In a recent article, Christianity Today contributor (and thus, platform user) Martin Saunders wrote a piece titled, “Platform: why a culture of self-promotion threatens to throttle the church.” The article takes aim at former CEO of Thomas Nelson, Michael Hyatt, and the influence of his book: “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.”
In the article Saunders writes:
“… my nagging concerns about Christian platform culture have slowly escalated. I’ve watched as self-promotion among leaders, speakers and writers has gone from a sin of pride to an act of apparent necessity.”
Saunders thinks that platform building for Christians is all about making Jesus “more famous,” which he correctly calls out as not being right, but judgingly assumes that that is the motive behind Christian platform building.
So on that note he quotes Mark 9:35 about how we are called to be “last” and to be “servants to all” (as if to assume that platform building isn’t about serving!).
Saunders, it seems, is frustrated because though he wrote on this before, nothing changed. Why aren’t people listening to me and doing what I said? he’s wondering. I mean, if Martin Saunders wrote for change on this subject, why hasn’t the culture simply changed?
“I wrote a couple of articles on this a few years ago, and lots of people sagely nodded in agreement. Nothing changed though, in fact platform culture has become more entrenched in the modern church.”
So this time it’s no more mister nice guy. Saunders is throwing the gauntlet down, or rather, throwing “open the window” (presumably it’s high up, probably so that his message can get noticed in a noisy world…):
“Stop! This is ludicrous!”
He goes on to quote Paul in Philippians 1, that “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Then Saunders writes this:
“We need leaders who genuinely prefer one another; who seek to build each other up rather than jostle for position. And when some of us find ourselves in positions of influence, we have to continually guard ourselves against pride and abuse of position. One of the best ways of doing that is for leaders to surround themselves with people to whom they’re genuinely accountable; friends who will tell them when they’re starting to believe their own hype or get competitive, and to whom they’ll actually listen.”
And he’s right, 100%. But what’s that got to do with platform building? It seems to me that paragraph serves to judge the motives of platform builders. As if to say, if you’re building a platform you don’t “genuinely” prefer one another. As if by platform building, leaders are by default jostling each other for positions rather than working together for God’s Kingdom.