Profits & Prophets Revealed

by | Jul 28, 2003 | Archives

What's happening? The answer to this offers valuable social, economic, business and investing lessons we can all profit from now.

Of the many publications Merri and I read one is USA Today because it is the largest circulation paper in the U.S. I don't like the paper a lot but from it I know what the largest single block of Americans are reading (and thus thinking).

Two points recently captured my interest. The first was the fact that the book The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here. For skyrocketed to the top of the best sellers list. Many of my messages to you on marketing and investing have explained the importance of watching best seller lists to catch the national psyche. (See

The second point was a recent article in USA Today entitled “This Evangelist has a Purpose” which tells about “Reverend Rick”. This story offers valuable social, economic, business and investing lessons we can all profit from now.

Rick Warren calls himself a stealth evangelist and has built a huge congregation and evangelical system that is so far reaching that his recent book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For has sold 4.5 million copies and was on the New York times best sellers list for 23 weeks. George and Laura Bush, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes have read it. Warren calls his approach stealthy and the article says its because he is not slick. He doesn't even wear a suit, but prefers Hawaiian shirts and boat shoes without socks. And there have been no scandals!

He does not appear on shows such as Oprah, doesn't do big public events, etc. Instead he focuses on creating a marketing team (if you wish to call it that) based on an inner sanctum of 31 trained pastors and ministers supported by 300 full time employees. Then a second team of 8,593 core members pledge to do service or missions projects. Then another team of 12,262 Baptized members expand his work outwards through 2,600 churches.

He teaches a simple mantra through this crowd, “You are here for God.” His mission statement, “I've got a target called the globe: The whole Gospel for the whole world.” His story line is that as a fourth generation pastor he is fulfilling his father's dying wish: to “reach one more for Christ.”

The article suggests that Reverend Rick is an organizational genius and communicator of profound ability. Perhaps, but I believe there is something more that can teach us valuable lessons. He is cashing in on the wellness revolution.

Almost two years ago to the day the message pointed out how societies (and the way they consume) move through six phases. Read this entire article if you have time as it shows seven trends. One is that there will be a shift of attitude in consumers from the brain to the heart. Another trend is that growth in markets will be for stories, not products.

Another message that also appeared in 2001 said, “This new era will expand markets in Adventure, Togetherness, Care, Peace of Mind, Convictions and the Who Am I market”.

Reverend Rick I believe is cashing in on these trends. He is grabbing market share in the “Whom Am I” market and succeeding because he fits into the “Convictions” market as well and he is not screwing this powerful message up by getting caught stealing money or messing around with choir members and such stuff.

Reverend Rick offers a powerful, clear mission, a challenging mantra and heart rendering story line. All three work together and are all very, very simple. The coming era does not suddenly arrive but slips in slowly and gradually reveals itself in the here and now. Reverend Rick gives us a clue beyond his gospel. He is part of the wellness revolution and here is what his success tells us as business people and investors to do:

  1. Look for businesses that sell conviction.
  2. Look for businesses that are low key and use ground swell strategies of the common man rather than rely on media, hype and flash.
  3. Look for businesses that use new ways to reach the market place.
  4. Look for businesses that help people grow in non material ways.
  5. Look for businesses that are transparent and “walk their talk”.
  6. Look for businesses with powerful non material mission statements, challenging mantras and emotion evoking sales stories.
  7. Finally, look for simplicity. Consumers are grasping desperately for this in our ever increasingly complex world. We all want what we don't have!

Remain ever vigilant, my friend. Fortunes are lining up in this new era for those who keep looking for success stories such as Reverend Rick. If when you spot achievement such as this ask “Why?” Then look for places to invest or businesses to grow that have the same values. Who knows this strategy may help you get in early on the next Microsoft.Let's also hope that Reverend Rick continues to succeed even if we don't agree with everything he says (I am not a heaven or hell man myself.) Pray anyway that he avoids the many financial and sexual traps which have defrocked so many other religious leaders. Our society needs more leaders who lead by example in something good that they believe. If a person believes in what he says, and really lives by it, this counts for a lot! Merri and I are totally committed to and thrilled that the world is coming around to a more balanced way of viewing life.

Always may your investing and convictions be good!