This week's guest post was written A. Larry Ross Communications. Kristin Cole, President, was very gracious to allow me to share their blog that was originally posted on their website on October 29, 2020.
ALR Communications is a public relations firm located in Carrollton, Texas, whose clients clients include LeTourneau University, Biola University, I Am Second, Compassion International, YouVersion Bible App, Thomas Nelson Publishing, and movie premiers, ministries, and many others.
Their purpose is not to manufacture an image for clients, but rather to establish and project their existing identity to a broadened group of target audiences.
I'm sharing this blog for students who might feel called to public relations, defined as "the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person" (Dictionary.com).
Edward Bernays is widely regarded as the founder of Public Relations, having pioneered the field in the 1920s. However, long before Bernays codified modern-day concepts that continue to define the profession, the Bible described many PR principles that remain valuable today. Just as the disciple Timothy described God’s Word as being “profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness,” it is also proven to be beneficial for guiding one’s PR approach and providing an understanding of its importance.
Sometimes, PR gets a bad rep due to often poorly handled PR scandals. But in many ways, PR is a biblical concept that no ministry leaders or influencers should have shame in seeking.
Here are a few ways we see aspects of public relations throughout the Bible.
Managing a Reputation
"A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold" (Proverbs 22:1).
One of the most important aspects of PR is reputation management. Some may believe that merely doing a good job and maintaining a good work ethic is enough of an effort to avoid public scrutiny, and while it should be, that isn’t always the case. Many organizations and individuals with outstanding images have found themselves in situations of trying to prove their integrity. In this Digital Age, where information can spread to millions online in a matter of minutes, unfortunately, all it takes is one person with an ill motive for a good reputation to go bad overnight without effective reputation management.
In the Scriptures, we see caution for Christians to only do good but to carefully avoid having even an “appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). It seems that even thousands of years ago, the writers of the Bible understood how critical it is to be above reproach both in deed and appearance.
"But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).
Just as it is not necessarily enough to have a good reputation without managing it, knowing why we do what we do may hold little value if we are not prepared to defend our actions should a crisis come. We have all seen debates or interviews on TV where those being questioned were not ready to defend their stance or succinctly answer a question and the public scrutiny that followed. Once again, the Bible provided wisdom for avoiding these situations long before PR became a lucrative career.
This is one of the many reasons why seeking help from PR professionals, even when not experiencing a crisis or executing a campaign, is wise. An effective PR team can provide wisdom in helping you to understand the key message points about your organization, ministry, product or brand that should be communicated to the public and how to do so effectively. Additionally, they can help identify potential weak or problematic points that could be called into question and the best tactics for defending each one with honesty and poise.
Scripture tells us that a wise man builds his house upon a rock, which can weather storms, while the foolish man seeks a quick fix, building his house on sand that disintegrates during a crisis (Matthew 7:24-27). In the same way, PR professionals can provide the wisdom needed to present a message or navigate a problem before the time of testing comes so that you are prepared like the man who built his house on the rock.
Being an Ambassador
"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us…” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
As public relations professionals, our job is to serve as a middleman between our clients and the public. Similarly, as Christians, our job is to be the intermediary between Christ and those who do not know Him. Consider Moses, who was appointed by God to be his spokesperson to the Israelites, and Jesus, who is the ultimate spokesman between God and His people.
Whether we realize it or not, every individual acts as an ambassador for what they believe in or represent. It is not a question of if you are sending a message, but what that message is. PR professionals are equipped to act as a communications ambassador for those who may lack skill or expertise in being an effective ambassador on their own.
As professional communicators and Christians, we can recognize the benefits of public relations and its principles as they relate to being better ministry leaders and influencers. We continue to learn through the evolution of PR today but can look to the Bible for guidance as well.
Could a career in public relations be your higher calling?
🥓What motivates you to get up in the morning? Playing on your PS4. Cheerleading practice. The virtual school bell. Bacon. Your father.
The motivation to apply for college may not have the same urgency because it seems so far down the road.
As you prepare to enter the future workforce, Ken Costa, author of Know Your Why, reminds us that we are called to worship God in every area of our lives.
He writes that we need "to make our workstations our worship stations." 🛐
Most high school students are not thinking about this marketplace ministry mindset sitting in their classrooms. Even as followers of Jesus.
For those students, it's simply about graduating high school, being accepted to a college, and finding a way to pay for their education.
Let's stop and think about Costa's three reasons why people work. Which group you see yourselves in right now?
💰 Some want to work for cash – to make ends meet.
💼 Some want to work for a career – to move up a ladder.
🤝🏻 Some want to work for a cause – to make a difference.
For the majority of adult workers, I would believe that cash is the motivating factor.
My high school junior is focused on cash. Apparently, he needs another pair of sneakers!
As you research your careers and colleges, which motivating factor (cash, career, cause) is informing your decisions?
When deciding on a major for your career, you need to know your why. Developing your vocational calling - the type of work God has created you to do in the marketplace - will make that decision easier.
Also, college admissions officers know you have "passion" for your chosen field. Is that enough to set you apart? Is that enough to motivate you to "work for the Lord" (Colossians 3:23)? Is that your why?
Know that God wants the best for you - plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope, plans to give you a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Not to flounder without motivation.
🤷♂️ As you think about what motivates you to work, what conversations do you need to have with parents, teachers, mentors, or advisors to help you shift the focus to your calling?
"Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
You may have heard that without vision, teenagers wander into food court water fountains. Or something like that. It's the same with college planning, without a vision, college-bound students may wander. College planning is a process. You need a plan. In the "Rising Cost of Not Going to College," researchers learned that "the surest path to a good job and satisfying career runs through college."
In Genesis 2:15, we read that God placed man in the garden to "work and watch over it." The original desire for work was a blessing. It sounds like Adam's higher calling was to be a gardener!
Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you're born and the day you find out why." Here are four steps you can take to help you find your why.
Step 1: First, decide that you want to earn a post-secondary education. This is important because some jobs may only require a certificate or some technical training. Others require more education. I recommend earning a four-year bachelor's degree since 65% of future jobs will require a bachelor's degree.
A 53-year old firefighter has been working as a professional fireman in Dallas since he was 19 years old. What an incredible career of service to his community! He earned his 2-year associate's degree years ago. When a Fire Chief opening became available, he wanted to apply. While he has the required experience, he does not have the required education. To become a Fire Chief, he needs a 4-year bachelor's degree. It is important to know what your career goals are, so you can plan accordingly.
Once a decision to earn a bachelor's degree has been made, you need to develop a plan. Start by searching for a major in a fast growing career that complements your calling. When trying to figure out what you're called to do, remember to consider what problems you want to solve, what grips your heart, and even what keeps you up at night - besides cramming for that world history midterm.
Step 2: Once you have selected a major, find a college that is a good academic, social, and emotional fit. If you select a college before you select a career option, you may find out that your favorite I'm-going-to-this-college-no-matter-what doesn't have a program with your desired major.
And what about the potential social and emotional fit. Angel Perez, Director of Admission at Pitzer College wisely said to “keep an open mind about everything you do in college. . . ‘some may’ make you uncomfortable. If you are always comfortable, you will never grow.” Bruce Poch, Dean of Admissions at Pomona College added that "Students who know what they are looking for have better luck finding it and can do a better job of articulating their hopes and interests in their applications.
So step 1 (major selection) comes before step 2 (college selection).
Step 3: Then, when you have a list of colleges that are a good match based on your career choice, you can determine which is the best financial fit. If you start with the cost in mind, you may eliminate affordable options. Since the average four-year cost of attendance is between $83,000 - $183,000 depending on the college (public or private) and career (liberal arts, engineering, aviation), you need to have a plan to pay for college.
Step 4: Now that you've made a commitment to attend the college that is the best fit for you, you're ready to begin preparing for your higher calling, future career and life goals. So let's start career planning.
Robert J. Massa, VP for Enrollment at Dickinson College once said that "There are at least 50 colleges that will be a “right fit” for you!” The challenge is to narrow them down to the right one. Making wise decisions doesn't just happen. You need to plan, work, review, and revise your plans. Remember, discovering your higher calling, as well as college planning, is a process (video by Chispa Motivation).
FUN FACT: At some colleges, students are tossed into campus water fountains on their birthday. Hope you were born in a warm month!
The Role of a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists, sometimes referred to as PTs, help people who have injuries or illnesses improve their movement and manage their pain. They are often an important part of rehabilitation and treatment of patients with chronic conditions or injuries.
Demand: PTs provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from sprains, strains, and injuries from cranes (the equipment or the bird). They work with aging baby boomers who are staying active and older persons who are not (heart attacks, strokes, and mobility-related injuries), and others with birth conditions.
Developments: Medical and technological developments also are expected to permit a greater percentage of trauma victims and newborns with birth defects to survive, creating additional demand for rehabilitative care. PTs are trained to use a variety of different techniques—sometimes called modalities—to care for their patients. These techniques include applying heat and cold, hands-on stimulation or massage, and using assistive and adaptive devices and equipment.
Diseases: The work of PTs varies with the type of patients they serve. For example, a patient suffering from loss of mobility due to Parkinson’s disease needs different care than an athlete recovering from an injury. The incidence of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, has increased in recent years, requiring more physical therapists to help patients manage the effects of these diseases.
Da-Technology: Advances in medical technology have increased the use of outpatient surgery to treat a variety of injuries and illnesses. PTs will continue to play an important role in helping these patients recover more quickly from surgery. Technology will aid, rather than replace workers in this field. Soldiers are receiving C-Legs or C-Arms with an imbedded chip allowing them to recover with the most natural feel.
What is the Job Outlook for Physical Therapists?
The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great resource to learn about careers. It is constantly among the fastest growing careers and is projected to grow 28 percent through 2026. The median annual wage for physical therapists was $86,850 in May 2017, which has risen $10,000 in less than five years.
While 58 percent work in private hospitals or offices, 17 percent work in home health care and residential care facilities, 7 percent are self-employed.
Most PTs work full time (29 percent are part time). PTs spend much of their time on their feet, being active. Job prospects should be especially favorable in rural areas because many PTs live in highly populated urban and suburban areas.
How to Become a Physical Therapist
Some careers don’t require specific undergraduate education. However, in the medical world, a criminal justice major cannot find a job as a physical therapist. You’d have to change majors and be very specific when looking for colleges that prepare you to become a physical therapist.
While in high school, your curriculum should include: Physics (mechanics, force, joints), Anatomy & Physiology (duh?), Chemistry, Statistics (to interpret research), Psychology (to understand people), Biology (something about the study of life), and English Composition (you need clear written and verbal communication).
As an undergraduate student, there are hundreds of colleges but your program options are limited to Athletic Trainer, Kinesiology and Exercise Science and Pre-Physical Therapy.
Professional physical therapy programs no longer offer masters degrees, so you must earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and pass a state licensure exam to work in the field.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, there were 209 accredited physical therapist education programs in 2007. Of the accredited programs, 43 offered master's degrees and 166 offered doctoral degrees. In the future, a doctoral degree might be the required entry-level degree.
One Student’s Journey to Becoming a Physical Therapist
I sat down with Stan to learn more about how he became a physical therapist. He was like most high school students – unsure what pathway he wanted to pursue. He loved English and Biology, but hated math. As a student-athlete, he played on the offensive line in football and wrestled and mulled over the possibility of becoming an athletic trainer.
He enrolled at the University of North Texas where he earned his bachelor of science in criminal justice However, he took a freshman anatomy & physiology course that piqued his interest. After graduating, he went back to earn his masters (MPT) while working as a PT Tech (who mainly observes and assists, but does not diagnose or counsel).
He has worked at two hospitals as a PT and recently earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy! In the hospital, he works with the general population or with recovering ICU patients. He loves seeing results and seeing patients achieve their goals. Depending on their plan, he may see patients once or multiple times.
No job is without its challenges. As a physical therapist, you are constantly working with people who are in pain or are sick and you’re always on your feet. You’ll have to lift people, speak clearly, listen intently, and be patient. Stan said PTs have to manage other people’s schedules, agendas & goals while working with an Interdisciplinary Team (usually 6 people per patient).
With so many refusing treatments, he has to explain why therapy is important and he said it reminds him of the movie “50 First Dates.”
But in the end, he reminds himself that it’s not about him – it is not about advancement or agendas, it’s about the patient.
If you want to become a physical therapist like Stan, you’ll need to have the following characteristics:
Finally, Stan shared a few misconceptions. People think they are walking techs – he is actually a doctor. PTs are not human cranes, they are “helpers” not “doers.” They do not manipulate bones like a chiropractor. Chiropractors want to fix problems by popping your back (temporary solution) so they can have lifelong clients. PTs are looking for the root cause and want you to get back on your feet.
So, how do you feel when you are considering what to study in college?
Many college applications require you to select a major or state that you are “undeclared”. Being undeclared simply means that you are not ready to select a major because there are so many options. This is so true for perceivers, those who are spontaneous - basically, non-planners like me. This is a good option especially if you are attending a liberal arts college.
But what is the best way to choose a major? Here are 5 ideas to guide you.
Ode to the Undeclared Major
One of the most popular majors at universities is the “undeclared” major. Many universities or colleges recognize you may not be ready to declare a major when you start as a freshman. Often you do not have to declare your major until sometime in your sophomore year. There are a few universities that don’t offer “undeclared” as an option. You will know which colleges require majors from their websites and applications.
Talk to a school counselor or career counselor, take a career assessment, or use the list of majors or careers to explore professions in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Credit: GuidedPath Guru
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.