“Go! For I will send you…to the Gentiles.” – Acts 22:21 (NASB)
In Part 2 of this series, we talked about finding your message and standing for it boldly, no matter who doesn’t like it. We described your true audience as self-selecting. The message determines the audience inasmuch as the people you most want to work with and who will get the greatest benefit from working with you will respond to the message. Those who don’t probably aren’t your ideal clients or customers.
While I believe that’s 100% true, I’ve neglected an important factor.
Your message is made for someone. You are “sent” to reach a certain market, as it were. Paul had a very clear message, one that he couldn’t alter or water down. But he also had a target audience. The Lord had called him to preach that message to the Gentiles.
Paul is totally committed to the gospel. He was determined to concentrate solely on Christ and His completed work on the cross. This message is of the utmost importance: Paul could never tweak it to fit his hearers or to make it more appealing. But the message is precisely what those hearers need at the deepest level.
While the Apostle is dedicated to the message, he’s also passionately committed to his audience. The two can’t be separated. Both are utterly essential.
Consider the following:
1) By all means, your business should stand for something. Some people will be offended, and that’s okay. Stand firm.
2) Your message should be based on your provision for someone’s needs. If you stand for something irrelevant, you’re missing the point. Your message is only important in that it meets your market at a point of need.
3) Your message (and even your business) is not more important than your market. It’s important because of your market.
4a) Make sure you know who you’re “called” to serve. Otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time.
4b) Knowing who you’re called to serve implies that you know who you’re not called to serve. In Galatians 2:8, Paul explains that he was sent to the Gentiles and Peter was sent to Israel. There is value in knowing who not to focus your efforts on.
5) Unless your message is the gospel of Jesus Christ, you don’t have to be as stalwart as Paul on the wording or positioning of your message. But the changes you make should be for the purpose of improving your ability to reach your target audience.