The Elephant in the Church

Services for Real Estate Pros

You've probably heard the quote,"the elephant in the room." Well there is an elephant in our churches and it's called "Network Marketing." The question is how should we address it?

It seems like every year I get somebody calling me regarding some new fabulous Network Marketing company. They talk about all the benefits it will have for our church. They talk about how it will raise funds for the church and they talk about how I can be the biggest beneficiary. Now don't get me wrong, I actually think Network Marketing is a viable profession and I think there is some truth to what the people say to me who want me to join their Network Marketing company.

Here's a challenge I face. What if..., just what if somebody in our congregation is in another Network Marketing company and they just haven't approached me? Get this. What if they were with the same company as this unknown person pitching me on their opportunity? This could open up a can of worms that could lead to a lot of chaos.

Now let me share a few of my thoughts about the "elephant in our church."

1. I am not amazed of the number of people who have at least dabbled with Network Marketing in our church over the years and still do. My prayer them is to be bold about their opportunity just like they would about any other business they would be involved with.

2. I've even taught a special class on"Networking God's Way" for business owners. The goal was to give Biblical instruction about how Jesus built the biggest network in the world and how they could use networking as a tool to evangelize the world.

3. I openly welcome people to talk to me about their Network Marketing business. It gives me an opportunity to minister to them and help them discover God's purpose for using them in business.

4. I don't mind Network Marketers approaching congregation members. It gives the opportunity for iron to sharpen

5. I am an "Entrepreneurial Pastor" and I am also a Network Marketer. The only person I've ever sponsored in our church is my son. I am very open about my business to those who inquire but I don't seek to promote it to our congregants. It would be a rare congregant I would consider being involved with as their pastor and their business partner.

In closing let me say that as the economy has slumped, people are praying for God to give them a way to increase their financial situations. They are not so sure even if their present job/career situation is stable. They are not sure what companies they should consider approaching. Some people think about starting a business but they lack the thousands of dollars to get started.

The elephant in our churches is not going away. Network Marketing is moving more and more to the main stream. People from all segments of society are involved from high dollar executives to laborers. They are the same people in our churches. The reality is that people are considering various options and Network Marketing has become one of those options. My belief is that in appropriate situations, just like we would refer a member to a "job" we know about, it would be okay to refer member looking for a business opportunity to a Network Marketer.

We have a unique opportunity to be a great blessing to our congregants when we look to help them in ways beyond their spiritual growth. If pastors or their delegated leaders take the time to learn the truth about Network Marketing, the "elephant our churches" will no longer be a "side bar issue" in our churches.

Stay blessed,

Ced Reynolds, Entrepreneurial Pastor
Network Marketing Professional

Comments (12)

MaryBeth Mills Muldowney
TradeWinds Realty Group LLC - Braintree, MA
Massachusetts Broker Owner

it truely is a problem and hard to address without hurting your members feelings, I feel your pain. mbm

Mar 14, 2010 02:56 PM
Lisa Walston
Atlas Property Group and Abbey Church Properties - Greenwood, IN


I would say that as  a Pastor, you really do need to be "above the fray". That said, I am glad you are taking Networking Marketing seriously as a viable business model. With the economy down across the board, including real estate unfortunately, we all need to find creative yet just, legal, and ethical ways of succeeding.  I am also happy to hear you acknowledge that Christianity is the greatest of all network marketing.  Do not shut your church as a whole out of any benefits Network Marketing may provide to your Church's bottom line. Some of these companies, including the one that I represent, really can benefit the budget. Allow your Board or your Senior Lay Leaders to decide the merit, or lack of merit. That will acknowledge the elephant without you getting trampled underneath. Blessings to you.

Mar 14, 2010 03:03 PM
Amy Law
Alliance Properties - Crosby, TX

I joined a church for it's ministry and for it's networking benifits when I moved. It's the best way to learn who in town to do business with. I think most people have this in mind when they join a church. I do not see it as a problem. I see it as a way for like minded folk to find each other and help each other out. This is why they have those business guides for churches. I think they are great! We are one family in Christ, after all.

Mar 14, 2010 03:06 PM
Cedric (Ced) Reynolds
Covina, CA
(909) 263-4569

MaryBeth, thanks for your comment.  Also thanks for feeling my pain.

Lisa, staying "above the fray" is a high priority with me. Bless you for sharing your wisdom and comments.

Amy, good to hear how you see the benefits of networking.  Thanks for sharing yoru comments.

Mar 14, 2010 03:31 PM
Charlie Gantz
Keller Williams Commercial, Tampa Bay - Saint Petersburg, FL
J.D., M.B.A.

Ced, I'm sure you will agree that a pastor must know much more than the Bible to be able to minister to his congregation.  These times of economic downturn are very difficult for many congregations.  A wise pastor will seek training in business, as you have.  Good luck with your ministry.  Charlie Gantz, Greenwood, IN; J.D., M.B.A.; Owner/Principal Broker, Atlas Commercial Real Estate, LLC

Mar 14, 2010 03:47 PM
Cedric (Ced) Reynolds
Covina, CA
(909) 263-4569

Charles, thanks for your nice comments.  BTW, we just connected on Facebook.

Mar 14, 2010 04:04 PM
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

You're right the fit may not work within the church setting. Too many things could go wrong.

Mar 15, 2010 01:15 PM
Cedric (Ced) Reynolds
Covina, CA
(909) 263-4569

Robert, always good to hear from you.  Thansks for your comments.

Mar 19, 2010 10:48 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

The Church must be about GOD's Word and ministering to a hurting world. Bringing hope to the lost and impacting our community for Christ ! Business is okay, but must never get in the way of GOD's calling !!!!

Mar 20, 2010 04:21 PM
Cedric (Ced) Reynolds
Covina, CA
(909) 263-4569

Michael, good word.  You hit the nail on the head re: never getting in the way of God's calling and ministering to hurting people.  With so many people hurting financially, the church has to be there to help in word and in deed.  Thanks for your comments.

Mar 21, 2010 03:13 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Cedric, I think the other elephant might just be politics and unfortunately misguided patriotism !

Mar 28, 2010 03:47 AM
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495

Pastor Ced,

Today, you're my favorite blogger!  I love Jim Rohn's adaptation of the parable of the sower in Luke's gospel, where he makes a good point.  Rohn says "The birds are going to get some of the seed, and that's not of your making."  He goes on to say "Now you can decide to chase the birds, but I wouldn't suggest that.  In order to chase the birds, you leave the field."  "Just keep on sowing the excellent seed."

Mike in Tucson

Apr 20, 2010 10:41 AM