Evangelist or Fanboy?

Evangelism marketing is a very unique phenomenon. It goes beyond word-of-mouth, buzz marketing, or grassroots campaigns. A product evangelist is not merely excited about a product – he or she is a customer who believes that product actually makes the world a better place. It’s not scientific market penetration. You won’t find many traditional businesses using this voluntary sales force, but those that do succeed.

Think about companies like Toyota, Apple, and even Microsoft’s XBox division. People don’t just use these companies’ products. They want to convert you to the fold. They want you to reach the same heightened state of product Nirvana they have. A product evangelist feels it is his or her duty to show you the light. (Look up Guy Kawasaki. He’s considered the father of product evangelism, and guess what? He’s a Mac user.)

This is in contrast to a fanboy. (Thought: Can females be fanboys? I guess the word would be “fangirl,” wouldn’t it?) The fanboy wants to show you how superior his or her product is. Again taking Apple as an example, think about the negative stereotype of the smug Mac user. They’ll be quick to point out faults in other products and try to make you acknowledge how right they are for using one product over another.

The evangelist wants to change the world. The fanboy merely seeks validation for being “right.”

In spreading God’s word, how do we handle talking to others? Are we evangelists or merely fanboys? Do we engage in religious discussions because we want to make the world a better place or because we want to prove our own rightness? I once heard a preacher say that it’s perfectly possible to win an argument while losing a soul.

In Mark 16:16, Jesus tells his disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, and I Peter 3:15 exhorts us to always be ready to talk about the hope we have in Christ. Too often, we Christians either engage or allow ourselves to be pulled into arguments about politics, economics, scientific principals, and the like – issues that will more than likely cause alienation before reconciliation. I know. I’m guilty as charged.

Rather, our focus should be on sharing Christ with others. We should be living in such a way that others can see Christ in us, and that should be what opens opportunities. We should be happy to talk about Christ, but our goal should be to save souls – not to prove our collective soapboxes correct. We should not be Christian fanboys waiting for a chance to prove others wrong or degrade them for opposing beliefs and values. We should be evangelists, teaching Christ because we want to make this world a better place.