Tag : evangelism

101: The USPS Program That Could Save You Thousands

Mail Sorting (Image purchased from iStockPhoto.com)The other day, I sent a FedEx envelope via overnight delivery.  When I looked at the receipt, I was shocked at the delivery charge—more than double what I paid for the same service when I started my company (back when I had to overnight Zip disks to my print shop multiple days per week).  I had similar sticker shock at the UPS Store a few weeks ago.

By contrast, over the last 13 years, first class postage for letters has risen just 12 cents per piece—just under a penny per year.  Despite basically tracking with inflation, postage increases usually draw complaints from marketers I’ve met.  And every time that penny gets added, people threaten to abandon direct mail for email, Facebook, and other online tools.

Well, the United States Post Office (USPS) must have been listening to these complaints.  The USPS dropped the postage rate on CASS-certified addresses for 8- and 12-page brochures to be the same letter rate available to 2-, 4- and 6-page pieces (a savings of 15¢-25¢ each).  And they introduced a new program called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) that could save you over 60% on your next direct mail campaign.

Learning From the Past
EDDM is a much improved version of the old “presorted standard” mail, in which postcards, brochures, and letters were delivered to every box holder on a mail delivery route.  If you’ve seen your postal carrier with a tray of identical brochures on their front seat, you’ve seen that kind of mail in action.  There are no addresses on the pieces, because everybody on the route gets the same piece.

The knock on standard mail—even presorted standard mail—was that promised mail delivery schedules weren’t reliable for periods shorter than two weeks.  Your brochures or postcards could literally sit for days at any USPS post office or distribution hub along their journey.  In my line of work, advertising auctions, we don’t have time enough to play that Russian roulette.  And I can tell you a horror story of when an auction company played anyway and lost dramatically—probably exacerbated by mailing across state lines, which often adds one or more stops to the USPS transportation process.

New & Improved
More than a slick rebranding, EDDM is a more viable solution for marketers across the country.  EDDM now expands beyond rural and city routes to include P.O. boxes, something previously unavailable for saturation mailings.  So, now you can ensure everyone in a zip code gets a copy of your direct mail.  Maybe most importantly, marketers can now request a specific delivery date.  My regular USPS hub’s postmaster said that those requested dates can now be as short as two days after the final post offices (called “drop sites”) receive their respective trays—a far cry from “up to two weeks.”

Shearer Printing & Office Solutions, my print and mail vendor, has made this process even more efficient and reliable for my clients by calling each drop site’s postmaster to alert them of incoming trays.  And instead of dropping the trays at their local USPS hub in Kokomo, IN, where the postage would cost 19.5¢ each, Shearer ships the trays via UPS or FedEx directly to the drop sites.  For bypassing their transportation system, the USPS knocks an additional 5¢ per piece off the postage.

Case Study
One of my Michigan clients recently experienced all this EDDM savings first hand, while sending a biplane-designed brochure to three separate geographical areas spanning five routes, totaling 3,023 recipient boxes.  Shearer presorted, packaged, and shipped the trays at a cost of $241.03 for processing and $80.46 for tray freight.  Postage totaled $438.34.  That’s just 14.5¢ per piece!  A brown-shirted driver retrieved the trays on Thursday; the trays arrived at the two destination post offices on Friday; the brochures then arrived in mail boxes on Saturday in two of the areas and on Monday in the other area.  So, with EDDM, the total mail preparation and delivery cost for an 8.5×11 brochure that took three business days to go from mail room to mail box was just 25.1¢ per piece.

Hybrid Mailing
But what if you do have a trusted in-house mailing list or want to target specific companies or consumer demographics through brokered lists?  You can use them, too!  Now, with digital and variable data printing technology, part of your print run can have barcoded addresses and first class indicias printed in line; and the rest can be printed with the necessary EDDM markings.  So, you can canvas a swath of local end users AND a group of specific, qualified prospects across a region or across the country—in most cases without any difference in printing costs for brochures.  (For postcards, you would need to have slightly different trim sizes to use for each purpose.)

Special Design & Production Considerations
All EDDM-eligible pieces must be larger than letter size.  This means your piece’s final dimensions must be more than 11.5 inches long OR more than 6.125 inches tall OR more than .25 inches thick (and must be less than 15 inches long, 12 inches tall, and .75 inches thick).  So, these pieces will often be larger than envelopes and other letter-size mailers in your audience’s mailboxes.  Tabbing is not necessary or encouraged.  A different postage indicia must be used, but most print & mail shops have one; so, you shouldn’t have to obtain one just for your mailings.  All pieces must have “ECRWSS Postal Customer” (for businesses and residences) or “ECRWSS Residential Customer” (for residences only) printed on the mailer panel.  Also, because there are no addresses for USPS scanners to read, there is a lot more room and freedom on the mailer panel for images and copy.

For auctioneers, who often have limited budgets and even more limited time, Every Door Direct Mail may prove itself a long-overdue solution.  And if your proposed budget can gain dollars on the postage line, you can spend those saved dollars on more marketing in places your competition can’t.

[tip]

When I was in high school and college, maintaining “good Christian” status sometimes involved accompanying people from my church as they canvassed the subdivisions on the island where I went to church.  I always felt awkward.  But I fought through that discomfort, because I thought some kind of heaven points were on the line; and I truly wanted people to know relationally the God I recognized as the source of all good things.  I must’ve thought I was vicariously knocking on heart doors like Jesus did in Revelations.

As much as I like telling people about products, vendors, and adventures that I love, I’ve always hated sales—especially theta part of trying to convince people they should purchase something.  I think that’s because I don’t like dealing with sales people or being convinced that I need or want something I previously didn’t—let alone an entire worldview system.

In the past month, I’ve heard both silly and very sad stories of people’s experiences with Every Door Direct Evangelism.  In one case, my buddy was driven away from God and church for 20 years because of a terrible encounter from door-to-door evangelists.  It made me sad.  Stories like that aren’t as surprising after you’ve lived in Ft. Wayne, IN, the self-proclaimed “City of Churches” and Lynchburg, VA, the “Buckle of the Southern Bible Belt.”  On top of my recent anecdotes, I’ve read an editorial newspaper column from a secular writer who’d been negatively impressed from this evangelism model.

I won’t go so far as to say that strategy is wrong or sinful.  I just struggle to find the biblical precedent, the relational benefit, the net efficacy. Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house but met him on Main Street; and as far as I know, the Bible doesn’t record the Messiah or his disciples hitting a neighborhood’s worth of houses.  I need to ponder it all some more.  In the mean time, I welcome your insight.

[footer]Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com.[/footer]

99: Who Should Manage Your Social Media Content?

Unknown Professional (iStockPhoto Purchase)Last month, I was sitting in the executive office of a company with 200 employees.  The chairman of the board asked me how I could help him offer social media solutions to his clients—how biplane productions could partner with his national firm.  I swallowed hard and then told him I wasn’t interested in such—even though his company’s clientele includes organizations for whom ad agencies would love to work.

Why?

Because social media content shouldn’t be outsourced.

Social media is sold every day to small business owners as the new secret weapon in marketing.  “Get your business in front of 800 million people on Facebook and over 300 million Twitter users!”  Never mind the fact that even Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga each have only a small fraction of either of those environments, advertisers think they’ll somehow gain a hoard of followers and fans, just by opening social media storefronts.

If these participatory environments were broadcast media, it would make sense to outsource the work to agencies like mine or those on Madison Avenue.  And for those who look at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as advertising channels, there’s software for agencies to manage the social streams of multiple clients.

The problem is that social media sites are relational environments—places to do online what we do offline, admittedly with both upgrades and drawbacks over in-person conversations.  In most situations you wouldn’t pay another company to go have conversations with people for you at social gatherings.  So, why would you pay a company to have your conversations with your prospects and peers online?

Does that mean that your company’s founder or president needs to spend their day hitting the like button and responding to Tweets?  No.  But the person doing the conversing needs to be someone who can speak for your company—someone who has bought into the culture and mission of your organization.  The same care you apply to determining who you hire to sell your goods and services to clients offline should be applied to those who represent you in online social settings.

Valuable qualification criteria for this role include:

  • Positive, optimistic personality
  • Understanding what constitutes your brand
  • Connection to sources of newsworthy content for market and industry trends
  • Professional decorum yet with a sense of humor
  • Personal social streams with lots of activity (illustrating environment experience)
  • Flexible spirit and commitment to be constantly learning
  • Good spelling and grammar skills
  • Access to company images
  • 30 or more minutes available per day for conversational interaction and measurement
  • Maybe even public relations training or background

In some organizations, multiple people are granted administrative access.  The main challenge of that is to make sure posts and responses are consistent from one administrator to another.  (Having pre-written guidelines and sample responses can help with this, especially for companies where social media environments are more for customer service and responding to complaints than brand building.)

The social media shepherd in your company doesn’t need to be someone in management or ownership.  But they should be someone you trust with the voice of your brand.  With rare exception, that isn’t someone on the other end of an invoice.
[tip]

I am embarrassingly weak when it comes to sharing my faith in interpersonal spaces.  I can throw some words up here on my blog or even on Facebook and Twitter.  But put me in a coffee shop or living room, and I don’t have much more than psychoanalytic questions and “Let me pray for you.”

The problem is that the stakes are too high to play the “good Christian kid” card all the time.  (My dad is a minister; so, I have a large box of those cards.)  There’s more on the line than whether someone goes to church or shares my beliefs.  The potential for pain redemption, spiritual wholeness, and worldview change are incredible additions to Christ’s offer of forgiveness, heaven, and purpose.

I’ve got to stop outsourcing these conversations to “professional” Christians and power evangelists.  The New Testament tells all believers—especially me—to “always [be] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”  That requires more time praying for people and more time inputting Truth into my memory.

It’s good to encourage other believers and love on those far from the Way.  But stopping there is dangerous for our eternal legacy and the futures of others.

 

[footer] Stock image used by permission through purchase from iStockPhoto.com[/footer]

97: Putting a Price on Your Friends List

Dinner Party with Price Tags (combination of iStockPhoto purchases)Thanks to all the magazines to which I subscribe and to my line of work, on a regular basis I find advertisements in my mailbox for all kinds of business, design, and advertising conferences.  Most don’t interest me; a small number like this one do but wouldn’t be worth the time away from the office or the travel expenses to attend.

Then there’s the postcard I received tonight.  It made me feel icky.  Near the top of the list of headline seminars was one called “Make More $$$ Using Social Media.”

If I had a dollar for every time I saw or heard the words social media, my wife and I could go on an international vacation—and I don’t mean Canada.  I’m sure the same holds true for you.  Websites like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube are touted as marketing gold mines, the future of advertising, the magic answer for harvesting clients out of thin air.

I can understand the temptation.  Facebook is a global force, a community well more than double the population of my country.  Twitter has aided revolutions.  YouTube has changed the way we entertain each other.  Blogs have democratized the publishing industry.  Social media in most ways is all it’s been cracked up to be.  In the least, it’s where a lot of your friends are congregating.

That’s where “Make More $$$ Using Social Media” gets uncomfortable for me—at least for Facebook.  Facebook is a permission environment, a relational place.  The online equivalent of a chamber of commerce meeting, an alumni reunion, a church gathering, or the bleachers at a sporting event, Facebook centers on community.  In our offline community, we’re okay with commercial signs on the outfield wall, ads in special event programs, and sponsored arts presentations.  It’s an acceptable practice in our culture for companies to create corporate parade floats, to put their logos on the back of fundraising shirts, to have advertising on vehicles that employees drive home.

That’s why we understand ads around the periphery of our Facebook environment and company pages mixed into the entities that we can like and follow.

The social contract is broken, though, when the intent of social media use is to get friends to buy stuff.  You know that feeling, when someone invites you to a Juice Plus party or an Amway presentation.  And you know how your friendships with those multilevel marketers feel after those experiences.  There’s only so much Mary Kay items you can wear, only so much travel you can book through YTB, only so many ways you can pamper the chefs in your life.  And there’s only so much of your wallet to spend on friends’ wares.  There’s a pressure there, a pretense that often changes the nature of your relationship.

Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind?”  People in your offline life ask similar questions: “How are you?” and “What’s new?”  If you regularly answered in offline encounters, “ABSOLUTE AUCTION! I’m selling a 3BR, 2BA brick ranch in Parkland,” or “I’m having a sale on firearms,” what do you think the response would be?  Friends would suggest that your loved ones submit you to examination for potential psychological disorders.  In the least, acquaintances would start avoiding you and maybe even environments that you frequent.

When Facebook becomes a broadcast medium, an advertising channel—an environment in which you participate only for commercial reasons, you become the multilevel marketer who people cringe to invite to dinner parties and backyard barbecues.  If we don’t unfriend you, we unsubscribe from your posts or hide your updates from appearing in our feeds.

By all means, go to seminars on social media.  Actually, go to lots of them from multiple presenters—especially by those with Klout and PeerIndex scores higher than your own.  There are a range of diverse opinions, helpful expert specializations, and technological updates to consider in developing your strategy in these environments.  So, it’s good to absorb a range of recommendations in best practices while honing your online participation.

Just be wary of emphasis on monetization of relationships.  You would probably never attend a seminar about making money off bar mitzvahs, baby showers, or birthday parties (as a participant, not a vendor).  You might, however, read articles or watch videos on how to organize one of these social environments better or to know what’s appropriate to bring to them.  See the difference?  There are appropriate ways of talking about your work and promoting your business in social contexts.  The way we do it online needs to resemble the way we do it offline.
[tip]

I wish all my friends and family knew Jesus on a personal level, where they feel his pleasure and hear his promptings.  I wish everyone could experience the spiritual highs I have—to feel the supernatural.  Forgiveness, acceptance, love, hope . . . . at a core level.  Candidly, I even wish that they could feel the corrective convictions, the distance of disobedience, and the stretching challenges that have brought growth and shaped my walk.

Sometimes, though, I feel like a religious multi-level marketer.  The way Christianity is too often sold (when not yelled with ultimatums and jingoism) regularly has the same elements: trying to get people to buy into a system and then get their friends’ friends to buy into a system.  We even have the rallies for the ambitious sellers, the marketing bumper stickers, the prospecting home parties.  I’ve even seen churches offer incentives for bringing guests to church.  And we’ve all seen or heard of the promises that televangelists make for prosperity and the ambiguous “blessing.”

The line between evangelism and multilevel marketing for me, I guess, is the heart and its motivation.  Am I wanting someone to get counted as a person I led to Jesus, or do I love someone enough to change their eternal trajectory?  Am I trying to earn favor with a God (who can’t be earned), or am I trying to share a wonderful gift?  Am I trying to sell my church and grow my personal kingdom, or do I want more in heaven and more of heaven on earth?

In short: if I am I trying to sell real estate in the afterlife or peddle a religion, I am an idolator.  If I love truly love people, though, my evangelism will be shaped with compassion and patience, authenticity and tempered courage.

 

[footer]Stock images used by permission through purchase from iStockPhoto.com.[/footer]

82: Long Distance Marketing

Signs to Multiple StatesOn a regular basis, I talk to auctioneers who are proposing and contracting auctions across state lines—in some cases across multiple time zones.  Whether these auctioneers are selling for distant estates with local heirs or for banks with holdings in multiple states, they are faced with the same dilemma: how do we find buyers in geographic areas outside of our expertise?

I hear that question a lot on the other end of the phone and read it in emails on a regular basis.  While specific geographic areas and specific assets often require a custom plan, here are the five general tips I give for these long distance situations.

Join the local chamber of commerce.
Competing now with online social networking, chambers of commerce are often struggling to gain new members and retain the financial inflows that help them serve current members.  I’ve found the organizers of these groups to be very welcoming to out-of-state firms.  Almost all will allow you access to their membership list for direct mail—some even for free with membership dues.  Some even offer email blasts, publication inserts, and event promotion.  Reaching these member roles is an efficient way to introduce your brand and your auction to an area’s leading business people (many of whom are also community investors) and to get community buzz generated for an auction.

Saturate brokers, dealers, and/or consultants with direct mail.
If you want to get the word out to buyers, you’ll benefit from reaching out to their agents and consultants.  It’s fairly easy and relatively inexpensive to grab direct mail lists of brokers, dealers, and consultants within a radius of your auction.  A side benefit to reaching this audience is that they might have sellers down the road; making a good first impression here will help you compete for business against their local options—for auctions that you would not have been otherwise considered.  Some auctioneers I know also include a radius of lenders for real estate auctions, as they regularly have prequalified clients looking for properties.

Partner with a local auctioneer, broker, dealer, or consultant.
Not all pies are big enough for sharing.  When they are, their expertise can enhance yours and help you reach movers and shakers within their social sphere.  This doesn’t have to be an auctioneer.  It could be a consultant, dealer, or broker.  And it may not be someone local to the auction; it could be a national entity with a narrow specialty and a national database for a specific kind of asset.  With the rising number of affiliate and referral groups in the auction industry, finding a reputable partner is growing easier and easier.  And don’t forget that auctions like these prove part of the value for attending National Auctioneer Association education events—to establish relationships with people who might someday enable you to have a successful sale far from home.

Look for asset-based and trade publications.
When researching new geographic markets, it’s easy to just grab the local daily and weekly editorial publications in an area, overlooking real estate inserts, tabloids, and total market coverage (TMC) publications.  Google search the type of asset and the state or city.  The ensuing search results can lead you to websites and/or print publications that reach a more targeted audience than the shotgun targets of metro papers.  Don’t forget business journals and trade publications—for the same reason you’d reach out to chamber of commerce members.  While the deadlines and publishing dates of some trade publications often make it difficult for auction marketing to be a good fit, these organizations often offer email blasts and/or direct mail lists for more immediate access to their membership.

Look for community events.
Almost all cities and counties list online their community events.  It’s good to know these, so that you don’t schedule inspections or auctions during perennial staples.  These gatherings also make for great times to promote your auction as an insider by attending them and/or advertising your auction at the event or in its materials.  One auctioneer I know obtained permission to post giant posters of their brochure cover (of a waterfront lots auction) at the checkout line of a famous, annual Tennessee fish fry and gave water taxi tours from the dock over to their property, where they had signs facing the boat traffic.  The auction was a huge success in an area that had recently seen similar auctions fail.

Sometimes, extending your brand into a new geographic area is a gamble, but you can make it less of a risk by establishing rapport with the local movers and shakers.  Ask yourself, “What would give me confidence in an out-of-state vendor conducting business in my town?”  Then make sure your marketing plan includes tactics based on the answer to that question.
[tip]

As Christians, we are called to take our hope to the world.  Literally.  But no one person, church, mission board, or denomination can canvas the entire planet for Christ.  Does that mean we shouldn’t try?  That our mandate is an impossible one?

No, it’s an indirect call to unity—unity of purpose, of message, of spirit.  I’ve heard multiple pastors from different churches express this in a rhetorical question, when feeling called toward new global burdens: “Why would I start something new, when I can come alongside an organization already doing that work?”

Whether it’s evangelism, rescue of sex slaves, or disaster relief, the work of restoration is bigger than any of us—bigger than all of us.  It will have to be a God thing, not a God-helping-us thing.  After natural disasters and terrorist attacks, it’s common to see political opponents unified in spirit and actions for recovery.  That should always be true of the church, the body of one Christ.

My takeaway: as I see efforts to rebuild Haiti and Japan, as well as U.S. areas damaged by floods and tornadoes, doing my part means helping those already there.  And if I get the chance to physically be of assistance, I’ll be looking to connect with those who’ve been sacrificing far more than their post-disaster weeks and months.

[footer]Stock image used by permission through purchase from iStockPhoto.com.[/footer]

81: Your Brand Doing the Heavy Lifting

Global Force Auction Group

Full page trade publication ad

I recently had a conversation with a newspaper sales rep, who has been my contact at her newspaper for years.  She had called a couple weeks earlier to ask if my clients had any auctions in her region, and I had none to send her way.  That Thursday, she was calling to see if my client would be interested in any company promotion ads.  I told her that my client typically didn’t run lead-generation ads in newsprint—that they let the branding and content of their auction ads sell their services to prospective sellers.

That’s my recommendation to just about every auction marketer with whom I consult—and not just in newsprint.  If you’re going to spend company money on promotion, spend it making your auction promotion look better than what your seller is willing to pay to create.

If someone is looking through the classifieds for an auction vendor, they are going to be attracted by the professionalism communicated in a company’s ads.  They will also be looking to see the volume of auctions you have and if what’s being sold in the ads is similar to what they’d want to sell.  The same holds true in direct mail, signs, proposals, etc.

Counts Realty & Auction Group

Full page business journal ad

That said, there are situations and publications where accomplishing your goals will require a company promotion ad.  Before you craft your advertisement, take a stroll through your phone book, directory, trade publication, or ballpark outfield wall.  Take note of the advertisements you like and why and the ones you don’t and why.  Then use the following checklist to build your piece.

Keep your company name, logo, and contact information for last.
Phone book and trade publication ad designers know you take great pride in your business.  So, they will often build your ads so that you see first what’s most important to you: your business name or logo.  Unless your brand is ubiquitous (think: Walmart, McDonalds, Ford), assume that people are coming to the phone book, directory, or other print medium not knowing who you are or why they should care.  At the same time, don’t hide the logo, in case they’ve seen your brand somewhere else.  You want to build on any previous impressions.

Put information in order of the viewer’s wants or needs.
Unless you’re the only company under a publication category or in your market, you are competing for business.  And every company has a preeminent value proposition.  Maybe you’re the most convenient, the cheapest, the most thorough, the most established, the most innovative, the one with largest market share.  Whatever your competitive advantage is needs to be communicated first and foremost in your ad.  It needs to be framed by the prospect’s benefit.  And it needs to be simply stated and clearly illustrated.  If the shopper’s want or need is not met in your pitch, they don’t care what your name or phone number is.

Avoid mug shots or staff pictures.
The problem with using your face in your advertising is that your face isn’t for sale; your services or products are.  Unless you’re leveraging your own fame—which would require you to be famous (don’t kid yourself)—your portrait adds little, if any, value to the sales pitch.  Pictures also limit the shelf life of your ads more than stock images.  Unless you’re a model, assume that your face won’t sell your service or products.

Print Ad Redesign

One of these was scanned from a newspaper insert. One of these is my redesign.

Use only images that illustrate the benefit or process of what you’re selling.
It’s tempting to use some loud clip art or brash stock image to grab attention—and then try to stretch a pun or cliche to match it.  A good way to avoid this is to start with your core message first and then search for images that clearly illustrate this.  (Know that images aren’t always necessary.)  Before you purchase a stock image, grab a selection of potential images and show them to a handful of people (preferably of different genders and ages), asking them, “Do any of these images communicate [your message]?  If so, which one represents that best?”  It’s not uncommon for me to show clients 25-50 possible images for one ad.

Sheridan Realty & Auction Group

Black & white trade publication ad

Finish with one contact point emphasized over complimentary contact points.
Make it easy to get in touch with you.  If you use more than one phone number, emphasize one over the other(s) and annotate the differences between the numbers.  Never use more than one URL.  Your address only needs to be emphasized if you have more than one location or if you’re advertising a  change or addition in locations (example: “Now on Main Street, across from the courthouse!”).

Police your brand.
Make sure all fonts and colors that your designer uses exactly match your other marketing pieces.  I highly recommend keeping an email with your Pantone (also called “PMS”) color number(s) and font names.  That way, if someone other than your typical designer builds your piece, you can send them these specifications.  You will also want to save regular and reverse versions of your logo, and make sure you have .PSD and .EPS file formats of your logo available.  (JPEG logo files can create limitations or hassles on design work.)  Lastly, keep PDF copies of other advertising pieces available to send for reference.

Your company promotion can communicate something far different from what its words say.  Sadly, most small business advertising says, “I’m much better at what I do than telling you what I do,” or “You need to trust that we’re more professional than our advertising makes us look.”  Don’t be one of those companies.
[tip]

If you’ve spent any length of time in organized religion, you’ve probably sat through a sermon or seminar on how to share your faith.  Many of these sessions are aimed at perfecting your presentation and knowledge of your faith.  I’ve found a number of these to be rigid in their approach.  Maybe it’s me; but I feel like some of these could substitute Amway or Mary Kay, Rainbow or Britannica—and fit in a hotel conference room or Zig Zigler video.

I prefer to advertise my faith the way I would market biplane‘s services—making the value and benefit inherently stated in my everyday work.  If the Holy Spirit’s influence on my personality, morality, and perspective isn’t creating new life in me, then why would anybody else want it?  And if nobody else would want it, why would I use practiced tactics to convince someone into drinking my ineffective medicine with me?  I’m not talking prosperity; I’m talking peace and grace and forgiveness—both absorbed and distributed.

All that said, the Source of our hope asks us to intentionally share it with others.  Through the apostle’s pen he asked us to be ready to give account of the hope that lives within us.  That means telling our respective stories—explaining what God has done and is doing in us and how that came to be from the Truth he left for us.  That means understanding life contexts and leveraging them for Truth.  That means listening before and after talking.  That means extending compassion, not just seeking conversion.

That means you.  And that means me.

 

[footer]Stock image used by permission through purchase from iStockPhoto.com[/footer]

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