Leadership Conference 2013 - Plenary 2: Can We, Should We, Market Our Faith? – Thom Jeavons
Many of us experience Quakerism as a wonderful gift. We look around and see others who it appears might desire and benefit from what we have in Quakerism. For reasons both altruistic and self-interested we would like more people to adopt our faith as their own. We both wish to see more people benefit from an experience of our faith and practice, and would like to have more members in our Meetings to embody that faith in the service and care of others. From a business perspective this is a classic marketing challenge: “How do we help others see the value of what we have to offer, and grow our movement while meeting their needs?” But is it possible or desirable to “market” our faith? Is this a problematic, even dangerous way to frame this work? Are there risks in borrowing concepts from economics and capitalism to shape the work of sharing faith? If so, are there still insights we can draw from the world of marketing to help us grow the Quaker movement without corrupting it in the process? This session will try to bridge the worlds of management and ministry, of economics and theology, to see possible opportunities and identify pitfalls in conceiving of the practices of marketing as a resource for expanding the ranks of Quakers today.