By Mark L. Vincent ~
Christian leaders steeped in stewardship theology readily affirm that God owns all. Most will also readily agree that this ownership applies to all that is virtual just as much as all that is tactile.
If you agree then you know that any blog/social media/website/tweets/publications or posts are God’s too. In short, God owns one’s platform and personal brand and we are the stewards. That makes for an interesting dish served up as food for thought.
I’m privileged to be Lorie’s husband. Lorie is now in hospice after 16 years and 18 occurrences of uterine leiomyosarcoma (ULMS) ravaging her lungs, and in more recent years showing up in a variety of places in her body. She now has five tumors in her chest that have defied all attempts to treat them, and which will eventually choke off the air she breathes.
Often, when a person is faced with their mortality, the talk turns to redeeming any remaining time and making the minutes count. I couldn’t agree more. And yet, Lorie has focused on something different throughout these years with disease. She focuses on making the most of whatever platform that she has (she calls it a pulpit).
In the years prior to 1999 Lorie was a regional minster for youth and young adults, responsible to work with congregational leaders across the states of Indiana and Michigan. She also helped to develop curriculum and youth convention programming nationally. By 2001, she had lost most of her right lung, experienced several cancer occurrences, was told she would die in months, went on disability and never earned an income again. From the first diagnosis and realization life was forever altered, Lorie determined that every Doctor’s appointment, every lab visit and every moment spent in waiting rooms or hospital beds would be her orb for ministry.
Everyone who knows Lorie knows this means in her quiet way and with her easy spirit she won people over who would then ask her how she does it, and then she would tell them about the peace that passes all understanding that has lived so long in her heart. She never changed who she was. She just adjusted to a new platform.
With each subsequent occurrence across these sixteen years, Lorie’s world became smaller and the reach of this new platform became larger and more visible to an ever growing audience, primarily through a little book about what it means to fight disease instead of death, and then through an irregular set of postings on an author’s page her family set up for her on Facebook.
Now, from a bed that she cannot leave, and in the single room where she watches out the window, and even with a limited number of family visitors, she continues to make a focused and far-reaching statement about how one lives–really lives–Christian faith, even though she writes ever more infrequently. The outpouring our family receives from people around the world, telling us what her story and her witness means to them is beyond our ability to measure in both quantity and quality. Her life’s work has become that of an example of maximizing a platform out of an ever declining capacity, with the deep belief that even one’s declining capacity is God’s gift to give and remove.
What if we took Lorie’s focus to heart, and begin to view our public communication as God’s space for God’s purposes, rather than a mere publication/posting schedule? How can we understand that the audience that interacts with us is an opportunity granted by God rather than a demonstration of our self-importance?
What kingdom impact and mission effectiveness might be unleashed?
Mark L. Vincent Ph.D, CCNL is CEO of Design Group International, an organizational development company he co-founded in 2001 to help organizations and their leaders transform for a vibrant future. He also facilitates CLA Leader2Leader groups in WI and IL.
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