How to Liberate Ourselves from the Perils of Platform

For writers, bloggers, and speakers, the pitfalls of self-promotion are offset by a robust vision of women’s gifts in the church.

#AmplifyWomen is a two-month-long series running on CT Women, designed to generate a new conversation about women’s leadership and discipleship. Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere? launched the series and was followed by an interview with a mentorship expert. This week we hear from Sharon Hodde Miller on how sharing your platform with others is an act of stewardship and a model of discipleship.

For my doctoral research, I met with women at evangelical seminaries to hear about their stories, their hopes, and their dreams. The women represented different ages (ranging from 22 to 65), different races, different life stages, and different church experiences. The one thing they had in common was their evangelicalism. As I interviewed each one, I was surprised by one common theme: the guilt.

Over and over, I heard from women who agonized over their decision to enroll in seminary: Can I justify the huge financial risk? Will I be able to find a job afterward? Is this a self-serving decision? Because of these looming questions, the women cataloged their motives relentlessly. While some women doubted the purity of their ambitions, one woman freely described her education as “selfish,” since she had enrolled in seminary simply “to get closer to [God].” Other women were not so nonchalant; their self-searching had become paralyzing.

What I am discovering, however, is that this female angst is not limited to seminary. It’s also visible in discussions surrounding self-promotion and platform—a term used to describe the size of one’s following or audience, online and elsewhere. As evidenced by recent conversations on social media, scores of women experience similar struggles with …

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