TDW #027: I'm Outing Myself (A Confession)

Justin Wise • The Wisdom of Doing Different
TDW #027: I'm Outing Myself (A Confession)

I have a confession to make: I’ve been struggling for a long time.

One of my struggles in "outing" myself as a Christian who happens to own a business is getting lumped into the same category as people who:

  • oppose evolution
  • put a Jesus fish on their car
  • say things like "gosh darn it” and “jack-butt” and “gee whiz”
  • use Comic Sans font in their marketing materials

...and immediately turning off anyone who doesn’t share the same faith as me.

You might already know this, but I was on staff at a church for many years. I was a damn good preacher. I built and led teams. In fact, I was on the fast-track to be an ordained Lutheran pastor. It’s what I saw myself doing for the rest of my life.

Everything looked great on paper.

But something just felt off.

I felt like a hypocrite.

So much of the evangelical world felt like it was living in the Middle Ages.

So, to put it bluntly: I ran away.

I became “just” a church member and focused on building a business in the marketing space, completely removing any outward signs of the church from my day-to-day career.

I never gave up on my faith, but I wanted to make an impact not just in the lives of the people I met inside the church, but those outside the four walls of a church. (And “church” here transcends a physical building.)

Fast forward a few years…

I went out and started my own marketing consultancy.

I built it from scratch, and it took off faster than I expected. In fact, within 12 months of launching I was making in a month what I used to make in a year as a pastor. And eventually we even crossed the 7-figure mark.

But even after building this successful business, I found myself in the exact same place.

I was serving clients, many of whom I just didn’t connect with. They weren’t bad people. We just had nothing in common from a values perspective. Our relationship was completely transactional.

Nothing more. Nothing less. It started leaving me empty, hollow—much like how I felt as a pastor.

By now, I was starting to question my own sanity.

I remember thinking, “why do I feel this way AGAIN…? Will I ever be happy and fulfilled?”

So I decided to change everything again.

I let go of 90% of my team and decided to focus on only the clients who wanted big-picture marketing advice and consulting. It definitely got me closer to where I wanted to be, but it still felt like I was living a bifurcated, double-minded life. (And the Bible has some strong words for double-mindedness.)

It became super clear that I was still trying to find my perfect path rather than actually living it.

It was time to be honest and come to terms with what wanted.

Here's What I Want

So here’s what I want:

  • I want to combine my passion for my Christian faith with my marketing work and focus on helping entrepreneurs (both would-be and active) step into the divine calling God has for their businesses.
  • I want to work with businesses that have an UNRELENTING drive to be massively successful (mediocrity and middle-class ain’t virtuous in my book).
  • I want people to know that “faith-based” doesn’t mean you sell a Christian product or have a Jesus fish on your car bumper; it just means you center your life and business on the principles of your faith in Christ.

I STRONGLY disagree that the pursuit of success is somehow in conflict with one's values or faith. Someone needs to help others see this and live this out. And I believe this is my true calling.

Here’s What That Means For You

I am focusing on folks who want to add value to the world AND make more money than they ever dreamed of, but also want to maintain their faith-based values in the process.

Rule #1: You do not need to feel guilty for earning a great living, building something bigger than yourself, and still maintaining a vibrant faith.

Rule #2: You don’t have to be a perfect Christian for this to work—I still cuss, cut people off in traffic, drink booze, and mess up all the time. But I choose to wake up every day and worship God with the work of my hands (so if any of that bothers you, I might not be the right fit for you moving forward).

Rule #3: You need to believe that every person on this planet carries within them the Imago Dei—the image of God. People have inherent worth. No matter their race, color, creed, or religion.

My mission: I’ll serve as your guide to building MASSIVE success, all while maintaining your integrity, your values, and respecting the traditions of your faith. As I tweeted recently, “living as a person of faith doesn't mean you need to be poor or live a middle class life.”

You should also know I will periodically and unapologetically talk about Jesus, God, the Bible, church, and my faith. It’s best to be upfront about these things. No sweat if that’s not your cup of tea. I get it.

Here’s What That Does NOT Mean For You

That said, I’ll still be posting about the three topics I’m most interested in: business-building, faith, and wealth creation (and the intersection of all three). That won’t change. Up until now, I’ve never given myself the permission to be explicit about it. Well, self… permission granted.

You might be wondering, “why now? What was the spark?”

There’s not a smoking gun, necessarily. Just a gnawing sense that life is short — too short to be stuck doing stuff I’m not 100% convinced God is calling me to do. Or, as Derek Sievers put it, “life’s too short to be doing work that’s not a ‘HELL YES!’” (fyi, that’s heavily paraphrased).

And, hey—if we don’t share the same faith, I promise to never devalue, criticize, demean, or villanize you. Cross my heart.

Final Words

After 10 years, I’ve realized this mission is the only thing that’ll keep me sane and satisfied.

I know some won’t agree with my vision and, in the past, I wasn’t ready for the blowback…

...but now I am.

I have to live true to my own ideals. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

Go get ‘em,


P.S. - if you’re interested in joining me on this new direction, I’d invite you to join me for the Spirit-Led Business Plan, launching Easter 2023. I’ll show you a super practical way to keep your faith and grow your wealth.

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