By Josh King
The worst thing about social media is that it gives those who shouldn’t have a microphone a very large megaphone. At least, that’s what a friend of mine with 16,000 Twitter followers once said.
I don’t know that he’s wrong. The truth is we live in a day and time in which it’s not difficult to build a platform or yield an unprecedented amount of influence.
It can be debated as to how much influence one actually has and whether or not that influence is directly proportional to one’s platform size (social media followers, podcasts downloads, church congregation etc.).
But for the sake of this conversation, let’s assume that the more connections you have, the more influence you yield.
The real questions are: What are we to do with that influence, and how are we to use that platform?
A platform can be a good thing and having a wide influence can be beneficial. But there are some problems with it and chief among them is the desire for such a platform.
There are several verses of Scripture that would encourage—even command—you not to seek the spotlight. Such as:
“…seek to lead a quiet life…” (1 Thessalonians 4:11) and “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
I understand those verses are not speaking of social media reach but it’s difficult for me to comprehend a person attempting to amass a large following while at the same time seeking to live a quiet life or not be selfishly ambitious.
A large platform or influence is a gift from God. Truly, any platform is a gift from God. So what should we do with the sway that God has given us? Two things.
First, we should attempt to glorify God. We need to leverage the audience of eyes that see our material and the number of ears we reach with our words in a way that brings attention and glory to God.
This means we should be careful not to seek to impress others with our own intellect, wit, or connections. One of the most egregious offenses of someone who is robbing God of glory is the person who is constantly name dropping.
There are some among us who simply can’t tweet or post a video to their Instagram stories without letting everyone know what great friends they are with Dr. So-and-So or Pastor Who’s Who.
There is no justification for such habits as they are purely an attempt to lift one’s status up by building up those who they believe to have a greater influence or platform than they do.
The second is to build others up. Unlike our name-dropping friends I just mentioned, our habit should be to encourage people—to use our position of influence to help others.
It’s a different situation to constantly be throwing an “attaboy” at the person who isn’t considered to be a big deal or at the unknown pastor or local church volunteer.
In this case, you’re using what God has given you to build up others. It’s much like everything else—money, time, energy, and talent. God hasn’t given you the measure of influence you have in order to focus on yourself.
Let me finish with a word of stewardship: Your reach, or platform, or influence, whatever you want to call it, is a gift from God and should be stewarded well.
If you think of your platform as a resource to be stewarded, this realization directs what you post, how you respond to others. If you have 100 followers or 1,000 spend your time making much of Jesus and lifting others up.
You may hear people from time to time say building a platform or spending time on social media and activities like podcasting are a waste of time, or even sinful. This is true if you’re only using it for yourself and your own benefit.
But when we submit our platform and influence toward God’s glory and the good of others, it can yield beautiful, eternal fruit.
JOSH KING (@JoWiKi) is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas, husband of Jacki, and father of three boys. He’s also a co-host of the EST.church podcast.