To Boycott or Not – What to do with Target? – and 6 Guiding Principles to Consider

To Boycott or Not. What to do with Target?

To Boycott or Not. What to do with Target?

I’m sure you’ve seen and read and heard it all… and those who are believers in Jesus Christ are finding themselves on both sides of this “Targeted” issue. Before I share what God has given me, if you aren’t caught up, read these two short articles:

Read this article from the American Family Association –

And then read this – for another side of things3 Missional Truths to Consider Before Boycotting Target by

As I have prayed and pondered, I hesitantly but obediently feel led to add my voice to the millions of others speaking out on this subject. Hesitantly, because in reality, I don’t feel like have the time or mental energy to take on another battle right now. But who ever does? There will never be a “right time to do the right thing” will there?

But first, I want to share some principles gleaned over the years of reluctantly obeying and taking some public stands and to participate in a number of “boycotts” as salt and light in this ever darkening world.

Oh how I pray that you’ll hear and receive this offered humbly from my heart.  While I have dedicated my life to the position that we are to be about sharing the Light and Love of Jesus Christ, a “boycott” of this Target nature isn’t exactly about that. It’s about asking the businesses (where we invest our dollars) to remain neutral in the culture war. Just neutral. That’s all.

If we boycotted every business or person because they weren’t Christ-honoring… well… we’d never buy, sell, go, or do anything anymore, would we? (We’d probably have to boycott ourselves, too!)

We don’t boycott simply because the Gospel needs to be made known. Though it definitely does. We boycott because as a collective of people in a noisy noisy world, it’s the one way our voices will reach the decision makers of these corporations. However, unless a large enough group of people commit to stand together, what wrote in his article will happen, and the boycott will be more than ineffective… it will be hurtful.

“If all Targets in the South dropped topline sales 3% next month due to Christian boycotts, guess what would happen? Front line employees would get their hours cut to compensate for those stores’ bottom-line figures until things blow over. Do you think a CEO is sweating his six-digit bonus over a 3% decline in a certain cluster of stores for a quarter? Not at all.

But I’ll tell you who does suffer. The single mom or college kid paying his tuition by working the late shift at Target…”

So what are we to do?

May I offer what I’ve learned so far?
6 Guiding Principles when considering joining a boycott.

1. First of all, we must pray for discernment and strength. Seek the Lord instead of getting caught up in the media frenzy. Ask God what He would have for YOU to do. James 1:5 tells us that if we ask for wisdom, God will give it, and give it in great amounts!

We can’t, nor should, join every boycott going on in the world – even those offered by wonderful people and organizations. But we MUST take a stand when the Lord calls us to rise up in His name.

2. When we DO take that stand, as Christ followers, we must do it in humility and in a way that honors Jesus Christ. Oh the damage we do when we don’t act and react in love. Col. 3:12-17 instructs us in this, especially vs 17.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”  (Col. 3:17, NLT)

3. As we are taking the stand, we must humbly let the people (both local and headquarters) know why. This is important. If we simply stop shopping or eating at a certain place, and a boycott is going on, dots may be connected. But if we will take the extra few minutes to send an email or make a call, those taking notice of the difference the boycott is making will chalk up our absences to “the cause.” This gives our voices weight in the matter. And our {kind and humble} voices DO make a difference.

4. We must commit to be in it for the long haul. A boycott isn’t an easy, quick fix. Trust me. I’ve participated in my share of them, some lasting years! It will cost us (and our families). We will all of a sudden find ourselves with offers and temptations to go, shop, eat, etc. and we’ll have to make that decision over and over again to say, “No, and this is why.” But every time we {humbly and kindly} add, “this is why,” we continue to spread the message of the boycott, and maybe others will be influenced, maybe others will stand, maybe others’ hearts will be changed… and maybe even a door will be opened for the Gospel to be shared.

It will be tempting to fizzle out, give in, and secretly sneak in and shop, eat, etc. when the media buzz dies down. Many will. This is when step one comes back into play. IF we have sought God’s wisdom and discernment, and IF God is the one who has called us to the boycott, and IF He has not released us from it, then our marching orders are from Him to continue on until He changes His instructions. Right? This is how we can press on until the end, when very few others remain in the fight. It will be hard. Just know this from the beginning, and be prepared to stick with it through the strength of the Lord!

5. Know that boycotts ARE effective! I’ve had the privilege to be called to participate in some over the years where when these businesses have seen (through their bottom line) that enough people were serious and willing to put their “money where their mouth is” they purposefully altered policy, wording, and/or switched gears back to neutral.

Neutral. That’s all we’re asking for.

6. When the boycott is over or suspended (and this is just as important) – we must THANK the business, both on the local and corporate level. Again, in humility and with a Christ-like spirit, we need to use our words and our pocketbooks to show these places that we will support them as long as they remain neutral in this culture war. The hope is that enough people have stood firm throughout the boycott, so that once the corporation agrees to the boycott’s terms, an increase in sales will be quickly noticed.
Now, as for me and my money and Target… as much as it pains me to do it… I will be signing the AFA petition today, contacting the corporate office, and breaking up with my beloved store. UNTIL they stop allowing any man who dresses as a woman to enter the ladies restroom, I will let my {humble and Christ-like} voice be heard through my words and dollars. Thanks to the apps and website, we’re never too far away from Target, though the nearest store is two hours north of us and it’s always one of the first stops on our list when we hit a town that has one.  Sadly, until a policy change occurs, it’s off the list.


Dear Target,

I will miss you, but as soon as you revert your policy, I promise I’ll be back!!!



And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:17 (NLT)





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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at


  1. Well said! Do you have examples of effective boycotts? The aaronwlslon article that you linked to said very few were effective. I would like to know of some effective examples. The call for humility, love, discernment, thinking and doing what God has asked. Yes, I agree. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for a measured response to the media frenzy. I will not be shopping at Target, but there is not one close so no one would miss me. Writing will allow me to join in expressing my concern.