Equipped for a mission-focused
Journey With Jesus

Are Your Feet Visible?

If your neighbors can’t see you, you can’t tell them who and what you are, and they will never partake in what you are offering.

By Tim Sitterley, US Regional Director

My good friend Rick Shallenberger, who’s article in this issue you probably read before mine, and I share several things in common. We have the same job title. We were born in the same year (I’m a month older, and therefore wiser). We share an affinity for quality adult beverages. And we wear the same brand, style, and color of shoes. I could also mention we wear the same brand of compression socks when we travel, but that might be too much information.

Now this isn’t a commercial for Skechers shoes…although I must say my pair have walked the alleys of Old Jerusalem, the streets of Manila, beaches on both sides of the continent, as well as the Mediterranean and Sea of Galilee, hiked up on a glacier in Alaska (not recommended) …and I still wear them to church on a regular basis. That said, I’m sure there are many other fine brands of footwear out there.

My purpose is not to promote a particular brand of shoe, but rather, to share a marketing principle of that brand that should resonate with those of us trying to bring our congregations into more of a missional mindset. I can already hear the reaction of some at the notion of bringing a business model into the church. But let’s be honest…people are people, and marketing is simply the science of how people think and react. And if the two founders of Skechers can take a start-up company in 1992 and turn it into the third most successful shoe company in the world…they must know something about the mindset of the people buying their shoes. (Like Rick and me).


So, when you are working with short-form mission statements like “You’re Included” or “From Union to Communion,” you might want to add the mantra that Skechers CEO Michael Greenberg founded his company upon. “Unseen, Untold, Unsold.” If they can’t see you, you can’t tell them who and what you are, and they will never partake in what you are offering. A simple but profound principal that every missional pastor should have tattooed somewhere.

And if this mantra of Greenberg’s sounds vaguely familiar, you may have heard the Apostle Paul say exactly the same thing, only with a few more words. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul speaks clearly to the importance of visibility and missional engagement in Romans 10:  

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?(Romans 10:14-15 NIV

Paul makes it clear that we are not to simply sit back and pray that people somehow find our Sunday worship service. You know, the one in some rented hall with no sign. Culture tells us to avoid discussing religion. But Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 to Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But Jesus lets us know that this will never happen if we hide our light under a basket. Rather than being invisible, we are called to be a shining city on a hill. (Mat 5:14-16)

Does shining city on a hill describe our local church? Does it describe us members of the body of Christ? If not, then we should be asking ourselves and our church leadership a few questions.

Are we preparing and equipping our members to live as one sent? Or are we allowing them to sit back and hope the church leadership will reach out into the community and somehow grow the church? Maybe we should be sharing the old church mantra that says, “Sheep produce more sheep, not the shepherd.”

Are we doing everything we can to let the immediate community know who we are and where we meet? This goes way beyond setting up an A-frame sign an hour before services each week. Are we finding ways to live outside the walls of our meeting hall and into our neighborhood? That can be as simple as handing out water bottles with our church name at local events. Occasionally moving our worship gathering to a neighborhood park. Printing t-shirts for our members to wear. The list is endless, and our GCI sites (Equipper, Update, Facebook, etc.) are a great way to gather ideas that can work for a group your size.

And finally, are we providing our members with the tools they need to truly let their light shine as they begin to step out into their neighborhoods? Do we give them touch cards and printed material? Do we have a viable website they can refer people to? Has our Faith Avenue team set up connect groups they can invite people to?

Skechers utilized every opportunity to get their brand name in front of the public, from giant billboards, to placards in major stadiums, to celebrity endorsements from people like Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg, Doja Cat (and now Rick and me). They relentlessly go above and beyond to make sure they are never unseen.

You are probably thinking that billboards and celebrity endorsements are not in your future. But I disagree. The men, women, and children who gather with you each week are celebrities in someone’s eyes. And the best endorsement you can get is when they begin to live out the missional calling of the church. When they begin to be seen, the message can be told. And those who hear can now believe.

Romans 10:15 ends with “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Skechers are optional.

4 thoughts on “Are Your Feet Visible?”

  1. Very original and helpful. Our „light“ ought not be hidden. We need to be both wise and bold in the preaching of the gospel. Let us be Spirit guided visible conduits for Jesus in our words and in our deeds.

  2. As Jesus said, the fields are ripe for harvest. Harvesting is always done with a sense of urgency. Our denomination sat for 25 years and pondered the harvest; it’s time to sharpen the sickle and “get ‘er done.”

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