One of the hardest things when starting off in ministry (this includes business that God has called you to do) is to find people who need what you are offering, I believe that this is why many believers end up frustrated, uncertain, giving up or even compromising. I’ve read quite a few articles which give you ‘strategies’ to get customers etc. but all of these are based on worldly business strategies. Should God’s set-apart ones follow worldly strategies to build a business, charity or social enterprise?
One issue that I have had to face in ministry/business is working out exactly what it is I’m providing, if you read my last post entitled ‘On when to start your ministry’ you will notice that I tried many things which failed because I had no idea what it was that I was actually supposed to be doing. I was looking for that ‘niche’ that would set me apart from others, and so I turned to the Dummies Guide for Business and other such like Business reference books to get ideas on how to find my niche. It was a long process before I found out that I was going about things the wrong way, just because I thought that an idea was great or that I believed people really needed what I had, it didn’t make the idea fool-proof. There is only one thing that guarantees success when doing God’s work (yes, of course God) but actually it’s YOU.
This is something that I have been pondering over for a while, ever since I heard a talk by Jacqueline Nwokeji-Ani who was talking about her book entitled Your Talent is your Wealth* and was stirred up again by a comment by Amy Layne Litzelman from the last post. The one thing I didn’t understand which I really needed to know and own was that I am my niche. When you understand that you are your niche you also begin to understand that you are your ministry and your business, not an idea.
When God chose and called you, He didn’t call you because you would have a great idea He called you because you are the perfect and the only person up to doing this job.
Phew, this was and still is such a revelation for me but one that excites me.
You don’t have to worry about finding that idea to make your ministry or business a success but you do have to understand who you are in order to unlock the key that will make what you do bear fruit. This is another hard area for Believers to get a hold on, learning and understanding who we are, the unique individual that God has created us to be is a difficult and often heart-breaking journey but when we don’t know ourselves we start to act like others and we end up feeling depressed and frustrated because we are not doing that which we born to do i.e. be ourselves. This is why God has to take us through His painful refining process so that we can begin to see who we truly are beneath all the dross of the world, but don’t worry I’m not going to go into this area today! Today I want to focus on how we can find and begin to understand the people who need US, I just want to focus on one ‘strategy’ which God has opened me up to, this strategy is geared towards those who have an online presence, I will use myself as an illustrative example.
In August last year I started to blog using WordPress, I felt that God had called me to share the things which He had been teaching me about health, wellness and healing with others but most importantly I felt that He wanted me to share the pains and joys, the highs and lows with others who were experiencing chronic health problems and who needed to see His face in their pain, it really wasn’t my idea to make my brokenness so public. Prior to this I had been blogging on my small-business site Shalom Candles, still I guess on the same thing but with less of an emphasis on what was happening deep down inside me. Shalom Candles represented my clued up self whilst I am a Vessel of God represented my true self. In the process of blogging I have begun to discover who I am and it has not always been easy or pretty, but as time went on I started to make connections with different people and more people subscribed to my blog. I found that a lot more people seemed to want to know about this broken side of me then the together version which really did shock me, but I guess people can sense when it’s really YOU and not a pretend version and they feel safer and more comfortable around that person, they trust you more because they ‘buy’ into you, I know this is true because when I subscribe to someone’s blog or connect with another person I’m not connecting with what they can offer me I’m connecting with that unique soul.
What has also surprised me are the number of people who do not belong to the blogging community who visit I am a Vessel of God, I can see who my visitors are from checking my statistics page. The statistics page doesn’t tell me who each individual person is but I’m able to build up an idea of the type of people who visit my blog based on what they are searching for, where they have been referred from and what they tend to click next (external sites only). From monitoring my statistics I have found that most people visit my blog for four reasons:
- they want to understand what it means to be a vessel of God,
- they have the same health condition as myself and are looking for help, advice, support,
- they are also broken and are looking for God in their brokenness
- and lastly because they have a heart cry for Israel.
All of these things are what I write about naturally because they are a part of who I am, so the fact that there are people who are regularly searching for these terms tell me that there are people who need me or something that I am able to provide, whatever it may be for. Based on these search terms I have re-structured my blog to make it as accessible and informative as possible and as soon as I did this I noticed that my web traffic almost doubled!
I’m not sure where the blog will go but I have now linked it back to my small-business and ministry sites which also focus on who I am but in different ways, maybe the next step would be to have a look at the statistics for those sites and try to understand the needs of the people who visit them. Until that time, I’ll just keep on being me and waiting for God to send the people that need what I have to give.
What strategies do you use to find, understand and connect with the people who need You?
Similar blog post that might encourage you Purchased! Seeing value in YOU.
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Blessings and shalom to you In Messiah
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