Christians have a special place in God’s redemption plan. We are born into the family of God and branded as new creations through spiritual birth, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The APC Membership Committee recently worked on creating a scarecrow for the Alpharetta Scarecrow Harvest Festival. The theme of our entry is “equality.” While the committee actively worked to develop our theme, the importance of “personal branding” came to my mind, and I asked myself, “What is essential to APC’s identity as a Christian community? What do our ministries reveal about our commitment to “otherness”?
Branding, by definition, is a marketing practice. In the business world, it is a symbol or design to help differentiate a company from its competitor. Chick-fil-A is a fast food restaurant best known for their “hand-crafted” chicken sandwich, which distinguishes it from other fast-food competitors like Popeyes. For restaurants like Chick-fil-A, branding is important not only because it makes a memorable impression on customers but also because it allows them to know what to expect. Thus, in the business world, branding increases awareness.
Whether intentional or not, Christian churches also have brands that increase awareness and distinguish them from the world. However, a church’s brand is more than a name, or logo, or slogan; its brand is its unique Christ-like identity and how the world views it. Everything a church does to influence the world’s perception is branding. Therefore, each Christian church must be conscious about their “brand”—about its uniqueness, about how the world views it, and about what the world expects. In fact, personal branding experts suggest the best way to develop a personal brand is to have a focus, to tell a story, and then to live the brand.
What is APC’s brand? What is our story? Our focus is God; our story is living lives for Christ in love, in justice, in equality, and in otherness. Our mission statement is clear: “We are a Christ-centered family of believers, committed to growing spiritually, worshiping joyfully, and sharing God’s love daily.” We proudly wear our mission brand, and we wear the brand of a chosen race, the brand of a royal priesthood, and the brand of a holy nation. Even in this pandemic, our brand continues to stand out, continues to distinguish us from the world, and continues to let others know what to expect from us - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - and we strive, daily, to live our brand.