The handbook of today's profile-building movement is Michael Hyatt's Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.
Although not specifically intended for pastors, bloggers and other ‘famous’ Christians, Hyatt's book – written by a Christian and published by faith-based publisher Thomas Nelson – details an almost mechanical method to get noticed in an age of self-promotion.
At the other end of ideology, another new book suggests a very different path. Neither author nor publisher is Christian, but it presents a message which, in the age of ‘platform’, the Church desperately needs to hear.
The author is New Yorker David Zweig, and the book is Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion (Penguin).
Even the book's title is like oxygen; a one-line riposte to an aspect of culture that we all know is flawed.
Invisibles isn’t an attempt to deflate the collective ego of the world’s self-promoters. Instead, it points to the value of the many people who hold different aspirations.
Based on Zweig’s findings, we put together three key types of ‘invisibles’ that you may be able to spot in your church:
1. In-the-background Bill
Invisibles are the people who quietly make things happen without seeking public applause. Think of the person who operates the projection screen in your church. The only time you’ll notice them is when they aren’t doing their job properly.
2. Attention-to-detail Anne
This is the person who takes pride in the quality of their work, whether there is an audience or not. It’s the difference between an attractive and engaging church newsletter and a copy-and-paste Word document featuring 90s clipart.
3. Ever-reliable Robin
When a job needs doing well, you know who you can trust to take responsibility. You may not see them, but it could be the legal expert who dealt with that child protection issue, the engineer who makes sure the building is structurally sound or the accountant who makes sure the church doesn’t go bankrupt.
You may not have spotted them yet, but the invisibles will be there, serving in your church. Look carefully, and you might even spot a few of them this Sunday...