The platform (stage, pulpit, whatever you call it) can be valuable in making the “big asks”, as long as it’s done at the right time, in the right way. Here are the rules:
Rule 1: Less is better than more. Platform announcements or “asks” are your trump card, to be played only occasionally. It’s not a card to pull out every week. The more you play this card, the less effective it becomes. Be very strategic about the areas for which you cast vision in a given season. Don’t make a “big ask” more than once a quarter.
Rule 2: New is better than old. People love to be pioneers. It’s less exciting to be involved in something that’s been around for a while. So leverage the platform to cast vision for new ministries. New is always better than old.
Rule 3: Vacant is better than forced. When you are sharing the vision for a specific ministry, always tie it to the way God has wired people. Here’s a good example: “Some of you were created by God to make a difference in the lives of children. You feel as if you’re soaring when you’re teaching or caring for children. We’re looking for thirty people with your wiring to help launch this new class.” Here’s a bad example: “We need thirty people who would be willing to make the sacrifice to work with kids for a few months to get this off the ground…” It’s much better to leave a role vacant than to fill it with someone who is forced into a ministry position that doesn’t fit.
Rule 4: Outcomes are better than inputs. When you’re casting vision, talk more about the results of the ministry and less about the work required. Talk about the lives that will change, the relationships that will be built, and the ministry that will happen. Don’t focus too much on the specifics of the job. That will come later, during the observation or training phases.
Used sparingly and correctly, the platform can be an effective tool for communicating the vision that people need to make a difference. Used wrongly, it’s merely a time-consuming sleep aid.
[Editor’s Note: Adapted from Group’s Simply Strategic Volunteers]