I feel like I am at a crossroads in my ministry/ writing/ career. According to all professional resources, it is time for me to decide if I am “serious” about my writing. It is time to choose whether or not I continue to dabble in writing as a hobby that I love and enjoy or I take it up a notch, build a platform, network like crazy and shoot for the big publishing contracts. I have given it a lot of thought, and I have made a decision that I am going to share because I want to be held accountable. I will be building my platform the way Jesus did. Let me break that down a little more…
Yeah, at times, Jesus had a ton of followers- thousands of people came from all around to hear him speak. But they were only looking for a miracle. They followed him so they could witness him feed them, heal them, and raise them from the dead. Jesus’ true followers were twelve individuals who wouldn’t stand out in a room of ordinary people much less be considered movers and shakers.
Jesus didn’t tell people what they wanted to hear. His message was difficult to hear and went against everything in the culture (as it still does today). At times, all of his followers left at His words and He even asked His disciples if they were prepared to stay. Their decision would have had no impact either way on His message. It was from His Father, and He had complete confidence and conviction it in.
Jesus’ Response to Influencers
The chief influencers of Jesus’ day were the Pharisees and other leaders in the temple. Rather than fan boy over them, he called them out continually for their hypocrisy. In the end, it was his response to these influencers that cause them to leverage their power and convince the political leaders to have Jesus killed.
Jesus’ strategy in ministry was LOVE and FAITH. He loved his disciples well, taught them with all sincerity, and had faith that they would, in the power of the Holy Spirit, spread that love and truth to others. That was it. He put all of his eggs in one basket, but that basket wasn’t the disciples. It was God. He had faith that His Father would complete the work through the imperfect human beings who would follow in His footsteps.
As always, Jesus’ approach is complete counter-intuitive to the way that our culture’s. But as usual, His way works! His message is everywhere and has persisted through consistent opposition and oppression. His lack of a platform has had really incredible results! So, with this perspective, I will be throwing out the advice from the many well-researched professionals out there and follow Jesus’ strategy.
I’m not calling publishing companies Pharisees or saying that Instagram followers will one day turn on you to have you murdered (although their comments may seem to suggest that at times). I’m saying that I personally see this situation as a potential (and probable) heart issue for me. I know my heart, and it cannot be trusted. I’m not going to lie. I love seeing my name in print on the cover of a book. But there’s only one book where my name really matters, and that’s the Lambs Book of Life. If I gain all the followers but lose Him, I have nothing. I have to be SO careful to check my motivation in every step that I take or I could miss out on the whole meaning of life! What a tragedy that would be!
So I will be relentlessly repeating a new mantra to myself- NOT MINE.
I will strive to build His kingdom, not mine.
I will work to make His name known, not mine.
I will desire to do His will, not mine.
I will wait for His timing, not mine.
I will prayerfully relay His message (with fear and trembling), not mine.
In being a Christian I claim that I exist solely to bring God glory. Therefore, if God tells me to write something and no one ever reads it, I have brought Him glory simply by acting in obedience to Him. More exposure does not bring Him more glory, only more devotion and obedience does. I refuse to let numbers become an idol in my life. Let me make one thing clear, having followers does not mean that a platform has become an idol, but I know my personality, and I know that it could very easily become exactly that.
SO my decision is to not try to gain followers for the sake of gaining followers. I will not make a goal of growing my email list until it has a comma in it. I will not say things because I think people want to hear them. I will write what God places on my heart and be faithful to the ministry that He places in front of me, whatever that may be in each season. (Even if that means that my only audience is my kids!) I will desperately and intentionally fight the urge to look at the numbers, to compare myself to others and to base the effectiveness and possibility of God’s ministry on data. Like Jesus in the temple, I am going into my heart, flipping over the tables of selfish ambition and vain conceit, and driving out the thoughts that are consuming my resources which should be poured into worship. I will probably never get the “big contract” and my name won’t be one of the “big names” in Christian ministry, and I am more than okay with that. If I bring God glory by following Christ with my life, that is MORE THAN ENOUGH! If people read my words and through them encounter Jesus, what an incredible bonus!