This question changed everything for me: What would you do from your platform if you were there to serve?
The metaphor of “platform” is that it’s lifted up so that you might be seen and heard. And it’s true that many people step onto a platform with an insatiable desire for attention and affirmation. But that’s not why a lifeguard steps onto a platform.
Two of my kids have served as summer lifeguards, and if there was any proud “look at me, I’m a lifeguard!” attitude, by the end of day one that gets burned off by the hot sun and splashed off by pesky little kids, who might drown themselves if you aren’t carefully watching over them.
When we approach our platform like a lifeguard, we recognize that yes, we’re lifted up so that our voice can travel and we can be seen. But ultimately, we’re there to serve others. We’re there to toss out the buoy of the gospel, proclaim lifesaving truth, and call out warnings and reminders. As we step onto our platforms, our deserve to serve others and lift Jesus high is what steadies us against the regular tidal waves of fear, doubt, insecurity, and complacency.
Now, some people, looking on as we regularly make our climb up the lifeguard stand, won’t ever understand. I had an older person tell a mutual friend that I was full of myself, because every time she opened facebook, there I was again, sharing about my new Bible study. I had another author tell me I was wrong to write “Influence” (which encourages authors and speakers to find the redemptive aspects of platform building). From her perspective, “platform” building shouldn’t even be in the vocabulary of a Christian ministry worker.
Right, wrong, or somewhere in between, my heart is to serve others who need the truth of God’s Word.
That’s not to say that I don’t slip back into me-focused measuring. The world’s thinking is like an undertow that I must always guard against. But He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.
Are you conflicted over “platform building” as a Christian? Do you have a burning desire to teach or share truth, and also a pit in your stomach when you worry who might think you’re full of yourself if you stepped out to try?
Oh how we understand. That’s why Kate Motaung and I wrote, “Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me)”.
It’s true that those of us who step onto the platforms that God has placed under our feet might be misunderstood, even by other Christians. But that’s when we have to check our goals. Were we here to be understood, appreciated, and applauded? Nope. We’re here to lift up Jesus and serve his Church. Let’s just keep doing that.
Were you part of the Speak Up Conference this week? If you’d like, write back and tell me which of my “5 Ways to Live Me-Free in This Measure-Up Influencer World” you most want to put into practice. I’d love to hear how God is working in your life.
Also, sign up here for our Influence quiz: