On Monday, August 22nd, the colleagues participated in a makeover session, a photo session, and a session on self-branding, in order to help them prepare to confidently pursue their career and ministerial paths as professional influencers. Colleague, Kellie Calhoun, who led the session on Self-branding, inspired the team, saying, “you are a good brand! Be authentic and honest about who you are; this will help you market yourself in a competitive setting.” She also reminded the colleagues that the delivery of their message allows them to be capable in presenting their brand. This is something the church can definitely take into their mandate to go into all the world and make disciples of all men.
The church has done a great job at separating itself from the world, but is that a good thing? When you think about Christ’s mandate to “go into all the world and make disciples of ALL men…” does separating completely from the world fall anywhere near that equation? The point is this; every person that calls him/herself a Christian, has not only a mandate to go, but to go to all. For example, the church often leaves out the “all”, and focusses on sending missionaries to a specific field, or a specific people group. Jesus did not make a distinction, he said go to all, and all includes the rich and the poor, the professionals and the uneducated, the broken and the ones who seem to have it all together; all means all!
One area that often gets neglected is the marketplace. The church does a great job at reaching out to the poor, and the needy, however, other people groups seem to be unqualified to receive grace. Take for instance, the wealthy, those involved in the arts, and the professionals. Who is reaching out to them? How many churches are sending missionaries to them? The vision of Abante International is to train young adults to view their vocational career as their mission field; to become influencers in the areas of society that the church has neglected. That is not to say that all Christians have neglected, but that there are very few who recognize this is a real problem, and are actively doing something about it.
What does all this have to do with makeovers, and personal branding as it pertains to the those being trained to influence their marketplace? A lot, actually. The reason Abante International invests in discipleship and leadership training, cross-cultural exposure, uniforms and makeovers, as well as countless sessions with marketplace professionals, is to help the colleagues see beyond the four walls of the church, and into their communities, including the professional circles. The thing about reaching out to the professional circles is that one must know how to relate to that world. Professionals dress professional, think professional, and speak professional. A missionary being sent to a third world country has to train to be able to relate to that new culture. He/she must learn the language, the customs, how they dress, etc. Do you see the similarity?