3 Dangers of Pursuing A Platform

Ryan Sebastian
May 4th, 2021

Over the last few years, the term”platform” has become a buzzword in our culture. With the rise of social media and broadcast media like YouTube, it seems like everyone is trying to be seen and make a name for themselves. Just spend five minutes asking your students what they want to do after they graduate, and you will find that some will say that they want to be a YouTube star or social media influencer. Our culture is saturated with the idea of pursuing a platform.

You see, I am writing this to you as I currently have a platform. It is small but a platform nonetheless. God laid on my heart to try to find a way to bring other youth pastors and leaders together to help them in their ministries. I am one of only five full-time youth pastors in my county in North Carolina. It was a struggle getting other youth pastors together because they were bi-vocational. After a while, I knew I had to find a better way to bring training and development to these pastors. This was when God laid on my heart to start a podcast. I fought with God for almost a year because I felt like I did not have the skills to produce an effective podcast. After a year of resisting God, I finally submitted and started a podcast. Even though my platform began out of submission to God, I learned three things about having a platform.

It distracts you from your ministry.

When I first started podcasting, it was to help youth leaders in my area. But as the podcast grew, the vision grew as well. What started as something for local youth leaders turned into something much larger. God was beginning to open more doors. Over time, my thoughts, energy, and time were spent more on a podcast rather than the ministry right in front of me. You see, I am a Youth Pastor. God called me to my church seven years ago to reach students and partner with parents in discipleship. If you pursue a platform while you are still serving on staff at a church, it can easily distract you from being effective in your current ministry.

It can produce arrogance.

As my podcast grew, I started to notice something creeping up in my heart. Arrogance and pride kept coming to the surface. In fact, it took a close friend to tell me to stop having a “big head” and to remain faithful and obedient to what God wants for me in this season. This friend helped me realize that my motivations were starting to shift. Things were starting to become more about “me” than what God wants from me. You see, if you don’t have people in your life to speak the truth to you, pursuing a platform can cause you to become arrogant and self-serving.

It can cause discontentment. 

If you are like me, it is hard to be content. My natural tendency is to look for the “next big thing.” Having a platform amplifies this tremendously. When you have a platform, whether it is podcasting, YouTube, or a social media influencer, it is easy to compare other people’s ministry to your own. You start comparing “your” platform to “their” platform, “your” ministry to “their” ministry. Before you know it, you start to lose contentment where God has placed you. Don’t get me wrong, God may be calling you to another season of ministry, but I don’t believe that God calls us when we lack contentment. He wants us to be faithful where He has placed us until He has called us to another season of ministry.

If you are on staff at a church and pursuing some form of a platform, I have a few questions for you. Why? What are your motives? Are you doing it as a ministry to others, or are you more concerned about being “seen”? Remember, pursuing a platform can bring distraction from your ministry, arrogance, and discontentment if you don’t have people in your life to keep you accountable. So, if you are pursuing a platform, ask yourself, why?

Ryan Sebastian

Ryan is the Student Pastor at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Lumberton, North Carolina, and has served in youth ministry roles for over a decade. He also is the co-host of the Youth and Culture podcast, which provides content to help youth leaders succeed in their ministries. Ryan’s heart and passion are to see student’s lives changed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.