Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, says that in order to be successful in today's world you need two things:
a. A compelling product.
b. A meaningful platform.
I believe we as Adventists are good at the first one. Our message is powerful. Our beginning was providential. Our emphasis is prophetic. From a handful of disappointed North Americans, we have become a worldwide, multicultural movement that seeks to point people back to scripture. We can make a compelling argument directly from the Word, and we seek to inspire people to return to a more biblical approach to Christianity.
Yet, more than 50% of people in the United States do not know who we are, many others confuse us with Jehovah's Witness or Mormons, and yet others identify us only by our diet and what we don't do.
As a ministerial director, I seek to help leaders to grow together in 4 areas that can help us become more effective in "platform building". The word to remember is LEAD. It's an acronym for:
Let's take the first one, leadership. John Maxwell loves to say: "if you are leading and no one is following, you are only taking a walk". I grew up in a church where leadership wasn't taught, explained, modeled, mentored, preached, or practiced much. It got a little better in my formal education, but most of the leadership concepts I learned came about in two ways: 1. Personal interest in the subject. 2. Personal mistakes that taught me leadership lessons. I remember arriving at my first church (some might identify with what I am about to share), and having my first board meeting. I was coming in with all these plans, dreams, and was absolutely sure who the leader was. Me! After all, I was the pastor! That lasted about 30 minutes. My plans and ideas went out the window faster than you can say "I'm in charge". I remember feeling very discouraged. I survived, but noticed immediately my very present need to grow in the area of leadership. It took me a while to understand that I am none of these three things:
*I am not the man. In other words, I can't make ministry be about me, because it isn't.
*I am nor the messiah. I am not indispensable. There is only one Messiah and his name is not Roger.
*I am not the manager. I am not called to just maintain the status quo, to just run programs and keep everyone happy. I was called to lead, not manage.
As a ministerial director, I do this in three ways:
1. I screen all my invitations through the LEAD concept. It's impossible to preach, teach, and present everywhere we are invited to. So, when invited to attend an event, present a seminar or preach at a church, I ask myself how that event fits in the overall mission and vision. That helps me stay focused, on track and on point.
2. I use multiple avenues to communicate the LEAD message. Twitter, blog, Facebook, email, articles in the union paper (or like this one). Every time I send an email, it's an opportunity to further the brand, and instill the values.
3. I seek to develop leaders, not just train members. Training is important, but it's not enough. Through LEAD Conferences, LEAD Resources, and other avenues, I am interested in leadership development. I measure my success by how many leaders have grown as a result of the conferences and resources, not how many attended an event. It's growth by multiplication, not addition.
May God help you, to LEAD today.