I'm excited that our carpenters have begun to build the stage in our new worship center. Obviously, there was already a platform in place but we needed to make a few modifications. Once the Diocese removed some of the sacred elements (several of which are going to have new life in other Catholic churches!) that quite literally left a few holes in the stage. In addition, we needed to make an opening of our own because we are going to be adding a baptistery to our Lockport Campus! [More on that another time...]
All of that led to a re-design of the stage - and anytime you're standing on hand-hewn lumber from 1885, it's a good idea to open things up and make sure it's all structurally sound. (At least that's what I think as someone who has to stand on it every week!) So we're building a new platform. From that platfrom, songs will be sung that declare the greatness of God. From that platfrom, stories of God's transformation will be proclaimed as people pass through the waters of baptism. From that platfrom, the message of the Gospel will ring out into our hearts, our lives, and our community. But this platform is not the only one we have.
As a local church, we also have a platform. Here I'm moving away from the literal usage of platform to talk about our influence. It's good for us to remember that our local church has been given a measure of influence in this region, having been in Western New York since 1961 and being a church of reasonable size. As I've said elsewhere, we obviously cannot reach this geography on our own, nor were we designed to. But we also believe to whom much is given, much is required. Since God has entrusted us as a local church with a certain scope of influence, we need to be good stewards of what He has given us. For some people, the only exposure they will have to the Gospel is what they hear and see at one of our worship gatherings. How do we make sure that we give everyone a clear, unaltered exposure to the message of Jesus? How do we maximize our influence, not to make a name for ourselves but to proclaim the name of the One who saves?
As disciples of Jesus, we each have a platform. Not just as a collective body, but as individual followers of Christ, we each have a platform - a measure of influence. Remember, you don't just represent The Chapel (although that's true); you also represent Jesus Christ. And I'm much more concerned about the latter, because it is of eternal significance. Hopefully, the people in your world have some knowledge of you being a Christ-follower (since there really is no such thing as a secret disciple). That means at work, at school, in the neighborhood, with extended family - you are a representative of Jesus. The Apostle Paul referred to us this way: "We are Christ's ambassadors" (2 Cor. 5:20). You have a platform - an opportunity to influence people toward the Gospel of Jesus. For some people, the only exposure they will have to the Gospel is what they hear and see in your life. How do you make sure that you are giving people a clear, unaltered exposure to the message of Jesus?
We can do one of two things with our platform: we can treat it with contempt, or we can leverage it to point people to Jesus. It can either be something we despise and merely tolerate, or it can be something we embrace and thank God for. Think about it: you've done nothing to earn this platform, except respond to God's grace in Jesus. He has given you a platform because you are attached to His Son! And God intends to put Jesus on display in your life. This is a privilege, not a burden. That's why we should leverage every platform for His glory!
Together for the Mission,