Publicising your blog, book or conference schedule may look like kingdom work, but what if Christians just trusted God to lead them instead? asks William Wade
When I was a young believer, starting to develop leadership traits and being given speaking opportunities in my local church, I had a disturbing conversation with an older pastor.
We were discussing a friend of mine, who was in his early 20s and had very clear preaching abilities. This pastor said: “That boy is for the top, and so are you.” It was intended as a compliment, and I initially took it as such. But it has troubled me ever since. What was ‘the top’ and why were we headed there?
Getting to the top
Building a platform for your ministry used to be a case of who you knew within certain denominations, streams or movements. A lot would depend on your willingness to network at conferences and toe the party line. If you had been to Bible College (or, even better, university) that would also set you apart.
Isn’t that part of our walk with Jesus; for us to become less and for him to increase?
Today, it couldn’t be easier to build a platform. We can build ourselves a website, develop a blog (or vlog, if we’re good looking enough), use all the social media our souls can handle and flagrantly publicise ourselves all over the place. We can tell everyone where we are speaking and why they need to be there, add links to our articles, books and bank accounts. Easy. And so many doing it.
But is it the way of Jesus? I’m not asking whether Jesus would be on social media or not. I’m asking if Jesus would have us build our platforms.
Ministering in obscurity
As I read about Jesus ministering in the Gospels, he often told those who had experienced clear miracles not to publicise them. He didn’t crave the roar of the crowd, he famously shunned it; he invested his life’s work into twelve people, knowing he would soon depart. In other words, he didn’t build a huge platform for himself. He concentrated on building the kingdom of God.
So, should we come off social media, live in the wilds, away from the world? I don’t think so. But we can embrace a touch of obscurity when it comes to promoting the kingdom of God.
It really isn’t all about us, our sermons or our book. It’s not about our blog, or the conference appearance that we just “knocked out of the park”. It’s about Jesus. Of course, those parading themselves 24/7 on social media will say it is about the kingdom of God, but is it really?
Keeping it quiet
What if we didn’t let everyone know where we’re speaking, what we’re writing or how amazing our ministry is? What if we let others say that of us? Sure, it’s a hit to the ego, but isn’t that part of our walk with Jesus; for us to become less and for him to increase. For him to have the platform?
Let’s run into all that God has for us. If he opens doors for us, let’s walk through them – but do we really have to publish everything we’re doing? Isn’t that a mentality of making sure we’re heading for ‘the top’?
Jesus often told those who had experienced clear miracles not to publicise them
Here’s a challenge for 2023: don’t tell anyone what you’re doing on social media, where you’re speaking, what you’re writing, how you’re leading. Sure, publicise others in a way that doesn’t feed their ego, but don’t publicise yourself. Let others do that (without you asking them to).
I’ll be doing some stuff this year, but I’m not telling anybody. Because it’s not about me. I won’t even be telling them under the guise of: “would you pray about this?” I have a church around me that can pray for what I do, as I pray for them.
Let’s concentrate on building the kingdom of God, not building a bigger platform. And let’s lose the mentality of having to strive to get to ‘the top’ (whatever that is). It may be the way of the Christian celebrity, but it is not the way of Jesus.