by Tricia Simmons, Director of the Lulu Storyteller Team
When it’s time for me to create a social media post for The Lulu Tree, my training in marketing kicks in. I want the post to convey an encouraging message, move hearts, and kindle a desire to learn more about who we are and what we do. My training also insists every post should have a call to action, and everything in me wants that call to be a bold and compelling invitation to partner with us.
That’s when the Spirit gently reminds me not to lean on my marketing education, but rather to trust Him — to keep the focus on Him, and He will draw those meant to partner with us.
I say, “But God, kids sell! A cute kid’s face touches hearts and moves people to give. A photo of a pastor just isn’t the same.”
And I hear Him say, “But my heart is for those children to be led by a shepherd, a pastor who will not just give them food or clothing, but more importantly will give them Me.”
I sigh and agree that what is indeed most important is that all come to know Jesus as Lord. For what good is it if they gain the world but lose their souls? “But God, how do I sell the need for you? How do I effectively share the need for equipping pastors when children are hungry? People respond to emotional pleas and dramatic photos.”
“Daughter, I don’t need a flashy campaign. Remind my children to look up at the stars and remember that I call each one by name. Remind them to look at the sunset and remember that I set the world into motion. Remind them to take a deep breath and ponder the first breath I breathed into Adam. That same breath is in them. Remind them that the greatest gift they have ever received is My forgiveness, and I have called them to share this good news with others.”
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
I know these things. But the practice of living out my faith is like going to the gym and actually lifting weights, rather than just knowing I need to. It’s a struggle sometimes in my walk with God to resist the temptation to take the easy path and just do what has always been done or what everyone else is doing.
God doesn’t call us to be like the world. He calls us to live in it, yet not be of it. We are not to conform to the patterns of this world — like using heart-tugging words and images to manipulate emotions. Our success as a ministry is not about how much money we send to Africa every month, it’s about how much Jesus we share.
While the Lulu Tree works with pastors to build sustainability in their communities, helping to provide food and shelter, the ultimate harvest is a spiritual one — not only salvation in the villages where we work in Africa, but also in the towns of our followers, our readers, our partners.
Jesus urged us not to seek Him for temporary or earthly things but to seek His righteousness, to live by faith and not by sight, and He will provide every need because He loves us. It goes against common sense to take up a cross and follow our Lord, to die daily, and to pray for our enemies, but such is the way we are called to live.
So, I’m learning how to create social media posts that portray His goodness, His generosity, His kindness to our African family in a way that is simply all about glorifying Him. After all, I began supporting the Lulu Tree because I believed in the mission, not because I received an appeal to give. The God who moved me can move others, too, if that’s His will.
We are citizens of an upside-down Kingdom. Our King feeds the sparrows and dresses the flowers. And He tells us we’re much more valuable to Him than they are. He already knows our needs. He already knows the needs of our beloveds in Africa. So we’ll seek His kingdom and celebrate His promises and live like the cherished children we are.
And our call to action? May it always be a bold and compelling invitation to partner with Him.