customer conversion rate. None of His are lost. None are snatched away by the enemy. I realize this is controversial. I don’t mean to start a fight between pre-destination and pre-will folks, but just take Romans 8:29-30 at face value. Whatever market size God starts with, when He predestines someone (as used in the passage) He calls them, and those who He has called He did the amazing work of justifying them, and those who He justified He promised to glorify.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
We are not destined for wrath but for glory (receiving salvation and living with Him = glorified)!
Most of our marketing efforts are focused on us. We can be too self-centric. We, like bad marketers, think if we have the best product it will sell itself, and we focus on having the best suit and tie and briefcase to look the part. We prepare ourselves for “ministering among the least-reached.” We study, and pray, and take trainings of all kinds (all good things). We learn culture and we learn to contextualize and we learn to eat what they eat and watch what they watch and listen to what they listen to (also fine things). Yet our results are dismal, and we wonder why they didn’t want what we were trying to sell them. What if we re-focused our efforts around God’s purchase funnel? What if we focus our prayers on what He is focused on rather than our preparation and training efforts? Again, those are all good things, and we should do them to the extent we are able; but they should not be our primary means of marketing. It is the kindness of God that leads them to repentance (Romans 2:4). To the extent that our efforts of studying and training and contextualizing are seen as His kindness, we will be contributing to God’s purchase funnel.
The term “purchase funnel” now has a special ring to it, because He has, indeed, “bought us with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Even more explicit:
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” —Revelation 5:9
All our marketing efforts can rest in the fact that He will procure “customers” for Himself from within every tongue, every tribe, and every nation. Our marketing efforts should instead focus on enjoying Him, knowing Him, and letting the transformation within us spill over as kindness to the least-reached.
Greg is the President of OPEN USA. He used his education to work as a tentmaker in the Middle East for 8.5 years seeking to plant a church amongst a least-reached people group. Currently back in the USA with his wife and children, they aim to return to finish what the LORD used them to start.
To learn more about B4T, read Business for Transformation by Patrick Lai.