Reputations Are Magnified in Rural Settings

This week, I’m puBook Cover Final_hiresblishing my first novel, Sheep Among Wolves (You can purchase it here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IRTQ1FE ).  I co-wrote it with my friend Tony Harmon.  It has literally been a labor of love.

However, this week, it becomes more than that.  As I place it on sale, I want people to purchase it and read it and like it.  As I’ve looked at various marketing strategies on how to effectively sell the book, one thing kept coming up over and over and over again:  Reputation matters.

If the book is filled with errors, people will tell you so and you will earn a poor reputation.  If the book is boring or too long or underwhelming, people will write bad reviews and you will earn a poor reputation.

A poor reputation often equals poor sales.  There is a reason Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, and Tom Clancy sell a lot of books.  They have a good reputation.  A bad reputation, even at the start, can ruin a budding writing career.

Your reputation matters.

That is especially true in rural ministry.

Let’s face it, small towns love gossip.  One wrong move, poor Facebook post decision, or scandalous event and it will spread like wildfire.  It doesn’t even have to be true.  It just needs to be juicy.  One juicy rumor can topple an effective ministry.

Don’t believe me?  Meet with a female student behind closed doors.  Even if nothing happens, the rumors will fly and people will question your judgment.  Once that happens, your ministry potential goes by the way side.

So be smart.  Protect your reputation.  Don’t put yourself in a compromising position.  Make good social media decisions.  Always think before speaking or acting.  Look at things through the lens of public perception.

Ask yourself this question:  Is it worth my ministry?

In a rural setting, rumors can kill your ministry.  You have to be proactive.

Now, you must certainly fight rumors (and I’ll tackle that issue next time), but the best way to avoid them is to not give someone ammunition.

It’s true in publishing and it’s true in ministry.

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Wayne Yeager is the pastor at Glasford Baptist Church in the small town of Glasford, Il. As a 12-year veteran of ministry, his experience comes from small, rural churches and congregations. Wayne is married to Sara and they have two children. Wayne attends Liberty Seminary, studying for a Masters of Divinity in Christian Counseling. You can follow Wayne's blog at http://wyeager.blogspot.com.

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