I’ve spent my entire professional life at the intersection of two fields increasingly held in low esteem by much of society: public relations and Christianity.
In January, nearly two years removed from cancer treatment, I announced my decision to close the PR firm that bears my name, after occupying a front-row seat for so much evangelical history. Having worked with some 200 ministry organizations and Christian-owned companies over the past 35 years and following the religion news and trends around them, it seems I’ve seen everything.
I’ve helped tell the stories of millions who professed faith in Christ through evangelistic outreaches, an estimated million men gathered for a solemn assembly on the National Mall, more than 150 million needy children around the globe receiving gift-filled shoeboxes at Christmas, hundreds of thousands of incarcerated men and women and their children being ministered to, a world-class museum dedicated to the Bible erected in our nation’s capital, and the death of the Christian giant of my lifetime, Billy Graham.
Unfortunately, I’ve also been privy to much of the underbelly of evangelicalism. From moral failure to financial scandal, questionable ethics to outright criminal conduct, and lack of love for nonbelievers to blindly partisan political engagement too often detached from the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself”—I’ve observed many of the reasons Christianity (at least the conservative evangelical brand) is viewed so cynically by so many today.
But throughout my career, I felt called to advance and protect kingdom work, inspired by the Exodus 17 account of Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses as he raised the staff of God in battle.
“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning,” Scripture records. After the assistance of Aaron and Hur, “his hands remained steady till sunset.” In battles great and small, I saw my mission to help steady the hands of leaders who were “holding up the staff”—those who were preaching, teaching, and launching movements.
While people know me as a “PR guy,” I would submit that everyone’s in PR in some sense. Public relations is merely the public representation of an organization, institution, company, product, nation, belief system, or person—so if you get a paycheck from any of those, congratulations, you’re in the PR department. It’s just a question of whether you’re a good representative or a bad one. People may ultimately reject who or what I’m representing, but I don’t want them to do so because I was a bad representative.
Mark DeMoss is the founder of DeMoss, a public relations firm that has represented hundreds of Christian ministries and leaders since it began in 1991.
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Source: Christianity Today