I possess the world’s greatest message and the world’s most life-changing product. It is a message everyone needs to hear and a product that’s absolutely free, yet is more precious than refined gold or even a bucket full of rubies.
The message I’m speaking of is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The product, Heaven itself.
The problem I have as a Christian, a pastor, and a writer, however, is how do I wade through all the noise this world is hurling at my hearers so that they’ll listen to the message and consider my product? Ultimately, I find myself in the same predicament every other Christian around the globe finds themselves in today.
There’s just too much noise.
So what’s a Christian to do? How can we be more effective at Great Commission Discipleship and share the love of God with a world that doesn’t have ears to hear? How can you—as one of God’s chosen ambassadors—become more efficient at sharing your faith, particular through writing?
No doubt there are many ways to do this, for there are countless ministries you can subscribe to, but my question goes a bit deeper than that. When it all boils down, here’s the real issue at hand:
What can Christian writers do to more effectively influence others around them, cause others to listen up and take notice, and win souls for the Lord?
And that’s precisely why I wanted to read Michael Hyatt’s new book, Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World.
Michael authors a highly popular blog on intentional leadership, and knows a thing or two about books and marketing. He was the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and now sits on the Board of that company as its Chairman. He is a bestselling author, a Christian, a highly sought after speaker, and a man who wants to help others succeed.
I was selected by Michael to be one of 100 pre-launch team members for this book. We were given advanced copies of the book to read, to write reviews for, and to blog about. We weren’t asked to give positive reviews, just honest ones. And I’m thrilled to have read it because it has virtually transcended my understanding of social media, the importance of a sound foundation (ie: a platform), of building a tribe of followers, and how to launch a book release.
Platform has received praise from the likes of Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Craig Groeschel, Patsy Clairmont, Ron Edmondson, Jeff Goins, and Mary Demuth. And for good reason. Even though it isn’t a Christian book per se, the elements found therein can be utilized, in my opinion, in marvelous ways.
Platform has sixty short chapters jam-packed with interesting anecdotes, stories, and real life illustrations. But it also contains a wealth of solid information that any Christian writer could use to impact the world more efficiently for the glory of God alone.
I could tell you about dozens of things that captured my attention, but allow me to focus on one thing in particular. Let’s take a brief look at chapter five, which is titled, Don’t Settle For Less Than Great. (Please note that I have summarized Michael’s original Platform content found in the points listed below)
Michael gives his readers six points to focus on about how not to settle for anything less than great. Yet before unveiling the prize, he sought to remind them of their purpose, their vision, and their reason for interest in the first place.
At this very moment, you face a decision. Will you take a stand for the original vision or will you—and everyone else in the room—be swept out to sea, drifting along with the current, oblivious to what is happening?
As Christians who alone possess the greatest message and product there is, we simply cannot allow that to happen. Idleness will cause us to drift into obscurity. A do-next-to-nothing attitude, when it comes to our very reason for existence, is unacceptable behavior. We godly writers must persist, we must stay focused, we must put our words to paper and share them with others. Frankly, we haven’t been given a second option by our Lord.
NOTE: As you read these six points, think about how they can fit into your own writing career, and how you can become a more effective writer because of it.
1. Take a stand for greatness. Like many things in life, creating a wow experience begins with making a commitment. You must resolve in your own heart that you will not sell out or settle. This isn’t necessary for every project, of course. But when you decide that the dream warrants it, you have to take a stand and play full-out.
2. Connect with the original vision. King Solomon once said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Before it exists, it is only an idea. The only place it exists is inside your head. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and once again become present to what it is you are trying to create.
3. Remind yourself what is at stake. I have found that the best way to do this is to ask, “Why is this so important?”
4. Listen to your heart. Most of us have spent a lifetime ignoring—or even supressing—our intuition. I don’t know if this is a product of modern rationalism or American pragmatism. Regardless, I believe intuition is the map to buried treasure. It is not infallible, but neither is our reason. And it can point us in the right direction.
5. Speak up. This is the crucial step. You must give voice to your heart and go on the record to defend your wow ideas. If you don’t, who will? You may be the original dream’s last best chance of staying alive. This is why you can’t afford to remain silent.
6. Be stubborn. This is perhaps the toughest part of all. We all want to be liked. We don’t want to be “high maintenance” or unreasonable. But think back on your own history. Aren’t the people you respect the most also the ones who demanded the most from you? You may not have fully appreciated it at the time but, looking back, their stubborn refusal to settle is what made the difference.
The truth is, mediocrity is natural. You don’t have to do anything to drift there. It just happens. But if you want to create truly wow experiences—and if you want to build your platform—then it is going to require courage. Are you willing to be brave?