I recently walked into a department store with my twin five-year-old daughters, and quickly guided them in a different direction after seeing the sensual advertisement posters hung in different clothing departments.
The more we walked around the mall, the more I realized how this is the norm in today’s culture. This led me to wonder how my husband and I will raise my two precious daughters in a culture that screams everything BUT Christ.
This instance as well as many others gave birth into a new nonprofit called Faith Driven Consumer, which connects Christian consumers with companies that align with their Biblical worldview.
As Christians, we are called to make choices with a different mindset. We are like all consumers in many ways, but are set apart because of our Biblical worldview. Just as companies cater to consumers with other worldviews, Christians also desire to be understood in the marketplace.
So how do we go about doing this? By making purposeful choice every day, we can support or oppose companies that align with what we believe. We can let our voice be heard in the marketplace. My husband and I, along with many others, are taking steps to support companies that are God honoring.
In Hebrews 12:1, it talks about how we need to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
It is my hope to see Christians join together and run this race with perseverance to Christ in all aspects of our lives. God has given us a gift of free choice, even in our buying habits. So, how will you and I choose to be a good steward of this gift?
In the past decade, global warming has risen to the top in political issues. Global leaders have debated and discussed ways to combat the issues that would come with this looming threat.
A 2011 Sustainability Study by Nielsen asked consumers how ‘concerned’ they are about the following environmental issues:
- Air Pollution
- Water Pollution
- Packaging Waste
- Water Shortages
- Use of Pesticides
- Climate Change/ Global Warming
The study found that global warming is lower in concern for people, with air pollution having the highest concern. In fact, the study concluded that climate change/ global warming concerns have fallen since 2007.
Whether you believe in global warming as a cycle, that it is human made, or maybe you don’t believe in it at all, it has affected your purchases. Americans have watched as products they buy are labeled “green” or “eco-friendly.”
According to the Nielsen study, Americans believe purchasing these sustainable products are having a positive impact on the environment. These products include:
- Energy efficient products or appliances
- Products in recycling packaging
- Products with little or no packaging
- Organic Products
- Products bought from the farmers market
- Ethically produced or grown products
- Products that haven’t traveled long distances to get to the stores
- Locally made products
- Fair Trade Products
- Products that have not been tested on animals
Nielsen concluded that, globally, people find energy efficient products or appliances are having the most positive impact on the environment, with products that have not been tested on animals having the lowest positive impact. The study also found that people in North America believe that buying local products has the most positive impact.
So, what does this mean to a Faith Driven Consumer?
As Christians, we know that ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’ Psalm 24:1. However, we become conflicted when we know that the Lord has given the earth for man to use.
Faith Driven Consumer believes the conscious efforts of companies that practice environmental stewardship should be rewarded and encouraged. These companies are making obvious strides to please their consumers by making their products more sustainable.
The environmental movement has had a major impact on the marketplace. It has not only impacted our purchases, but the way we think about the environment.
As Faith Driven Consumers, our voices can also be heard in the marketplace–Christians have influence and can change worldview, much like the environmental movement has done environmentalists.
Look for our company reviews coming soon as we will include a section about companies that practice environmental stewardship.
When you walk into a store, many brands scream your name in hopes you will purchase that specific product. These brands have successfully reached you as the consumer by honing in on your likes, preferences and wants.
Or have they? The study “How Values and Beliefs Influence Consumers” conducted by Faith Driven Consumer in 2009 found that 28 percent of consumers’ values and beliefs are not being respected by most companies.
These beliefs include a variety of worldviews, including Christians. As Christians, we are called to make choices with a different mindset. We are just like all consumers in many ways, but are set apart because of our Biblical worldview. This might explain why some feel their beliefs and values are not respected by everyday companies, as most cater to a secular audience.
The study also found that 49 percent of all U.S. adults “specifically shopped in a store or retailer because they know it provides products and services that are consistent with their values and beliefs.”
Take Chick-Fil-A for instance. When people choose to dine at this family-friendly restaurant, they may know that their experience may include hearing Christianmusic in the background, having a family-fun night with activities for their children, as well as other activities. Perhaps this is why Christians choose to eat there rather than another chain restaurant.
Your beliefs and values effect many aspects of your life, more than you may think. Nearly half of the consumers in the study (46 percent) strongly agreed that their belief system has an effect on what they read, watch and listen to.Forty-four percent agreed that it is important to strongly express their moral views in order to influence the direction of the community.
So how do we influence the marketplace with our worldview?
It is all about making incremental change. If we make small alterations in our consumer lives by shopping at companies that support the things we choose to support according to our values, the marketplace can strongly be impacted over time.
Where does your worldview or faith fit in when choosing what you buy? What will you do about this? Join with Faith Driven Consumer as we commit to making purposeful choices in our consumer lives.
You can read this past article to see how Christians feel about impacting the marketplace.
Click here to see the full study.
Women with short skirts, profane language showing disrespect and family drama—these are some things a person may tune-in to watch on primetime television during the week.
Many television networks like ABC, NBC, FOX and ABC Family host shows with ‘real housewives,’ celebrities attempting to ballroom dance and people who go to work in an office.
For many, these shows are a humorous escape from the world we live in. As Christians, this is a scary reality to face when we look at what is being offered to view; especially when we consider that people are consuming on average four or more hours of television a day, according to a 2010 Nielsen Company study.
In August 2011, “Dancing with the Stars” was under fire for allowing the transgender, Chaz Bono, to be a featured celebrity on the show. And some are no longer calling the show family-friendly.
Testing the limits of an audience happens on a frequent basis. Shows are pushing the envelope on sex, love, marriage, drugs, alcohol and presenting a worldview contradictory to what we find in the Bible.
What if networks began considering the values of its Christian audiences? What will Christians watch instead? We have preferences, wants and needs just like all other consumers with worldviews.
Some networks are considering the Christian viewer. TLC and Discovery’s series “19 Kids and Counting” illustrates a family that grows larger and larger each year without compromising Christian morals. ABC’s series “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is a reality television series that gives a home to a less fortunate family in America.
Family-friendly entertainment includes the promotion of responsible themes and traditional values. Other primetime shows that are family-friendly include: “The Middle” on ABC, “Undercover Boss” on CBS and “Minute to Win It” on NBC.
Faith Driven Consumer supports the Parents Television Council (PTC) as a reliable resource for parents. PTC has created a weekly Parent’s Guide for Christians who want to watch wholesome television throughout the week. Visit the website to get your own copy and see what shows are rated family-friendly by clicking here. The criteria for ranking is found here.
The Association of National Advertisers Alliance for Family Entertainment also works to encourage programmers and advertisers to provide more family friendly programming. The alliance provides “consumers with entertainment options the entire family can watch.” Through research, they have found that Americans, overwhelmingly, want more family-friendly programming. Visit the Alliance for Family Entertainment by clicking here.
MovieGuide is a family guide to movies and entertainment. This guide offers “redeeming values of the entertainment industry, according to biblical principles.”
Faith Driven Consumer wants to encourage television networks, companies and organizations promoting wholesome television. Our vision is that by doing this, the marketplace will shift into one that honors God.
Christian beliefs and buying decisions—these two subjects showed a strong connection in a study released in February.
The Barna Group released the study “Do Americans Support Christian Businesses and Brands?” showing the likeliness of Americans to support a Christian business or brand. The study found that 27 percent of Americans are more likely to support “a company that manages its business according to Christian principles.”
Out of the total American population from the 2010 Census Bureau report, this means approximately 83 million people in the United States are more likely to buy from companies that act according to Christian beliefs. Although this may seem like a small number, this population matters and over time can make an incremental change in the marketplace.
You may be asking yourself, “Where does this leave the other portion of Americans?” The study showed a definite trend toward people favoring businesses with Christian principles. Only 3 percent of the population was opposed (only 1 percent was strongly opposed) to doing such type business.
The study also indicated that 22 percent of Americans were a lot more likely to support “a company that embraces and promotes the Christian faith,” with only 2 percent less likely to do so.
The concept of having influence in the marketplace is not new. We have watched as environmental activists changed the products we buy, with “environmentally-friendly “or “green” labels.
So, why do many Christians feel they have no position in the marketplace or shy away from taking a stand?
Many Christians are not aware of their community—a community that feels the current marketplace does not share the values God has placed in their hearts. This community also lacks a national voice through which they can channel their consumer demands.
But that is changing. An emerging advocate for this group is Faith Driven Consumer. Read more about what we have found in our research of this audience by clicking here.
What Christians need to realize is the potential of their voice and their spending power because the American population is demanding a greater want of traditional and Biblical principles. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity in the United States, making it especially important for Christian consumers to make smart decisions with their wallet.
Faith Driven Consumer believes that through positive and proactive encouragement of companies currently adhering to Biblical principles, this 27 percent of the population will become a major driving force in the marketplace. This can create a shift in our worldview to one that honors God in all of our actions, including our consumer lives.
Click here to read the full Barna study article.