We work with a number of Christian authors and artists who felt uncomfortable at first about putting so much emphasis on “growing their platform,” which is a fancy way of saying expanding their reach on social media, their website, and in other influence areas.
At first, many of these creative Christians didn’t seem to understand why their agents and publishers were requiring them to have so many followers and friends, why they couldn’t just focus on producing their work and let the publishing houses do the rest.
We explained, of course, about how books and art and other creative pursuits are just as much a business as a backpack or an item of clothing. We explained how engaging with others online fosters interest and connection. Still, the grumbles persisted. They also worried about the long-term repercussions: isn’t growing my “platform” a selfish pursuit that glorifies me instead of God? Shouldn’t I be more humble?
Then we went deep and had an epiphany: for authors and artists and others, especially those with any kind of spiritual thrust to their work, creating the work and then sitting back (done!) simply isn’t good enough. Christians particularly are called to carry the Gospel to the mission field—yet sometimes forget that the mission field isn’t just serving on a construction or medical team overseas but also simple, conversational, everyday connections with peers, neighbors, community members, and others.
In short, their platform—whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram—is their mission field. And if they feel called to produce a spiritual creative work, releasing that Gospel work to the world only through traditional, mainstream channels doesn’t quite suffice as doing everything they can to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth. Social media and other digital communication is a good and easy way to connect with others. It’s today’s version of the community well or the corner store of yesteryear, a place where strangers can become acquaintances and, eventually, real friends.
And it’s essential to growing your reach, your readers, and your business.