Name Recognition

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. ~ Brennan Manning


My friend Greg recently wrote a thought-provoking piece.You can read his post: I don’t like Christians to find out why he chooses the term Believer over Christian. Greg includes a video of DC Talk’s song What if I Stumble which begins with Brennan Manning’s quote: The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians

If that’s true, that’s pretty tragic. I want to argue but I can’t.

For almost 25 years, I had a training/seminar business with Heidi (many of you know her from Good Life). It was a slow starter. We hadn’t written a book, we hadn’t done anything famous. We had to establish name recognition.

As the business grew, even when it got to be too much to handle, we never hired a marketer. We were the product. We cared about how we were represented. Before accepting a contract, we talked at length with our potential employers about what they could expect from our time together. When we showed up, we wanted people to get what they bargained for, and hopefully more.

God has a name recognition problem. It isn’t that people haven’t heard of Him. He has written a book and He is famous. The problem is that He has us doing the marketing. When we show up, there often isn’t much Good in the News. People aren’t getting what they bargained for so they’ve quit signing up.

I can remember a time when I would hear someone call themselves a Christian and feel an immediate kinship. Now, I’m wary.

Christian, Believer, Disciple: it’s not about what we call ourselves, it’s about how we conduct ourselves.

Once again, I’m the product. This time I’m the product of His grace. If that isn’t what I’m sharing, He’s not getting what He paid for.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

37 thoughts on “Name Recognition”

  1. At the office we do Monday morning devotionals. Rev Dianne is usually leading and today a great question was posed that relates so much to here. “How do others experience Christ through you?” And so much of what we say is not with our mouths. You are sharing some wonderful things dear sister!

  2. The real tragedy is that God needs no “marketing!” I despise marketing techniques being used in the church. We seem to think that we need to do something to make God more attractive. How arrogant of us! God is infinitely beautiful!! Our stupid efforts to make him more attractive have the opposite effect. If we would simply do what the Bible tells us to do…love God and love our neighbors… I’m not sure I can even imagine the conclusion of that sentence. Great post, Debbie! We all need that reminder.

    1. Hello Jeff –
      “If we would simply do what the Bible tells us to do…love God and love our neighbors… I’m not sure I can even imagine the conclusion of that sentence.”
      Me either, but you’re so right. We need to get down to the serious business of loving!
      ~ Debbie

  3. Noel –
    Thank you for elaborating. I welcome other points of view. I hope I’m always open to learning from differing opinions.

    I agree 😀 with you that the word Believer doesn’t identify a person as a Christian (except in some Christian circles where Believer is the buzz word for “born again”)

    My intention wasn’t to say we shouldn’t call ourselves Christians, but rather, as you said, since the word Christian identifies us with Christ, it’s imperative that we, that I, be increasingly committed to living in a way that reflects His grace:
    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

    I think we might both be in agreement with Spurgeon?

    “A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching. ~C.H. Spurgeon

    ~ Debbie

  4. Wow gracious one. I don’t know what to say, but thank you. May His grace be seen in me, I pray. God bless you as you continue to let us come along on this journey. love and prayers – the other deb

    1. Thank you kindly for your response, Debbie. I really wanted to say the word ‘Christian’ is very powerful. Many people are afraid of it. The enemy would rather us not using it. But it is our symbol and our statement that we identify with Christ. Just like the golden arches identifies the Mac D brand. The word ‘Christian’ identifies us with Christ.

      Anyone can be a believer or an Apostles of anything; stars, moon, cow, goat. But when we say we are Christians, the word strikes a cord. Enemies shiver and friends welcome us with smiles. We should embrace it, love and live it.

      The thing that tend get lost in the discussion over whether or not one wants to be called a Christian is, not everyone that claims he or she is a Christian deserve the honor. However, that’s not for us to decide. Jesus already knows this. In Matthew 7:21,He tells us that “Not everyone that say unto me, “Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

      Thank for giving me this opportunity. God bless as always.

    2. Dearest Deb –
      God bless you, too.:D
      Tonight’s tune: “In My Daughter’s Eyes” (Martina McBride). This one may not be familiar,to Aub, but it certainly applies to you, dear friend!
      ~ Debbie

  5. Hello Debbie! I disagree with you, and I disagree with the Brennan Manning quote, and I did disagree with Greg’s post “I don’t want to be a Christian.”

  6. When I got desperate enough, I began to actually see the True Believers and to realize the others were imposters. A lot has to do with the eyes of the beholder. Sometimes people who do not want Jesus will worship His best followers (instead of worshiping Him) and then blame Him for the worst among us.
    Sometimes we see and see and cannot see.

    1. kt – Hello!
      Sometimes we see and see and cannot see. Yes. And you’re so right, when we can’t see, we’re usually not looking in the right place.
      Good to ‘see’ you, by the way… 😀
      ~ Debbie

  7. Love this post, Deb! I usually call myself a “person of faith” since what I believe runs the gamut – Judeo-Christian foundation, bit of Zen, native wisdom.

    PS Did you get my email? Not sure if my gmail account is hinky. Not everything is going through. Talk to youse soon!


    1. Ruth –
      Thank you, my friend.
      No email from you has graced my inbox. Would you mind resending? I think the Texas thunderstorms must have carried it off!
      ~ Debbie

  8. Great good word, Sis Debbie! And I really have to go with Heidi’s thought that God “loves those who struggle best”–as a sister struggler, that’s a great hope to hang onto! I don’t know what name we could call ourselves by, and not strain credibility some days. We are imperfect followers of the Christ with, and in, Whom we are being made perfect, as a life-long process. Since that’s a mouthful–and nearly impossible for folks to understand if God hasn’t given them the revelation–I guess we should pray for fresh manifestations of the Holy Spirit. God bless you today–love, sis Caddo

    1. Caddo – Well said, and yes, that would be a mouthful! 😀
      If there’s inconsistency between our words and our actions, people will believe our actions first.
      love and grace to you, Caddo!
      ~ Debbie.

  9. “Once again, I’m the product. This time I’m the product of His grace. If that isn’t what I’m sharing, He’s not getting what He paid for.”
    Oh, wow. How did you know exactly what I needed to hear?

    1. Dear SueBE –
      I’m a woman of many words, so trying to convey my thoughts in 300 is a challenge. Thank you for ‘getting it’! 😀
      love and grace to you, SueBe!
      ~ Debbie

  10. Debbie, you are teaching me to turn my entire head around – not like the exorcist (exactly) 😉 … but to RETHINK WHO GOD REALLY IS …

    I have known many Christians who say they believe in God and walk out the door and behave like monsters. When i was a young person, i remember seeing monsters in church. These people were absolutely criminals yet SO “POWERFUL” in the church … i was sure God was punishing me twice for being victimized by “people of God”.

    God SURE gets a bad rap with some of His “servants”. OK, i need to explore this.

    1. YES! I think this is why so many of my friends are turned off by God. I call myself a Woman of Faith rather than a Christian or a Catholic for these very reasons. Walking the Talk is HARD. That is what made Jesus a Great Teacher. Christians in name only, take his Walk and cheapen it.

      THAT irks me!

      XXOOO Jen

      1. Jen – that’s so well said: “Christians in name only take his Walk and cheapen it”. I have about 8000 opinions on this but I think I’ll stop with a prayer for you that your light will shine and His light will shine on you, dear Jen,
        love and peace,
        ~ Debbie

    2. deal mel –
      We’re are such imperfect people, trying to represent the love of a perfect God. We certainly fail often. I’m so very sorry for the hurt you’ve known in the church. Sometimes you have to look past us instead of at us to see His grace. It shouldn’t be that way but it is.
      You’re so loved by Him and me,
      ~ Debbie

  11. Absolutely fabulous piece. He isn’t getting what he paid for – way too often! Thank you for your intentionally conscious insight into ‘who’ we should be every moment of every day! You inspire me. Thank you.

  12. Debbie– I love that you wrote about this! If I’d have thought about it earlier my post yesterday would have used the ‘Believer’, not the ‘Christian’ label. I’m going to incorporate that into my thinking. Thank you so much for this post.

    Christ was most harsh with the Pharisees, and hung out with the prostitutes and outcasts. I like to think He loves those who struggle best. My God is love. Those who take pride in hating in His name… I wish they wouldn’t use His name. To me, it seems synonymous with taking His name in vain. It is dishonoring to the God I love when someone acts so hatefully. We are not to judge. We are to love–even our enemies.

    1. “Once again, I’m the product. This time I’m the product of His grace. If that isn’t what I’m sharing, He’s not getting what He paid for.”

      That was a great comment, I may have to borrow that!! We can do so much damage by the way we live, or the way we don’t live. Thank you for today’s grace.

      Thank you Debbie for the links, I’m honored oh graceful one!

      Blessings to you

      1. Greg – Thank you for the inspiration. I had a different topic in my but I couldn’t get your post out of my head! 😀
        love and grace, my friend,
        ~ Debbie

    2. Heidi-
      What great thoughts you’ve shared here!
      “My God is love. Those who take pride in hating in His name… I wish they wouldn’t use His name. To me, it seems synonymous with taking His name in vain.”
      I would never have thought of it that way, but I agree with you.
      You know how, when your kids are little, everyone says: Be careful what you say and do – they’re watching you all the time.
      Maybe someone needs to remind those of us who profess to love Jesus that folks are watching us all the time!
      Thank you for sharing your wisdom – I value it so much!
      ~ Debbie

  13. So well said, Debbie. One of my favorite quotes too, and good song. I attended a session at a youth workers convention that dealt with that very thing. People like Jesus, but his followers? Not so much. I like the way you set it as marketing. I’m not always his best poster child for sure. Great post!

    1. “People like Jesus, but his followers? Not so much.” boy, that’s sad, isn’t it. Maybe it’s because we’re always running ahead or lagging behind. Following doesn’t seem to come naturally. Thanks, my friend,
      ~ Debbie

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