Guy Kawasaki: Chief Evangelist

Evangelize Your Faith, Not Your Hipster Brand

I bump into tech folks often these days who have the word "Evangelist" in their title, or even "Chief Evangelist." Yeah, I get it. "Evangelize" had that cool factor, ever since Guy Kawasaki coined it over two decades ago to promote the Apple brand. Since leaving Apple, among other endeavors (Google, etc.), he's now the Chief Evangelist for Canva, a design software firm – same hat, different cattle. 

Guy was, and is one of the modern technology sector's greatest minds. He coined, and defined Evangelization Marketing for technology, brilliantly borrowing a word from the Christian faith at a time when Christians weren't all that excited about spreading the good word. In a world chock-full of young turks all too eager to spend Sunday mornings hacking vs. praying, evangelizing tech became an instant hit with Gen-Xers from Silicon Valley to Boston Harbor. But that was then. This is now.

OK Guy, you had your turn. Can we have our word back now?

Today, especially in the technology field, you still see thousands with "Evangelist" on their title. The hipster generation of the dot-bomb era claimed the term as their own, perhaps oblivious to the fact they were declaring "My job is my God;" perhaps not.

I know a lot of these guys because I'm one of them. And while I won't bang on others' shortcomings, I know I've certainly been much more adept at sharing the word on the technology I'm pushing far louder than the faith I'm quietly practicing. A few years back, that began to change.

We all may want to be careful and mindful what we ask for, when we want the term "Chief Evangelist" printed on our business cards, especially when the true meaning and purpose of faithful evangelization has not been properly impressed upon our hearts. 

Wisdom tells me, evangelizing is best saved for something far more important than any technology, brand or marketing buzzworld we've ever known, or will ever know in the future. If we're doing it right, our faith comes first.

So I'm still all-in on tech, but let's promote technology, but let's evangelize about Jesus Christ's example He set for us all to follow.

  • We count on technology to work
  • We know and believe technology has great value for humankind
  • But let's save our faith and evangelization for God

Don't you agree?

Mother Theresa

Blessed Mother Teresa sure was right in saying, "God has not called me to be successful. He called me to be faithful."

I'm no saint (still workin' on it), but I do have faith in this: God loves us, and he wants us to evangelize about Him. So when it comes to evangelizing about things? That doesn't light me up.

Getting the word out about software, hardware or any brand isn't evangelization, it's just P.R.  Word of mouth advertising in the 1980s became evangelization marketing in the 1990s, and social networking in the 2000's. 

Now, it may make more sense to take a little step back from our all-consuming careers, and simply do the little (and big) things to do our best to truly love God back.

 

Words have meaning. Some are sacred.

So whether you're faithful or not, whether you're an Apple fanboy or a PC fanatic, a Google geek or an open source advocate, let's all do today's generation a favor and respect that evangelization was, and is, a term that belongs in the religious – not the marketer's – lexicon.

Can I get an "Amen?" Your comments are welcome, as always.

(This article is a 2016 update from its original, written January 25, 2014)

John Coonen
Author: John Coonen
About The Author:
Founder of Citisun blog. Christian, married, dad, grandpa, event producer, tech-marketing guy, former campaign manager & political consultant, active coffee drinker and go-getter, JCI Senator #64413.
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