You Cannot Serve God and Money
I love when God does his thing!
I have put off working with brands/sponsors for some time. A while back, I tinkered with banner ads but didn’t feel the peace I was looking for. I believe that making money off your blog is smart. But I just couldn’t reconcile having a Ford™ ad floating around my Jesus-y blog. There is nothing wrong with Ford™ (at least I don’t think there is). Having a car ad on your faith blog is fine. But I want to work with companies and people that believe in something more than making a buck – so I held off.
But slowly, I’ve become more interested in monetizing my site and working with brands. So I started praying. And by praying, I mean I said one, maybe two, prayers and didn’t really think about it again.
When attending Blog Elevated, I met Marie Bonaccorse the during the Imperial Sugar #SweetScrub Welcome Reception. We immediately hit it off. Marie laughs loud and loves Jesus. She also happened to be one of the speakers. Her session was called, “Why Creating Charming Cheeky Content Matters in Social Media.”
You know how I talked about being salt and light in the blog world, well this gal is being salt and light in the TOILET PAPER world! Someone has to bring Jesus into the workplace, right?! The week before I met her, I actually saw her #tweetfromtheseat photo on Facebook (shown right). It is a picture of her kid’s fingers reaching from under the bathroom door while she was…(ahem) doing her thing. She took a photo and posted it on Charmin’s twitter account. She believes that since we all “use the facilities” and need toilet paper, why not make it funny?
Her real time responses and witty conversations have earned Charmin the title of Sassiest Brand on Twitter from Time Magazine. (Blog Elevated Speaker Bio Page for Marie Bonaccorse)
I haven’t “worked” with Marie yet, but it was the beginning of a lesson I believe that God is teaching me about how to approach monetizing my blog.
When I came home from the conference, I began Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blogging Academy and started really thinking more about monetizing my site.
But nothing prepared me for what I experienced today.
This past week, all Austin Bloggers got an invite to attend a luncheon for Hawaiian Falls Waterpark. It said free food. So, I said “sign me and my family of 8 up (oh, and btw way my step-dad wants to come too)”.
Hawaiian Falls rep. Amy Stansbury emailed me back and said:
“Bring them all! Families are what Hawaiian Falls is all about!”
Little did I know, she was serious.
When I walked into the reception room, I thought I’d entered a church service.
“Jesus Christ,” I heard someone from the podium say. Then someone else mentioned his name. Then another. What!?
Did they just give props to JC?
Apparently, the entire foundation of this waterpark is built on Jesus Christ. The goal of Hawaiian Falls Adventure and Waterparks is to build up the family relationship through fun and adventure. It’s right on their about page!
They call their employees “ambassadors” and want to work with these young employees to develop character and integrity.
David Alvey, the spokesperson of the seven waterparks and two adventure parks in Texas, said that when someone is upset and yelling in the face of a teenage employee because of some issue at the waterpark, they want that employee to respond in Christ-like love. The hope is that someone watching would ask, “Why are you so nice when someone’s yelling at you?” And that could open doors to share the gospel. We want to live a Christ-centered life 24/7, including at work.
Now, obviously that is an idyllic situation, but that sentiment is at the heart of this company.
I spoke with Founder and CEO, Dave Bush, and he told me that over 2,000 baptisms were done this past summer (2014) at their waterparks and that in the Pflugerville park over 500 scriptures are inscribed under the paint of the wave pool. They also had a prayer walk over the entire park and prayed over the lives they might impact through their work. Amazing!
They view Hawaiian Falls Adventure and Waterparks as a ministry, not a business. I wrote a post called “Don’t Invite People to Church” which basically states that Jesus did not say “tell your friends to come sit in a pew and let the pastor preach the Good News”, but rather said “Go!” into the community and share his Good News. Hawaiian Falls Adventure and Waterparks are the hands and feet of Christ’s message to “Go!”
Through these two interactions, God has taught me two ways to honor him when working with brands:
- Working with Christians who work for secular companies
- Working with Christian companies
While working with sponsors/brands to monetize your blog is great, I cannot stress enough the importance of prayer and following the peace of the Holy Spirit in deciding which ones you want to work with.
Don’t let monetizing your blog cause you to forget who you blog for in the first place — Jesus. (Click to Tweet)
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
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