Branding is simply telling a story about who you are and inviting people to participate.
Sometimes we assume that branding is a bad thing in ministry, because we aren’t trying to promote a product or turn a profit. We aren’t concerned with the bottom line, we’re concerned with the kingdom of God and people’s participation in it. But if we understand the purpose of branding and we search scripture, I think we’ll find that God cares a lot about branding.
Many stories in scripture include design, architecture, textiles and construction. I’ve written an entire article about this, but one passage that stands out to me is Exodus 28:2, when God tells Moses “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.” This conversation takes place in the context of God’s directions to the Israelites about His design for the tabernacle. God tells Moses that Aaron’s priestly clothing should have a 2-fold purpose. It is for glory and for beauty. Often, we assume that beauty conflicts with the glory of God, that to make or buy something for the purpose of beauty would be superficial and wrong in God’s eyes. But that’s not what we see here. This passage suggests that, since Aaron will be representing the very presence of God, as a servant and leader in the tabernacle, he should dress in a way that is representative and worthy of the greatness of God.
In our churches, we have the opportunity to present our message in a way that is worthy of an excellent God. The way we present our message tells people how important it is to us. Think about it this way. When you go to a restaurant and everything you experience before the waiter brings your dinner is excellent, it shapes your opinion of the food, right? If the building is charming, and the booths are plush, and the menu is beautiful, and the waiter is top-notch, it says something about what kind of food you’re about to experience. The restaurant owner takes pride in what he or she is about to serve you. The food is the star, but the atmosphere helps inform you
about how to think about the food. In our context, the gospel is the star, but
everything surrounding the experience a person has with us, helps inform them about how to think about the gospel. If we believe God should be absolutely everything in our lives, shouldn’t the visuals supporting our message be excellent?
So, let’s strive for excellence, not for the purpose of showing off, but for the purpose of glorifying God.