Does Your Business Card Have a Bible Verse on the Back?

At a Christian media seminar recently, someone asked what I thought of having a Bible verse on the back of their business card. I’ve been asked similar questions recently, and it brings up something worth discussing. Here was my answer (and I’d love to know your reaction):

If you’re in an explicitly ministry job, such as worship leader, pastor, etc, then I wouldn’t have a big problem with a Bible verse on your business card. After all, you’re in the “God business” (so to speak) and your work revolves around sharing the scripture and expressing your faith in a very direct way.

Anyone else? Forget it.

Here’s my opinion: If you’re a filmmaker, business person, teacher, insurance salesperson, or anything else, I wouldn’t put a scripture verse on the back of your business card. Why?

1) Your life should be your testimony, not your business card. If you’re relying on scripture from the back of your business card to show that you’re a believer, then you’re doing it wrong. Live a Godly life, and you won’t need a crutch to help express your faith.

2) I have yet to meet anyone who was led to Christ from a verse on the back of someone’s business card. Let’s be real for a minute – Yes, God’s Word doesn’t return void, but do you actually think people make life-altering decisions based on a quote on someone’s card? Chances are, more people are driven away by the technique than brought to Christ.

3) It could start a conversation, but it could also be an obstacle. There are plenty of people in the world that for whatever reason, don’t like or are uncomfortable with Christians. So why turn them away with your business card? Give them time to know you, understand your business or product, and after you’ve developed a sense of trust, then you can share the gospel.

People usually have the right intentions, but erroneously think a gimmick will open a door that simple, human connections wouldn’t open. They proudly display their Christian bumper stickers, fish symbols, business card verses, or scripture t-shirts, without going to the effort of building a deeper relationship.

So my recommendation is to focus less on explicit gimmicks, and more on developing human relationships.

That’s my take. What’s yours?

 

This entry was posted on Monday, February 11th, 2013 at 6:16 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • http://antoinerjwright.com Antoine RJ Wright

    I agree w/you.
    Personally, I don’t even have cards anymore. I’ve got a virtual card. The logo says some, the name and lifestyle says the rest. More really isn’t needed.

    • Fidler on the roof

      This is all very interesting. Just remember that the Bible said. shout it from the rooftops preach the Word timely and untimely, do the work of an evangelist, we are fishers of men and not undercover Christians. and read Ezekiel 33. We should use cards to proclaim the message to whoever we can, just remain humble and you cant go wrong. Some will hate you for giving them a card, they do not want to follow Christ and you are making them feel condemned, that’s why they rebel. but they need to hear the Word even more so! Do not hold back due to spare ones feelings. I always try to use a verse that is a conversation starter and then I give this very awesome website link on it such as http://www.bibleinfo.com it is very straightforward and in dept. They can study most every subject there in the peace of their own home when the Holy Spirit reminds them to. please don’t forget to pray for them, and do whiteness afterwards! a testimony on a card is a great ide if it is striking.

      • fidler on the roof

        This
        is all very interesting. Just remember that the Bible said. shout it from the
        rooftops preach the Word timely and untimely, do the work of an evangelist, we
        are fishers of men and not undercover Christians. and read Ezekiel 33.
        We should use cards to proclaim the message to whoever we can, just
        remain humble and you cant go wrong. Some will hate you for giving them a card,
        they do not want to follow Christ and you are making them feel condemned,
        that’s why they rebel. but they need to hear the Word even more so! Do
        not hold back due to spare ones feelings. I always try to use a verse that is a
        conversation starter and then I give this very awesome website link on it such
        as http://www.bibleinfo.com it
        is very straightforward and in dept. They can study most every subject
        there in the peace of their own home when the Holy Spirit reminds them to.
        please don’t forget to pray for them, and do whiteness afterwards! a testimony
        on a card is a great ide if it is striking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryjo.castro Maryjo Petersen Castro

    Scripture on the back of a business card instantly makes me think the person is flashing their “Christian ID badge”. I want to SEE Christianity in their business dealings/life style. I’m not interested in them selling what they want me to believe about them. Perhaps this tactic is considered self-branding.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.dennington Bill Dennington

    Phil, I am both a pastor and workfor the railroad as an engineer and mechanic. I can tell you from personal experience that in the secular community things such as what you are talking about here are a big turn-off. This is particularly a problem when whoever gives the card displays a less than Christ-like attitude or behavior after giving the card. Not a good idea.

    • http://twitter.com/PhilCooke Phil Cooke

      Thanks Bill – that’s a good perspective: Pastor AND railroad engineer!

  • Jim

    I don’t use a verse because I really want to live like the devil whenever I want. The verse would cause people I cheat and disrespect to try to hold me accountable. I don’t want that. Period.

  • Rick Wilson

    Excellent points Phil. I have always had BIG problems with verses on cards and cars. It’s so much more effective to BE His hands and feet …

  • Matthew

    Business cards not good… Mysteriously placed on the bottom lip of an IN-N-Out cup, very intriguing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=751930475 Fred Applegate

    I love the comment by Ms. Castro: “… flashing their Christian ID badge”. Bingo. Too much modern Christianity seems to be focused on monetizing the faith, and the faithful.

  • Ron Sellers

    My father (a believer and businessman) used to avoid doing business with people who had a fish on their card. His experience was that, too often, those were the people who wanted to flash their Christianity so that other Christians would feel they were “supposed” to do business with them, rather than worrying about doing business the right way and deserving to get people’s business.

    • http://www.facebook.com/terryhedges Terry Hedges

      When we take the name of Christ upon us, whether by using a business card or fish on our car or calling ourselves Christian, for the purpose of getting something (more business, better deals) it is the true meaning of taking His name in vain.

  • http://twitter.com/LPimage Brandon & Catie

    I see your points. Our lives should be a testimony to what Christ has done in our lives. Too many people put it on their car, wear a t-shirt, put a verse on their business card… and think they’re covered. I agree, no one has probably ever been converted because of a verse on a business card. So many Christians have displayed their faith in such a way that it makes many of us not want to identify with them at all. What many see as “Christian” is not what it really means to be a “Christian”.

    I would like to offer a challenge. This is my thought, and is in no way passing judgement on anyone who doesn’t see it the same way…

    As Christians, we can’t separate our beliefs from our business practices. To do so would be idolatry. God must be primary, with everything else following behind. That doesn’t mean you have to put a verse on your business card. But, you said something interesting worth addressing. Referring to those that specifically work for the church and are in the “God business” you said: “your work revolves around sharing the scripture and expressing your faith in a very direct way”. I believe this is something that must be true of all of us, regardless of whether you work for a Christian company or not. The Good News of Jesus should permeate every area of our lives, even if it may cost us our jobs. We should be quick to share scripture with our co-workers. How else are we to offer up hope in the darkness? After all, isn’t that more important than my paycheck? I’m reminded of Col. 3:1-2… “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right-hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Setting my mind on the things of earth means being concerned that someone will be turned away from my business because of my faith.

    For the record, I actually do have a verse on my business card. My company’s tagline was birthed out of a scripture passage. But, that doesn’t mean we all need to do that. I would rather someone believe in God and His Word and not display it in print, than the other way around.

    • http://twitter.com/PhilCooke Phil Cooke

      Brilliant challenge indeed. However – remember that many people work in environments that are at best hostile to faith, so either way – sensitivity is really important. Thanks for posting!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.pettigrew.3950 Mark Pettigrew

    It seems to me that false dichotomies are way too prevalent in the Christian community. For sure, gimmicks, by themselves, never won anyone to the Lord. And they can be counterproductive if they are accompanied by lives which do not glorify God or reflect well on Christians. But face it, Phil, we live in an era in which people use bumper stickers, T-shirts, etc. to communicate about all kinds of things which are trivial and unworthy of attention. If one is going to use media like those things anyway, why not use them for something that actually matters?
    Personally, though, I think that a Bible verse brief enough to fit onto a standard business card is likely to be read out of context. I’d prefer a QR code or tiny URL linking to an online video with an intelligently delivered message on that scripture, so that the recipient would not be bereft of context. A video with the person’s heartfelt Christian testimony might be an alternative worthy of mention. Testimonies. Remember those? Why are there so few given in modern churches? Maybe because God doesn’t seem to be moving in lives as often as we would like to think? Why is that? Could it possibly be the fault of people who give lip service to Christ but don’t actually walk the walk?

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  • C Davis

    THIS IS NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As a “Christian”, we can’t win. If I put a scripture on my business card I am going to offend someone. If I don’t, I will offend someone else. The possibility also exists that someone gets bent out of shape because I didn’t choose “the right” scripture.

    Nobody complains when they walk into a Chinese restaurant and see a statue of Buddha. Nobody complains when they walk into a business owned by Muslim people and see a prayer carpet. Yet they get bent out of shape if they see a scripture on a business card or a Bible on somebody’s desk.

    The verse isn’t there for anyone but me. Every time I hand one out I am reminded that I am trying to reflect Christ (different than “Christian principles”) in all I do. I fall short but that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. It makes me human.

  • Cody

    In a way I understand what your saying but in another way if someone feels compelled or lead to use a scripture on their card then should have no fear to do it and put their business their livelihood and themselves all in the Lord’s hands. As a Christian business man I depend completely on the Lord to make my business prosper. We are all called to do certain things and their is an easy way to find out if you should or shouldn’t use a scripture… It’s called… wait for it… Prayer! Amazingly enough you can get answers to big questions using it. Pretty cool huh? Lol