how Jesus developed His platform: definitive declaration

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

(Luke 4:18-19)

In my last post I wrote about the importance of private reflection and how you can use this to prepare yourself for the launch of your platform. The themes that you clarify through this process are the basis for the next step that Jesus used in developing His platform.

In the middle of a regular gathering for worship on the Sabbath, Jesus stood up and read a scripture from the book of Isaiah. This was not unusual for Him to do because the text mentions how this was “His custom”. What was extraodinary in this particular instance was the effect that His reading of the scripture had on the other people there.

When he sat down after reading “…The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him.”

He captured their attention with what he read because there was an authority with which He read this particular passage. And to make sure that it was clear to the people why they were feeling the way they were, He made a definitive declaration that “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

After His time of fasting and reflection in the wilderness, it was time to let the world know definitively about His purpose – that He was the fulfillment of the prophecy that He had read about.

The components of your declaration

In the same way, once you have spent time in reflection and are clear about your themes, you need to find a way to make a definitive declaration of your purpose with authority.  Your declaration does not have to be anything flashy, and you can choose a smaller audience than a room full of people.

But it does need to be two things:

  • Focused – Clearly outline your vision and ‘why’ you are embarking on your journey
  • Remarkable – Enchant your future tribe members with the themes that you have reflected on and start the process of drawing them in

The vehicle for your declaration

There are many different ways that you can make your declaration. Doing it is more important than how you do it.

In my case, I decided a blog would be the best place for me to ‘go public’. I actually have two public declarations – one that is very specific about my focus in 2013 and one in the form of a personal manifesto that I used to derive the themes for this year.

The personal manifesto is something I wrote 2 years ago and filed away for reflection to make sure that it wasn’t just something that I made up on a whim. I wanted to make sure that it truly reflected who I am and why I do what I do.

In your case, it could be in the form of a tweet, a Facebook post, an email, an announcement at an event, a YouTube video, a podcast or even a few phone calls to people that you know fall into your tribe.

Just put yourself ‘out there’ and you will be amazed how energized you will feel.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you might approach making your definitive declaration. Post in the comments below to let me know.

how Jesus developed His platform: reflection

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

(Luke 4:1-2 NIV)

Coming from the humble beginnings of a town that had a population of less than 500 over two thousand years ago it is remarkable that Jesus is responsible for a movement that numbers in the billions and spans five continents today. And most of this growth occurred without the use of Twitter or Facebook.

This worldwide movement was kicked off by a man, by Himself, in the wilderness, fasting for forty days.

Though I am not suggesting that you should launch your platform by going on a prolonged fast, the principles behind Jesus’ fast are important to study as a key entry point for you:

  • By Himself means that this was a private time where He was away from the public
  • and the wilderness represents a separation from everyday distractions and temptations

So the starting point for Jesus was a time of separation from everyday distractions and temptations that gave Him a focused period of private reflection. You need a similar process to prepare yourself both mentally and spiritually to share your gift with the world.

This reflection needs to happen before your tribe grows because it is the foundation of your brand.

The purpose of your reflection

The purpose of your reflection time is not to formulate goals and strategies about your platform though – and it is not a time to seek concrete answers to the millions of questions you have about how to build it. Use the time to acknowledge your temptations and clarify the key themes that you want to to be your focus.

Acknowledge your temptations

If we look again at Jesus, we see three encounters with Satan that illustrate the level of focus He had in the wilderness. They address three common temptations you may need to bolster yourself against before you begin:

  1. Bread from stones – the analogy to bread in this scene is money. When you release your focus from the temptation to find the fastest way to the financial resources that will be required to fulfill your vision; and you focus on how you will diligently serve your tribe, the path to resources will become clearer over time. An example of this temptation in the context of platform building is the blogger who spends too much time trying to monetize her blog instead of creating irresistible content that will draw her tribe in. ;
  2. Authority and splendour – the analogous temptation in this scene is that of seeking power or influence through the wrong avenues. In the building of your platform, your influence will not come from ‘bowing down’ to the latest trends that seem to be popular at the time. Instead, reflection gives you the opportunity to really examine what components of your message, product or service are unique and how you can fill an existing gap without artificially creating demand. ;
  3. Entitlement – do not make any assumptions about what your tribe should think about your expertise, qualifications or status. ;When you begin, the humility of knowing that there are no shortcuts because of any titles or certifications you have will serve you well. Jesus knew that his mission was larger than using His position as the Son of God to save himself – He did not need to put God to that test.

Clarify your themes

Themes are not goals, they are the overarching guides that will help you to create goals – but unlike goals which can be adjusted when circumstances change, themes remain constant. At the same time as you meditate on the temptations you want to avoid, you should solidify three to five themes for your platform.

The good news is that you have probably already formulated your major themes. Private reflection will primarily help you to bring them to the surface where they can become your focus.

Jesus already knew His themes before going into the wilderness.

They were:

  • Serve God
  • Humble Myself
  • Save Man

He clarified them by using them as the counterpoint to Satan’s temptations.

In the same way, your themes will help you to avoid traps along the way as you grow in influence.

For an idea on what themes might look like, here are mine.

Getting the most from your reflection

Finally, there are three things that can help you be fruitful in your private reflection:

  1. Take your time. This is not a process that you should rush. Alternatively, there is no minimum length of time you should spend – and if you are already in the middle of this process you may already be close to clarity. ;You may only need a day or two.
  2. Keep it to yourself. Now is not the time to share with others about your ideas and vision. Trust that what you need is already inside you and all you are doing is baring it down to its simplest form.
  3. Unplug. We are so hyperconnected today that we don’t have any space for reflection. Take some time away from you electronic devices and do some writing with a pen and pad as you reflect. You will be surprised how freeing this is to your creativity.

a timeless model for building your platform

One of the best ways I have found to learn about a new topic or area of interest that I want to implement in my life is to study models of others that have done so successfully.  I usually try to find patterns and themes in that model that I can digest and integrate into my own approach so that I eventually have something that fits with my personality and circumstances.  I don’t believe there are cookie-cutter approaches to most things and trying to find a silver bullet to solve a complex problem is usually a fools errand. 

When it comes to growing my sphere of influence by developing a platform there are a few models that I have looked at that I will be sharing with you on this blog over time.  They are from a wide variety of fields and formats but I felt the first one we should look at is an ancient one from the Bible.  I believe this model is timeless and can be relevant to you even if Christianity is not your faith tradition. 

When you examine the life of Jesus and His message in three years of focused ministry on earth there are some very clear themes that are parallel to building a movement today.  With very limited resources and a very humble beginning, He was able to systematically build a following that has only continued to grow more than two thousand years later.  He definitely had and continues to have a tribe.

Yes (if you believe as I do), He had the advantage of being the Son of God, but even if you just study what He did with an eye for some patterns that can be applied today, a model for your platform will emerge which I think you will see is very simple to grasp and will help to give you a roadmap that you can build on for yourself.

Over the next few posts, I will begin to paint this picture using the Gospel according to Luke chapter 4.  If you would like to read ahead, you can find it here.