I have a love-hate relationship with platforms. They’re a useful tool for reaching people with an important message. But we’re bombarded with pressure to build a platform and an audience, which can be a double-edged sword for believers. While we genuinely want to share the gospel with others, we don’t want to be consumed with numbers and the size of our reach.
I try to see the platform as an opportunity for an altar. It’s giving of myself in a sacrificial way to the reach God has provided. An altar is a place of offering, sacrifice, humility, and dependence. The gift that is brought is intended for another. Conversely, a platform is an elevated place of leadership in some form. It’s a space where messages are communicated, songs are performed, and challenges are issued. A place where we may be tempted to think we are the gift being offered to others.
Ultimately, both altars and platforms, as with all things, are for God’s glory. So how can ministry leaders keep our hearts in the right place as our influence grows and we’re tempted to forget the sweetness of the early and small days of serving a few gladly? Here are three ways to view your platform as an altar.
1. Remember Your Calling
Reflecting on the initial reasons for entering ministry can be valuable. Don’t forget to remember the ways God provided for this opportunity in the first place. This immediately brings my mind to Abraham and Isaac. In Genesis 22, God calls Abraham to the ultimate act of obedience and sacrifice: he asks him to offer up his son. Not just any son either, the son he was promised, the son he waited for, and the son that God provided. Yet Abraham acted in obedience and trust.
Chances are, when you first started in ministry, there was a healthy amount of obedience and trust needed. Bring that to mind and revisit the ways God provided during the early days.
Seeing the platform as an altar is a reminder to obey and trust.
2. Tend with Good Stewardship
Scripture reminds us that with great responsibility, there is greater accountability (Luke 12:48). Abraham had wood, flame, and a knife—three instruments of harm to his son yet tools of obedience to his Father. Those items must have felt as heavy as boulders, and the weight of burden felt both right and wrong at the same time. Isaac wonders where the lamb is that they’re preparing to offer, and Abraham simply says in faith that God would provide.Seeing the platform as an altar is a reminder to obey and trust. Click To Tweet
Abraham understands this tension between the weight and wonder of responsibility. Between burden and blessing. Abraham carried tools that could harm or help. Likewise, we walk cautiously with the platforms God gives because we can use them for glory or greed.
Seeing the platform as an altar is asking for wisdom in rightly caring for the audience and the message he gives.
3. Cancel Comparison
Sometimes the way platforms are given seems backward in our society. Someone with high name recognition gets a book deal (whether they’re a good writer or not), and their platform grows, while a great writer may lack opportunities because they’re unknown. This scenario is ripe for comparison and jealousy.
Comparison is a thief, and one obvious example of this is in church planting. A younger church has more people and their own building already. An older church may be struggling and feel like they should be farther along than they are. Another church’s meeting space looks much better than ours, or their children’s program is exactly what we’ve been working so hard to achieve yet unable to accomplish. Might we be tempted to look at the numbers, the sphere of influence, or the size of the impact that we perceive to validate our ministry?
Seeing the platform as an altar is looking to God alone for validation and approval.
Remember the son and the Son
Abraham’s platform came through his son. He had the opportunity to be remembered throughout church history for his faith, his numerous descendants, and his obedience. Not only did his platform come through his son, it came through the ultimate surrender and laying down of the very one who brought opportunity and hope. Abraham modeled what it looks like for the platform to become an altar. Seeing the platform as an altar is looking to God alone for validation and approval. Click To Tweet
What would it look like to step down from our platforms and rightfully put Jesus there as we bow in humility, lifting him up? To think of those stages as altars of worship, surrender, humility, offering, and obedience. We have only to look to the Lamb of God, who did this very thing for us. He came down to us, became the ultimate sacrifice, and paid our debt. He lived his life in worship, surrender, humility, offering, and obedience. Our privilege now is to invite others into this paradoxical kingdom where things seem upside down. To give of ourselves as a living sacrifice.