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Does Your Business Card Have a Bible Verse on the Back?

At a Christian media seminar recently, someone asked what I thought of having a Bible verse on the back of their business card. I’ve been asked similar questions recently, and it brings up something worth discussing. Here was my answer (and I’d love to know your reaction):

If you’re in an explicitly ministry job, such as worship leader, pastor, etc, then I wouldn’t have a big problem with a Bible verse on your business card. After all, you’re in the “God business” (so to speak) and your work revolves around sharing the scripture and expressing your faith in a very direct way.

Anyone else? I’d probably forget it. Here’s my opinion: If you’re a filmmaker, business person, teacher, insurance salesperson, or anything else, I wouldn’t put a scripture verse on the back of your business card. Why?

1) Your life should be your testimony, not your business card. If you’re relying on scripture from the back of your business card to show that you’re a believer, then you’re doing it wrong. Live a Godly life, and you won’t need a crutch to help express your faith.

2) I have yet to meet anyone who was led to Christ from a verse on the back of someone’s business card. Let’s be real for a minute – Yes, God’s Word doesn’t return void, but do you actually think people make life-altering decisions based on a quote on someone’s card? Chances are, more people are driven away by the technique than brought to Christ.

3) It could start a conversation, but it could also be an obstacle. There are plenty of people in the world that for whatever reason, don’t like or are uncomfortable with Christians. So why turn them away with your business card? Give them time to know you, understand your business or product, and after you’ve developed a sense of trust, then you can share the gospel.

I don’t want to be dogmatic and too hard on well meaning personal evangelism, so this is just my opinion. But I find that people usually have the right intentions, but erroneously think a gimmick will open a door that simple, human connections wouldn’t open. They proudly display their Christian bumper stickers, fish symbols, business card verses, or scripture t-shirts, without going to the effort of building a deeper relationship.

So my recommendation is to focus less on explicit gimmicks, and more on developing human relationships.

That’s my take. What’s yours?

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24 Comments

    1. This is all very interesting. Just remember that the Bible said. shout it from the rooftops preach the Word timely and untimely, do the work of an evangelist, we are fishers of men and not undercover Christians. and read Ezekiel 33. We should use cards to proclaim the message to whoever we can, just remain humble and you cant go wrong. Some will hate you for giving them a card, they do not want to follow Christ and you are making them feel condemned, that’s why they rebel. but they need to hear the Word even more so! Do not hold back due to spare ones feelings. I always try to use a verse that is a conversation starter and then I give this very awesome website link on it such as http://www.bibleinfo.com it is very straightforward and in dept. They can study most every subject there in the peace of their own home when the Holy Spirit reminds them to. please don’t forget to pray for them, and do whiteness afterwards! a testimony on a card is a great ide if it is striking.

      1. This
        is all very interesting. Just remember that the Bible said. shout it from the
        rooftops preach the Word timely and untimely, do the work of an evangelist, we
        are fishers of men and not undercover Christians. and read Ezekiel 33.
        We should use cards to proclaim the message to whoever we can, just
        remain humble and you cant go wrong. Some will hate you for giving them a card,
        they do not want to follow Christ and you are making them feel condemned,
        that’s why they rebel. but they need to hear the Word even more so! Do
        not hold back due to spare ones feelings. I always try to use a verse that is a
        conversation starter and then I give this very awesome website link on it such
        as http://www.bibleinfo.com it
        is very straightforward and in dept. They can study most every subject
        there in the peace of their own home when the Holy Spirit reminds them to.
        please don’t forget to pray for them, and do whiteness afterwards! a testimony
        on a card is a great ide if it is striking.

  1. Scripture on the back of a business card instantly makes me think the person is flashing their “Christian ID badge”. I want to SEE Christianity in their business dealings/life style. I’m not interested in them selling what they want me to believe about them. Perhaps this tactic is considered self-branding.

  2. Phil, I am both a pastor and workfor the railroad as an engineer and mechanic. I can tell you from personal experience that in the secular community things such as what you are talking about here are a big turn-off. This is particularly a problem when whoever gives the card displays a less than Christ-like attitude or behavior after giving the card. Not a good idea.

  3. I don’t use a verse because I really want to live like the devil whenever I want. The verse would cause people I cheat and disrespect to try to hold me accountable. I don’t want that. Period.

  4. Excellent points Phil. I have always had BIG problems with verses on cards and cars. It’s so much more effective to BE His hands and feet …

  5. My father (a believer and businessman) used to avoid doing business with people who had a fish on their card. His experience was that, too often, those were the people who wanted to flash their Christianity so that other Christians would feel they were “supposed” to do business with them, rather than worrying about doing business the right way and deserving to get people’s business.

    1. When we take the name of Christ upon us, whether by using a business card or fish on our car or calling ourselves Christian, for the purpose of getting something (more business, better deals) it is the true meaning of taking His name in vain.

  6. I see your points. Our lives should be a testimony to what Christ has done in our lives. Too many people put it on their car, wear a t-shirt, put a verse on their business card… and think they’re covered. I agree, no one has probably ever been converted because of a verse on a business card. So many Christians have displayed their faith in such a way that it makes many of us not want to identify with them at all. What many see as “Christian” is not what it really means to be a “Christian”.

    I would like to offer a challenge. This is my thought, and is in no way passing judgement on anyone who doesn’t see it the same way…

    As Christians, we can’t separate our beliefs from our business practices. To do so would be idolatry. God must be primary, with everything else following behind. That doesn’t mean you have to put a verse on your business card. But, you said something interesting worth addressing. Referring to those that specifically work for the church and are in the “God business” you said: “your work revolves around sharing the scripture and expressing your faith in a very direct way”. I believe this is something that must be true of all of us, regardless of whether you work for a Christian company or not. The Good News of Jesus should permeate every area of our lives, even if it may cost us our jobs. We should be quick to share scripture with our co-workers. How else are we to offer up hope in the darkness? After all, isn’t that more important than my paycheck? I’m reminded of Col. 3:1-2… “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right-hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Setting my mind on the things of earth means being concerned that someone will be turned away from my business because of my faith.

    For the record, I actually do have a verse on my business card. My company’s tagline was birthed out of a scripture passage. But, that doesn’t mean we all need to do that. I would rather someone believe in God and His Word and not display it in print, than the other way around.

    1. Brilliant challenge indeed. However – remember that many people work in environments that are at best hostile to faith, so either way – sensitivity is really important. Thanks for posting!

  7. It seems to me that false dichotomies are way too prevalent in the Christian community. For sure, gimmicks, by themselves, never won anyone to the Lord. And they can be counterproductive if they are accompanied by lives which do not glorify God or reflect well on Christians. But face it, Phil, we live in an era in which people use bumper stickers, T-shirts, etc. to communicate about all kinds of things which are trivial and unworthy of attention. If one is going to use media like those things anyway, why not use them for something that actually matters?
    Personally, though, I think that a Bible verse brief enough to fit onto a standard business card is likely to be read out of context. I’d prefer a QR code or tiny URL linking to an online video with an intelligently delivered message on that scripture, so that the recipient would not be bereft of context. A video with the person’s heartfelt Christian testimony might be an alternative worthy of mention. Testimonies. Remember those? Why are there so few given in modern churches? Maybe because God doesn’t seem to be moving in lives as often as we would like to think? Why is that? Could it possibly be the fault of people who give lip service to Christ but don’t actually walk the walk?

  8. THIS IS NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As a “Christian”, we can’t win. If I put a scripture on my business card I am going to offend someone. If I don’t, I will offend someone else. The possibility also exists that someone gets bent out of shape because I didn’t choose “the right” scripture.

    Nobody complains when they walk into a Chinese restaurant and see a statue of Buddha. Nobody complains when they walk into a business owned by Muslim people and see a prayer carpet. Yet they get bent out of shape if they see a scripture on a business card or a Bible on somebody’s desk.

    The verse isn’t there for anyone but me. Every time I hand one out I am reminded that I am trying to reflect Christ (different than “Christian principles”) in all I do. I fall short but that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. It makes me human.

  9. In a way I understand what your saying but in another way if someone feels compelled or lead to use a scripture on their card then should have no fear to do it and put their business their livelihood and themselves all in the Lord’s hands. As a Christian business man I depend completely on the Lord to make my business prosper. We are all called to do certain things and their is an easy way to find out if you should or shouldn’t use a scripture… It’s called… wait for it… Prayer! Amazingly enough you can get answers to big questions using it. Pretty cool huh? Lol

  10. Wow… I almost speechless! God is far more capable of accomplishing His work than we are. If my brief encounter with someone doesn’t give me the opportunity to share the gospel in depth with someone, then I must rely on the Holy Spirit to do the work that I can’t do. That may mean that the scripture on my business card is my only opportunity to share God’s word! We are called to stand out as Christians. The scripture on my business card proves that I am not ashamed of my Savior.

    As a side note… We are all ministers! Ministry is not a job title… ministry is an action, no matter what your occupation… 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (see link below) http://mobile.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Corinthians+5%3A11-21&version=HCSB

  11. Hi Phil and everyone commenting. I just wanted to say this was a great article and conversation. I have to say that I can see very well both sides of the arguement, but as a devout follower of Christ (not just a “Christian”) I fall on the side of having it there if you want rather than you shouldn’t.

    First, let me recommend to everyone with an opinion, or just interested in, this topic a book I recently read that was phenomenal, and eye-opening. It is a true story- a testimony – called “The Business Card” by Steve O. Steff. It is probably the best case study of this exact topic.

    Finally, I say that if you have complete trust in God and your relationship with Him that a verse or statement on your card would not cause you to be critical of it or put all your stock in it. God has full control. If I’m afraid of a verse making someone uncomfortable in the secular world then I think I’d have to examine more deeply Christ’s calling in my life. He said we would have trials and persecution in the world, but He has overcome the world. Blessed are we who are persecuted. I’m not trying to please the world, I’m trying to please God alone.

    But if we put all our hope in a business card, then yes, we fall short. It is all on us. WE work for God, not an object. A business card is only a tool, not the solution. If you have a verse on a card then you better be ready to step up to a life of acting like Christ.

    Anyway, great conversation. I really wanted to make you all aware of that book, and HIGHLY recommend reading it. It’s an amazing testimony, not just a book about business cards.

    God bless all!

    1. Excellent thoughts Jack, and great points. I wrote this blog just “wondering” about it, and your responses along with others has been very insightful. Thanks for your comment and I’d love to hear from you on other posts!

  12. Interesting. My perspective is completely different. I do a lot of work with arts and crafts and creating custom items for people. For me the verse automatically blocks people from asking me to create things that they already know won’t be in line with my faith. Nobody’s coming to me to create a witch’s costume or a cake with certain things on it. No I won’t be doing the photographs and planning for your so-called wedding. All money is not good money. If someone is that offended by a scripture then they’re not someone that I want to do business with. If they hate the scripture they’re definitely not going to like me either.

    1. I think you’re talking more about promotional items for your business, and not just your business card. I think based on what you do for a living, then having verses or motivational quotes on your card would be a great idea. An insurance salesman? Not so much…

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