Destroying Your Platform, Relinquishing Your Tribe, and my friend @AnnVoskamp

I was talking with my friend Ann a few weeks ago and we got to talking about platforms, tribes, and building your brand ect. All the rage on social media.

I have a book coming out in March.  

You have records to promote.

We all have to pay the bills.

What better way than to build our tribes?!


When I asked her about building a platform I will remember her reaction as clearly as I will remember her words.

She laughed.

A very Ann laugh.  Full of holy thunder. Then she said…

“Build OUR platform?  We are actually called to destroy OUR platform and build HIS.”

And so began the paradigm shift in my head and heart.


He must increase, but I must decrease. – John 3:30


I’m not a pastor of a church.  My bills are not going to be paid by telling people to stop booking me to speak or lead worship or to stop reading my blog.


What if the platform we are building is built on Christ alone?  I think then, it becomes HIS. And people will see HIM ALL OVER YOU.

You don’t need to just write about God or sing about God in order for John 3:30 to be true in your life.

Write about horse racing.  Write about your fascination with Skittles.  Write about business.  Write about writing.  Write about comets.  You don’t have to sprinkle Jesus all over your skittle posts.  But I do know one thing…

When we are decreasing and Christ in increasing…

It.  Is.  Obvious.

So let’s give it a try why don’t we.




Author loswhit

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  • michellesarabia

    I can’t imagine any other way.

  • Thank you for this. As someone who feels called to share and give hope to others, I feel this inner tug quite a bit, I’ve come to
    realize that when I make the mistake of striving to be more, (or the bigger mistake of making it about me) I don’t
    like who I become. And every time I veer off course, God reminds me that that is not
    what I’m called to do. I don’t have peace in my spirit if I try to make it about building my own platform, etc.

  • eliprice

    I’ve found that promoting my blog posts or new music doesn’t necessarily correlate to me increasing myself (although it can). I always promote my new stuff, and I always get comments back. However, I’ve noticed that the most rewarding times have been where God takes it and uses it in ways I couldn’t have imagined! Where I may be just looking for positive feedback, I end up getting a response on how God really used it. This is when I can tell He is increasing and am truly humbled. We should keep promoting our material, but truly seek and pray for God to use it beyond what we can imagine!

  • I imagine that John as facing this. His guys were wanting him to be the guy and here comes along his cousin preaching the same message and drawing bigger crowds. It would have been easy to have given in and pushed for his own agenda. But that’s not what John was about.

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    Yeah. That’ll preach, brother, that’ll preach.

  • HipsterWorshipLeader


  • Lovelyn Palm

    yes, total opposite of our culture.
    i have almost the exact same reminder scribbled in my Bible.
    good reminder that it’s all about making Him look good and drawing people to Him with beauty and love. it is pretty obvious [and awesome] when people are doing that.

  • patriciamc

    So I guess we live this out by not focusing on doing things that just make us look good? I mean, I agree with the point, but I’m just trying to figure out how to put this into practice. Also, I’ve got a picture of Jesus eating Skittles running through my head.

  • Ken Grant

    I see where you’re going with this – my problem is that somehow Christians seem to shy away from effective communication because they are afraid of looking like they are promoting themselves. I’m not sure how much we are serving the Kingdom if we’re wringing our hands over whether or not to communicate truth in an effective way (please note: I am not saying YOU do this, just an observation about some christian friends who I believe could be used to reach more people if they’d do something).

    • I’d love to shout amen to this! I like the spiritual lingo, that Christ must increase, indeed; where I get stuck, and this is my confession, is what to do with the reality of still needing to have bills paid, since I’m not financially independent, and there’s this whole other half of the equation for living out our faith and painting a fuller picture of what all this looks like.

  • YES. When I try to build my platform, I work too hard and accomplish little. When I try to build His platform, some doors slam shut while other doors swing wide open. I get to do amazing (and scary) things because it’s not about me.

  • How does this look in reality? I think it starts with writing from a place of authenticity and obedience first and foremost. This is an awesome post. Thank you!

  • I’m not sure Michael Hyatt would like this. (only kidding of course) But what you’re discussing here is something I’ve long since wrestled with concerning any public platform. This is a conversation that needs to be had and continued…

  • First off, any post that has “sprinkle” “Jesus” and Skittles” all in one sentence is a winner in my book. Second, on the platform building side… I think it all depends on your intent and where your platform is ultimately pointing people to. If the platform is all about ME, is self serving and manipulates people for greed then I don’t think that’s God honoring. But if the platform is built to serve, help others and influence them towards Christ then I think God is pleased. I was careful to say “influence them towards Christ” because I believe we earn the right to speak into people’s lives. Example: If I am building a platform around being a book marketing expert then, as a follower of Christ who wants to glorify God, I need to build my platform based on integrity and truth. I need to always do my best and try my best to work for man as if I were working for God. I should also be living my faith in a way that people notice. A way that makes me stand out from the crowd a bit. A way that makes those who aren’t believers curious, wanting to know more. As my platform builds and my influence expands, I use that opportunity to point people back to my source of strength and hope… Jesus.

  • joanpball

    Christian artists, writers, speakers face a risky challenge in this area. Most I’ve met begin their desire to serve from the heart. A moment of clarity in prayer or worship. They trust God with the idea then rush to “marketing” to fulfill the vision (i.e. finish in the flesh what began in the Spirit). Holding off, waiting, following and trusting God to bring influence where influence is meant to be builds character. Think Abraham and Sarah…think about the people whose words gained influence 100s of years after the deaths of those who wrote them. Are we willing to do the work and not get paid…to wait tables (or build tents) to fund the work to which we are called rather than scramble to make sure our ministry covers our expenses. Good to see you raising these questions here…

  • Steve White

    I’m impressed. I thought I was outside the “pale” as a guy who reads Ann Voskamp. But you’re a black guy who follows her. Good to know.

  • Tim H. Swanson

    Timely. Thanks Carlos!

  • Markus

    I think this is the toughest part about being a Christ follower – admitting how full of bull we still are an how self-absorbed. Needing to let go of myself every day, and letting God be everything he wants to be in my life. Tough but I’m willing to learn.

  • Joy McMillan

    So good, thank you for this powerful reminder…my heart so easily gravitates toward “man-pleasing”…but it’s Abba-pleasing that drives and satisfies!

  • Anonymous

    What looked like God was in it was nothing but my selfishness. I saw this post at the perfect time.-Brent

  • Diana DePriest

    PRAISE THE LORD!!! I’ve been saying this for years, and as an author it’s not convenient that I feel this way, but I think your friend Ann is freaking brilliant!

  • russyowassup

    The art of waiting and praying (decreasing) has become spiritual wash for many. We’ve lost our prophetic edge and anointing in place of self-help and self-promotion. The only way back is to start falling face-forward and staying there until we hear the rattling of our own bones submitting to the wind of God’s Spirit. Jesus needs to the main attraction and not the concession stand.

  • cindyfinley

    Amen! Love the shift! I think too often we say we want to decrease and God to increase, but what we really want is for God to increase and ourselves to increase right alongside.

  • Jason Karimi

    This brings to mind Isaiah 22; the parable of Eliakim son of Hilkiam (Jesus).

  • The crowed showed up to see Jesus even if it was to run Him out of town or to crucify Him you cannot go wrong when He is first. What we Believe will dictate what we DO.

  • Wow. There are so many good comments… I was almost tempted to just defer to some of the great thoughts below. But then I really started to think.

    I like many have struggled with this idea, but I’m coming to realize that it’s a hoax.

    The wrestling and struggling of lifting Jesus and/or making money… The foundation of this problem is the error separating sacred and spiritual; ie. thinking there are aspects or areas of our lives that are FOR GOD and other areas FOR MONEY or for self… or whatever.

    All should be for God. But what that looks like? I between and individual and God. It’s an issue of obedience that will be judged by others, but our accountability is ultimately to God alone.

    I don’t think God is worried about us making money… or promoting ourselves as a means to make money. That may be our occupation. That is how the world works. Jesus commended the unjust stewart for knowing how the world works and working it.

    I think we worry too much about what other people think. But the goal should be walking so closely with the Lord that we are free to live w/o regret or fear or shame. And IF there is a problem with what we do or how we do it, then the Holy Spirit can convict us.

    It’s a personal situation. Not a principle that one person has that should be made to fit everyone else.

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  • Gary Boaz

    Los, as I read this it’s hitting home. Matter of fact, this is something that I am struggling with at this current moment…and have struggled with over the past 20 years. As a martial arts instructor I get the opportunity to meet and influence people around the globe. And though that sounds to be boasting (and has been in the past) it is creating anguish in me now. I want to boast in the LORD only!
    I’m teaching people things that will save their lives yet what about when that life is ended? I know one thing and that we will all perish at one point or another. It might be peacefully in bed or at gunpoint over my wallet. So what am I doing??? For so long my perception of myself has been as “Sensei”. This is who I have become. So easy to allow ego to take over. God has called me to serve Him and I want to do this heart, mind & soul. I NEED to decrease so that He will INCREASE. Reading through your posts I am seeing that this might be possible now. Is it only in how we live? Is it something that needs to be said or stated? I have told the Lord that I will give this up if He deems it necessary but I always get a little voice (not a real voice!) saying but why don’t you use this as a way to get places to reveal Me??? You see what I’m saying? Any and all comments would be appreciated. Oh, this is my first post and related to another of your posts, I’m NEW SCHOOL here….been following for a couple of weeks now. Thanks Los!