What is a Kingdom Business?
First, I like to say there is a distinction between a Christian business and a Kingdom business. What is that distinction?
For starter, any Christian can be in business and many times that's just what it is, a Christian in business. Most entrepreneurs start businesses so they can generate a profit and long-term wealth for themselves, including Christians.
There's nothing wrong with this viewpoint on the surface. However, this type of view can give us a tunnel vision for our business. It can also carry the possible dangers of fueling our own greedy nature and make us lose perspective if our business truly belongs to God.
As born-again followers and servants of our King Jesus, we do not simply run a business like any other organization. In other words, the company we own and run is not solely our own. Everything we have actually belong to our King and we are mere stewards here to further His Kingdom.
Simply put, a Kingdom Business is any entity whose main purpose is to utilize gains from doing business in the marketplace to further the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
What is a Marketplace Ministry?
Now that we have a better understanding of what a Kingdom Business is, I would like to address what a Marketplace Ministry is.
In a nutshell, Marketplace Ministry is God's strategic plan to reach our world for Jesus through our work or business. Ministry takes place outside the four walls of our church. We spend many countless hours a week in the workplace and how we spend our time should matter.
Many of us Christians often feel detached from the true reality of Sunday worship when compared to the daily grind of our regular work week. We have a hard time when it comes to the integration of our faith and the business world.
Christians, just like anyone else, spend most of their time in the marketplace. Our marketplace ranges from home, business, and community. It's basically wherever we are engaging with others.
God desires to use Christians as a living testimony to reach those who are lost and don't know Him. We are God's people whom He chooses to use as instruments of change in a fallen and corrupted world.
Why Build An Email List?
Some Christians are reluctant to build an email list due to the fact that it can feel really pushy and self-promotional. It feels a lot more like marketing and much less like ministry.
The biggest and worst mistake you can make with your online business whether it's a Christian one or otherwise is to not develop an e-mail list. Perhaps you've heard the term "The Money is in the List" before? This is true even if it's a non-profit service. By the way, the purpose of any business is to earn a profit.
Well, let me back up just a little bit. It's not so much as "The Money is in the List", but as a Christian building a Kingdom Business and bringing your ministry to the marketplace your email list is the best way to connect with your audience. Also, an e-mail list will be your most valuable asset as it's the only thing that really belongs to you even if you have nothing to sell it'll allow you to communicate with your subscribers directly.
It's not a system that belongs to the proprietors such as all the social media platforms. For example, if you were to build a bunch of followers on Facebook or Twitter but never capture their email, how will you contact your audience if the platform bans you or the platform no longer exist?
When To Build An Email List and Who Should Be On Your List?
When? – An old Chinese proverb reads "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
Who? – Most people or "your tribe" if you will, do not provide their email address to just any person, so if someone gets on your list, they have currently shown that they know, like and also trust you to some degree already and those are the ones you want on your list.
Building an authentic email list will require you to recognize the needs of your target audience and simply fulfilling that need. These are the people you are building your email list for.
How To Build an Email List
To begin the list building process you'll need to create an account with a list management service, such as Aweber, GetResponse, or Mailchimp.
Alternatively, you can go with a self-hosted autoresponder if you are more tech-savvy. I do recommend Aweber as I find it the most user-friendly in my opinion.
The most basic way to entice someone to fill out a subscriber form so that they can get on your email list is to create an "Opt-in Freebie". The opt-in freebie can be almost anything you want it to be such as, an eBook, Free Report, Check List, a "How To" guide, etc. just so there's some perceived value there.
You would present your opt-in freebie in the form of a webpage or pop-up box. This is your ethical bribe if you will, in exchange for a person's name and email address. Once the subscriber is on your list, you deliver what you promised them.
We do this by way of setting up an autoresponder. This can be easily done through your list management service. Remember to keep your follow-up messages or newsletter relevant to your offer and mission.
Your next step is to secure a professional autoresponder account of your own, so that you can begin to build to an email list for your Kingdom Business and Marketplace Ministry.