CDRE 18 | Marketing Minister


When God calls you, He doesn’t give you a simple, straightforward path. For many of us who are called to serve, the way is full of crossroads and obstacles to hurdle. This is how Martijn van Tilborgh found his way from ministry to entrepreneurship. Following God’s voice led Martijn from his home in Netherlands to pursue a ministerial mission in South Africa, but just as he and his family were settling for the long haul, he realized that he was being called to go to the United States. But what was he supposed to do there? Through his journey, Martijn realized that answering God’s call doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a preacher or a missionary. In fact, he learned that business and ministry have a lot in common than most people realize. Now, Martijn is a strategic marketing architect and consultant for large churches, organizations and well-known individuals. Among the services he provides are book publishing, brand development and marketing. How does Martijn carry the message of Christianity in his business? Find out in this fascinating conversation.

Listen to the podcast here


Marketing Minister: Following God’s Calling In Ministry And Entrepreneurship With Martijn Van Tilborgh

How do you turn your passion or expertise into an impactful message and amplify that so it will have meaningful benefit to your audience? What if you don’t have an audience yet but you believe you have been placed into service by your creator or you just have a great idea that you want to put out there into the world that you believe has value? Martijn van Tilborgh, combining biblical wisdom with business intuition, specializes in helping thought leaders multiply their influence. He is a world traveler working with large organizations and influential leaders.

He serves as a strategic architect, a publisher, and a valuable ally to anyone who needs to make a greater impact. He is a good listener and is a coach. He rarely, with significant detail, goes unnoticed. I was and continued to be impressed by his intelligence and perception of how the business world and the church can and should work together more. He introduced me to the concept of marketplace and ministry and regularly helps business leaders believe that they can do more for the kingdom if they desire to. I hope you enjoy my conversation with the maestro of marketing.


CDRE 18 | Marketing Minister


I have some friends who are European. They are very specific about the way you have to cheers. They say you have to look somebody in the eye, and it’s formal to touch the table after you touch glasses. Are there any European traditions that you must observe when you are enjoying a little bit of social time?

No. We don’t say cheers. We say proost. It’s from the Netherlands. It’s where I’m from.

You are the international man of mystery.

How come?

You have a lot of style. You don’t talk a whole lot, but when you do, it’s very powerful. We met at a conference. We are in Puerto Vallarta now, but I met you in Puerto Rico at the Scott Wilson event on marketplace ministry. You have written a number of books on how the church, and maybe the churches are at war once again. What inspired you to write that book and what’s it about?

I wrote a book. It’s called A Time of War. I have been thinking about writing it for decades. I stumbled upon the scripture in one of the books of Chronicles. I forget where it is, but it says there was a long war between the House of Saul and the House of David. Somehow that little verse kept stuck in my head like, “What created a conflict?” We talk about two generations of leadership. One was emerging and one was phasing out.

God had to reject Saul, but what created that conflict? I started studying one day and read everything I could read about Saul and David. I identified 30-plus things that made them different that created that tension. I started to see a lot of parallels between how we have done church in the past and where the church is moving. I walked around with that message for decades and decided, “I’m going to write it.” I felt ready to do it. I picked up the notes that I made that were still folded up somewhere in the drawer, and I used that as a starting point to starting to write it, and that’s how that came about.

One of the things that fascinates me about you is that you are a multifaceted guy because you are such a strong man of faith, but you are also such a strong businessman too. That’s what attracts me to you because I aspire to have that in my life. I don’t want to separate the two anymore. I used to separate the two because I felt like I needed to keep my Christian life private. I still do, but I never like to use my faith to sell myself or my business.

I feel like a lot of people do that and they are fakers. I feel like they do that to give business. Now I’m struggling a little bit as I am becoming known as a man of faith in the business world. I struggle to try to be reserved so that I’m not leading with my faith, but I also want to lead with my faith, not so that I can get business out of it. How do you manage that in your life?

It’s interesting that you are starting out as a businessman, and now you are getting to be known as a man of faith. I have had a reversed journey. I did a decade and a half of ministry before I even realized that business was supposed to be part of my world. When I was a very young age, I had an experience with God. I knew he called me, and when he calls you, you have three options. You become a pastor, missionary, or maybe a traveling evangelist. I tried all three over the course of a decade and a half. I realized that when God calls you, he is a little bit more creative than just giving you three options. I started out planning 4 or 5 churches simultaneously back in the Netherlands where I grew up.

When God calls you, He's a little bit more creative than just giving you three options.  Click To Tweet

Was that hard to do?

It was extremely hard. It about killed me. I was trying to do that while having a full-time job, which was insane. I don’t recommend it.

What was the environment like in the Netherlands as you were trying to grow a church? Were they friendly to Christians?

It’s very different. It’s a liberal culture. The fact that you are planning a church is insane for the culture, let alone planting four at the same time. I thought if God calls you, that’s what you do. You plant a church and you become a pastor or a leader. We saw some success in that season and things I look back on with happiness in my heart, but I always knew this wasn’t it.

When my pastor called me into his room one day and said, “I’m going to bring a team to South Africa. We are going to do work there as missionaries,” I was the first one to say, “Yes, I’m in.” We moved my whole family. We were four at the time, two children. My youngest was born in South Africa. We became missionaries there for almost three years. I planted more churches and did some social work. We had some great experiences, but it wasn’t it. Through a series of events, we ended up in America.

There’s a series of skills that you probably developed. You are in the Netherlands and God has called you to ministry. You tried a variety of different ways with a level of success that you would consider maybe getting some traction. You were the first to raise your hand to go to South Africa with your family. That’s a huge move.

We hadn’t been to South Africa, so we didn’t know what we were getting into. We moved, and when we landed, that was the first time we set foot in South Africa.

What’s the mental process behind saying yes to that type of adventure and taking your family on that type of risk? There are financial things to consider. There are child-rearing things to consider. Tell me about how you dealt with some of that stuff.

We were pretty poor at the time. There was no money. I had no business background at the time either and no intention to be in business, because when God calls you, you do one of those three things and he will take care of you. I remember the months leading up to that big move. We had prayer meetings in our room and there were some other guys that would get her together in our house to pray in preparation for this big move. One of the guys, his name was Songo. He was originally from Congo. He was trying to buy a house.

You find this interesting because of what you do. He had been looking at a property in a city called Rotterdam and purchased it for rentals. Rotterdam is a student city, so there’s a lot of need for student rentals or student housing. I had no background in real estate. I never bought a house in my life. I didn’t even know how to buy a house at the time.

He was telling the story of how he put an offer on this house and they had rejected him. He went and looked for another house and found one in The Hague, a different city in the Netherlands. He closed on that house. Now, the seller of the Rotterdam house came back to him saying, “We are going to accept your offer anyway as well.” He bought this other house.

He’s telling this story. As he was telling this story, I sensed God telling me, “This is your house.” I bypassed every real estate agent. I got in the car. I drove an hour to get to Rotterdam. I knocked on the door and said, “I’m here to buy your house.” I had no clue what I was doing. Long story short, I had all the information from him on my negotiating power on this property because I knew how much they were willing to go down on the asking price.

This is crazy when I tell this to Americans. This was the time when we could finance 100% of the purchase price plus whatever you were going to invest in the house to renovate it. With the equity that was available on day one, when we closed, we pulled out enough money to make this move to South Africa.

You can do that in America. You have to know how. You have to have a good commercial banker in order to do that or a renovation loan.

It was unheard of at the time. I had no idea what I was doing. I did it on three more properties that year. That’s how we lived for several years in South Africa with the proceeds of the rentals and the equity.

These homes were in the Netherlands, but you were in South Africa. You were buying houses in the Netherlands while you were in South Africa. Did you have some boots on the ground, people looking at the houses?

I had a property manager.

When that guy said that he had passed on the house and bought another one, and then you ran to go buy it, was there any dude code like a guy breaks up with a girl and you can’t date her because he broke up with her? Did he care that you bought that house?

He was excited because we were on the same mission. He bought a house that generated rental income. Same for me. We were both able to do what we felt we were called to do at the time. It was a great experience. This was for us. God put us in a place where we could afford what we said we would do where before, it was impossible for our financial situation to make that move, but we were able to make it because of that project.

Was South Africa a tough place to raise kids, or was it a good place to raise kids?

It’s obviously a tough place. There’s a lot of crime. You need to know where to go or where not to go. We probably weren’t the smartest. We were working in some of the roughest neighborhoods. I got in a couple of situations where we had a get-out. One of the things was we built this preschool in one of those rough areas. After a year and a half or so in the local community, we decided to take the building. We called in the cops, but they know better too than to create any problems. We were surrounded by probably 70 people with rocks in their hands.

Those are community members.

The cops came and pulled us out.

That was going to be a good old-fashioned stoning. What were your thoughts at that time? Was it just you at the time?

It was me and somebody else. I forget who was with me, but my kids would come to these places and the atmosphere could turn instantly. I look back on those years as a very good period of time seasoned in our lives as well as our kids. They went to school there. They don’t look back in fear like, “This was horrible.” It was a good time.

One of the neat things about you that I find fascinating is that during this process, maybe a little bit after that in your timeline is that you came to America. You started a ministry in America, which I want to talk a little bit about so that we can talk about how your life took a hard left turn. One of the most memorable things about your story is how you said God killed your ministry.

That doesn’t match up. Why would God kill a ministry if he’s called you to it? Also, part of your story, which is so fascinating is your ability to adapt, survive, and say yes to God, but have no idea what comes next. I feel like a lot of preachers and even leaders that are saying yes to God seem like success works out for them, but what we don’t hear are the challenges and the sleepless nights, the rubbing of our heads, and like, “Did we make the right decision or did I miss it?” You are sitting at a place in your life now where you didn’t miss it.


CDRE 18 | Marketing Minister


There is so much that happens in hindsight. You look back at your life and you make sense of what has happened. You are able to define it, but in the moment, not so much. We moved to South Africa with the intent of possibly living the rest of our lives there. That was the paradigm through which we looked at life. We put our kids at school. We bought three dogs.

We shipped everything we owned to South Africa. We were in there for a long haul. I remember my wife waking up one day and feeling led to go online and look at my green card status. I find out about a rule that nobody ever told us about. Unless I’m back one day out of the year, I’m going to lose my status. We had worked hard to get that green card. I spent a lot of money in the United States. It was frustrating in the process. This was right after 9/11. It took three years to get it. She finds out that morning that if I’m not back within three days, I’m going to lose it.

We wanted to be in South Africa but we also didn’t want to lose that green card because it came with other benefits. I was like, “Lord, what are you doing?” It was one of these moments when everything leading up to that point that didn’t make sense suddenly felt like a puzzle in place and I could see the picture. I’m like, “God is sending us to America.” It’s a long story. A lot of examples in it for another time, but it suddenly made sense. I have two questions. What am I going to do there and who am I going to do it with? He said, “I’m about to reawaken the United States of America, but my church isn’t ready.”

He gave me that scripture from the book of Amos where he says, “Before I do anything, I will first declare it to my servants and prophets.” In other words, as always, it is a voice that proceeds what God’s about to do to align the people with God’s agenda essentially. I said, “That sounds cool.” He said, “I want you to be part of that voice. I’m going to position you to be a voice in the church.” Don’t get a big head because like in the days of Elijah, there are 7,000 others so you are not the only one. He put me in my place before I even went. He then said, “Don’t worry about who to do this with because as you are obedient, I’m going to open the door and close the door.”

There's always a voice that precedes what God is about to do to align the people with His agenda. Click To Tweet

I had my blinders on that said, “When God calls you, you do 1 of 3 things. Be a pastor, become a missionary, or you preach.” When I arrived on the other side, I kid you not, that third day in a three-day window, we booked our tickets to fly to Orlando, Florida. A guy walks into our small church of 120 people. He says, “A birdie told me that you are flying to Orlando. That’s where I’m from. I’m a pastor of a Baptist church in Orlando. Give me a call once you settled in.”

That was the first door that open before we even left. I sense that if I’m going, God will open the doors needed for me to do what I need to do. Because of my paradigm, the only thing that I knew to do was to go out and preach. That got me to the place where God killed my ministry. I’m the traveling preacher. I didn’t wait for the invite either. I would get in the car and drive whatever felt right. I remember driving up to Vermont one day. I didn’t know anybody in Vermont.

Through a series of events, I end up in a pastor’s home who invites me to speak to the leadership of the state. There are crazy things like that. I’m like, “If I’m wrong, at least I’m going to have some good Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.” At Ben and Jerry’s, I ran into a lady who introduced me to her pastor. This pastor happened to be one of the leading voices in the state who opened the door for me to speak to the leadership of the state. That opened the door to start building a relationship with the leaders throughout the state.

We went back seven times that year, and we even got in touch with the von Trapp family, the music people, the actual ones. Rosmarie von Trapp is the daughter of the captain. She would randomly call me. I kid you not. I would pick up the phone, be quiet, and then the sound of a shofar. You would blow the shofar and hang up. It was a little weird the first time it happened. There are cool stories for two years, but then three things happened. My money more than dried up.

Where did your money come from at that time?

The $100 offering, they took up for me. My wife had a job and got paid a little bit. She was underpaid. We were struggling big time. A few years in, we were $60,000 in debt. I was never going to be able to pay that back. Doors that had supernaturally opened started closing, and then the ministry that I was part of at the time, my pastor went through a divorce and married a worship leader. It was a big mess there.

I thought that I have put all my eggs in this basket. If this basket is going to go away, I don’t have a life. I’m laying in bed in the evening and looking at my wife, Amy, and I said, “We are hitting a wall. There’s no way out. This is it. Is this it? Now what?” As I’m asking that question, now what? I’m caught up in a different realm and I’m the doubt of a guy. Like I said, I don’t talk much unless I’m on topic, which is something I’m passionate about.

I had one of the few very strong spiritual experiences I have had in my life, but I was caught up in another realm. I’m struck with muteness. I cannot speak like Zacharias in the Bible. I start crying, which I don’t do. My wife thinks I’m having a stroke and start shaking me like, “What’s going on?” I can’t articulate what’s going on. In my trance-like state, I’m seeing Jesus walk with his disciples for three years. They have the time of their life. What could be better than the life they were living? They are walking with a man. They are seeing the miracles. They are hungry.

They see all the stuff, and they are looking through a lens of what could possibly be better than this. As the story goes, Jesus sits them down. He says these revolutionary words that don’t make any sense to them, “It’s to your advantage that this stops.” They are like, “What in the world could be better than this?” They can’t see it.

They forget what he says, and then he goes on a Friday. He dies. The first thing they do is default back to what they had always done, which was get around Jesus only now he was dead. They make him smell good with perfume and linen, but the life had left. There’s nobody home. They created this false sense of religious accomplishments being around Jesus who was no longer alive. There are so many times you go through religious motions like creating this atmosphere that gives us a false sense of religious accomplishment, while in reality, we are not moving the needle.

I’m looking at this and hear this voice say, “Everything must die before I am resurrected.” That’s the theme through the Bible. Jesus died so he can be resurrected. If he didn’t die, he couldn’t be resurrected. That’s the moment when I realized that God was killing my ministry. It’s like, “You are trying to do all these things, but I want to kill that so you can see the advantage factor into something greater than what you can see from where you are sitting.” That’s what I did. I just put a knife in it. The next day, I dissolved my nonprofit and said, “Now what?” There was a blank canvas there.


CDRE 18 | Marketing Minister


Did you struggle with any identity issues or any mental health issues? Did you struggle in any way with just scratching your head? These doors are closing. Did you feel like, “Am I doing something wrong?”

“It didn’t make sense because my God calls me. I’m all in. He doesn’t seem to be in. What the heck is going on?” I’m stressing about paying the bills. No money. The little money I was getting from preaching is no longer coming. I didn’t get 1 invite for 8 years. This is what I was doing full-time. It went from that moment to eight years of no invites. It wasn’t like I got invites and said, “No.” There were no invites. You got to live.

I then sensed like, “I got to start a business,” which I swore I would never do because God called me, but I did have skill. What I failed to tell you is when I was graduating high school which I didn’t do, I’d never got a diploma because, technically, I failed high school. I decided not to continue my education because why? It is the why go to college that you will never use, “It’s because God called me.” I had no skills. I had no experience. That’s how I looked at myself.

You probably have more kids at this point in your life.

I got three. What do you do? I felt I have to start a business, which confused me. Even if I wanted to start a business, what in the world am I going to create? That brought me to this story in the Bible where there’s a famine in the land and there’s a widow who has enough oil for one more meal, and the prophet visits her house. The prophet was able to multiply the oil in the jar in proportion to how much vessels she borrowed, which is an interesting concept, to begin with. She was encouraged to borrow to increase, which is something that we do.

She was about to pay off all of her resources, and then die, but she was encouraged to share that she would be blessed and have food and those resources will multiply.

It saved her family and have them abundance. I became convinced that there had to be something that God could multiply my life, even if it were a little bit of oil, but I couldn’t think of anything. I couldn’t identify your oil. After wrestling through it for about a week, the only thing I can think about is I read a book on Photoshop.

He read a book on Photoshop, and that’s what God had to multiply because there was nothing else.

First of all, who does that? Who reads a book on Photoshop? I had picked it up at books similar to the sales table, Photoshop CS6. There were two versions behind where Photoshop was at the time.

Did you have an interest in graphic design at all?

A little bit because I had a need in my ministry at the time. I make little logos and flyers. I make it look good. I was somewhat of a mediocre designer. I decided, “This is not much, but it’s a little bit of oil. I can sell myself as a graphic designer.” That’s all God needs. I heard myself say and I can probably figure out how to build a website that looks good because you can design. I felt like, “That’s it.”

The next day, I picked from the classified ads. I started looking at local businesses. I looked them up online to see if they had a website. If they did not, I call them. One of the first websites I sold was to Lake Mary Mini Storage. I did a course, build it, and picked up my $299 check at the time, which wasn’t enough to pay the bills, but I was thankful. I said, “Lord, I believe it.” I asked this for this impossible amount. I said, “I want to make $4,000 a month.” It was impossible at the time in my mind. My mindset was very small.

Now in some cases, you charge double that to be able to meet with you, to fly somewhere to meet with an influencer. You will charge more than double that to take your time to go fly to somebody.

It’s humbling to think about that. In month four, I was at that consistently. In month eight, we doubled it. A year later we doubled. That year later we doubled that. For several other years, we doubled that to the point we were literally making millions of dollars in online sales, and people would fly me in on the first-class ticket to pick my brain. It was crazy.

As a result, we became positioned right back in the middle of the church market and got completely redefined what it means to be a voice for the church. At the end of where I am now is I help leaders in the faith market to what I call steward their message. When you steward something, it multiplies. It has to do with the impact on the audience that you serve. How can you reach more people more effectively, but also how can you create an impact financially?

That coin has two sides. There’s the impact on the people, and then there’s the impact economically because you are going to need money to sustain the mission that God had in mind when he gave you that message. That’s what we do now. We help people, faith leaders predominantly, with their message and put it in formats that make it consumable for the audiences they are called to serve. We help them strategically put a plan together on how to create a sustainable economy that goes alongside a mission.

In what ways do you do that?

We published 200 books. We have a magazine group. We are probably going to do 253 other books. It’s not about books because people read. They listen, watch, participate, and attend. We are at a leadership retreat so people attend to get access to information and content or a message that our presenter possesses that helps them. If I can utilize any of these vehicles and package information around reading, listening, participating, attending, and watching, I can develop a whole portfolio of products around the message at different price points. Product development and books are the easier ones.

This is tough or interesting because most people would think that producing a book is an impossible task, but you do it over 200 times a year. That’s another way that you and I started working together more closely. I knew that I had a skillset that I could teach real estate agents or real estate investors that worked. I wanted to get that message out there at the highest level because I felt God calling me to serve at a higher level.

I self-published a book and put it on Amazon, and it was great. I had a lot of success with that. Anytime you put the written word in somebody’s hand, you add credibility. As a salesperson, you can tell anybody anything that you want. The minute you put the written word in their hand, now you are a scholar and you are credible.

You have become what I call the instant expert.

Anytime you put the written word in somebody's hand, you add credibility. As a salesperson, you can tell anybody anything that you want, but the minute you put the written word in their hand, now you're a scholar, now you're credible. And you become an… Click To Tweet

There’s a lot of great wisdom in the books that you publish. I have read many of them.

Even if you don’t know how to write yourself or you are too busy to write, I always say when God had a message, he decided to write a book, AKA the Bible. His strategy for producing the book was to use exclusively ghostwriters because he didn’t come down or write himself. He used Moses, Luke, John, and Isaiah to write the book on his behalf. It’s good enough for him. It should be good enough for us. Even if you don’t know how to write yourself, when the message lives inside of you, there’s a way where somebody can come alongside you, mine that information, and put it into written text.

That whole concept of ghostwriter confused me for a long time until I started working with you. I thought, “How does that even work?” Shouldn’t that message come out of the human that it originated in? After working with you as an extremely busy professional, I realize now I will do a Zoom call with a ghostwriter so it is coming out of me, but she’s taking the information and she’s typing it in a format. She delivers it to me in a format that I can go through and edit to make sure that I’m telling the story the right way. It’s a beautiful process for somebody who might be too busy to write a book to get a great message out there. You help create the marketing avenues around that book.

It is the product development of what products we want to create around a specific message. That could be a workbook or audiobook. It could be an event. It could be a coaching program. A diploma program is more comprehensive. It could be anything that you can imagine. I remember one time I created the first ever never done before 365 24/7 Children’s Pastors conference. We launched the Perpetual Children’s Pastors conference which was a hybrid of physical and digital and had all these different building blocks. People loved it.

I asked myself the question one day, “Why does an event have to end after 3 days or 1 day or however long the event is? What if it did not? What if it continued? What would it look like?” That’s how we came up with that. The sky is the limit. A lot of it has to do with creativity and dreaming up ideas that are unique to you as a person.

What challenges exist in your business now as you are trying to connect with influencers? Are you primarily looking for people that have a Christian message?

Not necessarily. Even your book that we help you with is about short-term rentals and strategies associated with that. Is that a Christian book? Is Happy Birthday to You a Christian song? For me, it’s a message that belongs to a Christian. I believe that you don’t have to quote Jesus all the time for something to be Christian.

For me, it’s one thing. It’s all blur together. I have learned one thing that ministry and business are not two separate things. That’s how we started this conversation. It’s all the same thing. The kingdom of God doesn’t come in words. It comes in demonstration and power. Many times, we think dualistically as opposed to, “How can I manifest the very thing that I was created for?” That doesn’t mean you have to preach or do those traditional three things that I thought I had to do because I was called by God for whatever that’s worth.

It’s interesting because I have experienced a similar thing. When I began to let God into my business, that’s when it took a hard left turn into what looks like a brick wall. From the outside looking in, there’s a lot of pain and change there. At this leadership conference, we are at a Sam Chand leadership conference. This man wrote a book called Leadership Pain, which is about growth equaling change.

You are either growing or you are dying. I made the decision to let go of what was comfortable in an effort to obtain a greater influence so that I could serve at a higher level and have a greater impact because of what I do. I help people have financial breakthroughs. If I can help somebody have a financial breakthrough, whether they are a Christian or not, it doesn’t matter.

You're either growing or you're dying. Click To Tweet

It’s an extra blessing when I hear somebody who has a full-time job and they are able to lay that down and do what they were put on earth to do like maybe go be a full-time pastor, or maybe even be a full-time mom or dad. How much more could we change the world by putting moms and dads at home with their kids? Those are the things that bless me. As my business was making a hard left turn and which looked like shattering into a brick wall, when you take a hard left turn and you go 100 miles an hour into that brick wall, you create a crack in that wall. Sometimes you shatter through it, sometimes you don’t.

I have had to take the bricks out. There was a crack. It gave me enough to get my pry bar in there. I managed to get a couple of bricks out, and I could see the daylight coming in from the other side. It’s a beautiful picture. I can see now why God ran me so hard left turn into that wall because now I can see the beauty coming through because I can see him showing up in my business in ways that I never allowed him to show up before.

A lot of times, people hear Christians talk about God speaking to them, but they don’t know what that means. A lot of Christians don’t even know what that means. When you say that God spoke to you or told you to do something, how did that manifest? What did that look like? You have talked about the trance, but in what other ways does God speak to you?

First of all, God speaks to different people in different ways in a language that you understand. He has this unique ability, at least I believe. That’s my conclusion. Who am I to figure out how God works? I have learned so far things that led me to this conclusion that God adapts to where we are at. I wrote a book called Unboxed. Many times, we live in our little box that’s created by the way we were raised, how we were educated, or our culture or ethnicity that we are part of. We are conditioning our experience to the box we created for ourselves, but God doesn’t work like that. God has this unique ability to come down to our box in order for us to hear him.

The only time you find God in a box is when he comes into our little box so we can hear him become a little bit more unboxed and have access to the greater reality he has for our lives. All of that to say, if you are Chinese, he’s not going to speak to you in English, or if you are deaf. He’s going to talk a little louder. He has this ability, I believe, to speak to you in ways that you can hear him. That would be a big Bible study on how to unpack that. When God speaks, it’s a revelation that supersedes anything that’s logical or circumstantial in your life. You just know.

There are moments in my life that I just knew. There was no doubt. It wouldn’t make sense many times, but this God consciousness of going a certain direction would obliterate the doubt. It doesn’t mean there was fear, but it came with bravery to overcome that. When God speaks, it comes with this incredible supernatural awareness that there’s a greater reality that doesn’t make sense for my natural circumstance.

You have to keep walking forward.

You got to trust. You got to do it. I can pinpoint certain moments in my life where I had to take those steps and step out of the boat, even though there were waves like Peter did, but it’s always paid off.

You produce a magazine called The Veil, and you have a new issue coming out. That is cool. You are in proximity to a lot of what I would consider great leaders, like John Maxwell, Scott Wilson, and Sam Chand. There are so many people on your list that you have proximity to. Is there anything that you have discovered that all of these great leaders have in common? Is there anything that in producing the magazine that you find that is a universal revelation to you?

I don’t know if I have identified a common denominator. I know that I gravitate to people that are willing to invest in relational equity. I owe a lot to Sam Chand and his family. His two daughters work for us. His wife couldn’t be here, but normally she would be here. We have become family. Probably the biggest thing that has resulted in the level of respect I have for him is that relationship above everything, above financial gain.

Is that what Sam exemplified to you, relationship equity over finances?

Yes. He has a message that’s phenomenal and out of his world. He blows your mind every time he says something. There are a lot of people like that.

I wish people in the business world even at beginning levels would understand that. I wish they wouldn’t wait until they get to a level where they meet Sam. Sam is an advisor to large and experienced pastors. He’s still out there serving at a very high level, which is inspiring too. It takes people too long in their business journey to realize that they shouldn’t put a dollar in front of a human relationship. I learned that at 28 years old in Los Angeles, California when I moved out there and was working in the mortgage industry. Sometimes I feel like I went out there to pursue a creative career, but what I was supposed to learn was that lesson, and I learned that lesson at 28 years old.

It takes people too long in their business journey to realize that they shouldn't put a dollar in front of a human relationship. Click To Tweet

That’s how I have operated my business since then. That’s not what I learned from Sam. I learned that the pain that you experienced from the growth of your business or the realigning of your business is normal. When you align your business with God, challenges will come upon you because there are forces out there that don’t want you to succeed, and that’s normal.

Reading Sam’s book and being around some men of God who have succeeded at a very high level has helped me understand that this is normal. It’s the same way I would coach a real estate agent. I have done this many times. A real estate agent will come to me and say, “I have been talking to a couple. They came to town, and I drove them all around the lake. I showed them 24 properties this weekend. They decided not to buy anything. I’m upset. I’m depressed. I’m complaining to you as my leader.”

I would say to them, “You haven’t earned the right to complain yet because they haven’t come back three more times and you bought them lunch three more times. If you have attempted to serve them at the highest level three more times and put in your time, energy, and effort, and they end up going and buying a home in some other town, you then have earned the right to complain. We are colleagues, but until that point, you don’t have the right.”

It’s funny that as a leader, I have said these conversations to people, but I have to be in the conversation myself as a humble leader and new leader wanting to do greater things and to be in proximity to some of these great men who say, “That’s the business of leadership. People will leave you because they don’t believe in your vision anymore. It doesn’t matter why because they are on their path and you are on yours.” That’s hard for leaders to stomach sometimes. I know it was hard for me, but now I realize it’s normal. I now realize that’s part of growing, expanding, and following the will of God in my business.

My favorite quote from that book is, “Growth requires change. Change requires loss, and loss requires pain. Therefore, growth equals pain.”

Growth requires change. Change requires loss, and loss requires pain. Therefore, growth equals pain. Click To Tweet

No doubt about it. It is perfect timing for me. What a great place to learn this lesson or to, at minimum, digest the lesson because I have learned the lesson. This is a great place to digest the lesson and talk about it with people like you. I’m very blessed to know you and to be in proximity to men like you and also the men that you serve in your business. Here’s why. It is because you don’t just talk. You know how the Bible says you can tell false prophets from real prophets by their fruit.

Look at your fruit. You are serving people at a very high level, and your whole family is involved in what you are doing. They are all extremely talented. I have had the privilege to work with a number of your children. They are high-quality professionals at a very young age. Most of something that I’m working with, they are still discovering. It seems like you have been able to fast-track your children through a discovery process to some extent. I know there’s discovering some things. As a business person who’s working with you, I find your children to be more professional than the 40, 50, and 60-year-olds I have worked with, so congratulations.

Once I figured out how I did it, I will let you know. You are very kind.

Here’s to a great drink and a great conversation.

Thank you.

A big thank you for reading until the end of the episode. I know your time is valuable, and I hope you got a few takeaways that are going to help you get a greater return. I know you will. If you did enjoy it, I sure appreciate a share or comment. Feel free to subscribe for instant access to new episodes and offers. There’s also a ton of free content and ways to learn and engage more at Until then, we’ll continue to bring new recipes for success and real stories from real people who, like you, are living out their divine purpose. God loves you. No matter what happens, don’t give up.


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About Martijn van Tilborgh

CDRE 18 | Marketing Minister

Whether it’s challenging outdated ministry paradigms or initiating creative business strategies, he believes that thriving in tomorrow’s world starts today. Combining biblical insight with business intuition and prophetic edge with a passion for God’s kingdom, Martijn specializes in helping thought leaders and vital voices amplify their message, multiply their audience and maximize their impact.

After spending a decade in church planting and missionary enterprises in his native The Netherlands and South Africa, Martijn’s vision for extending the kingdom evolved to include those in the marketplace, beyond the walls of the traditional church. Now he serves as a strategic marketing architect and consultant for numerous large churches, organizations and well-known individuals. Among the services he provides are book publishing, brand development and marketing.

In addition to speaking at churches, conferences and workshops, Martijn has shared some of what he has learned in several books. They include Unboxed: Uncovering New Paradigms for Tomorrow’s Church, Unleashed: How To Turn Your Message Into Impact and A Time of War: The Inevitable Conflict Between the Church of Today and the Church of Tomorrow.