Ramblings About the New Book Titled INFLUENCE

I recently had the privilege of working on a book project with two wonderful Christian authors, helping them with the final production of their newest book titled Influence: Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus (Not Me). Good Shepherd Publications just finished formatting this great new book that every Christian writer needs to read, and I believe that every Christian business owner needs to read as well, as it relates to how all of us promote our businesses within Biblical guidelines.

Here is a brief description from the back cover of the book:

“Your platform isn’t big enough.”

If you’re a writer, speaker, or ministry leader, perhaps these five words have squelched your desire to share the message burning within. In today’s digital world, speakers and writers are expected to grow their own following—or platform of influence—before gaining access to a microphone or book contract.

But as a Christian, is there a way to gather followers and still follow Jesus? Is it possible to both build up your stats and take up your cross? How can you reconcile promoting yourself when you’re called to humble yourself, or elevating your name when you’re commissioned to elevate Christ’s?

Authors Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin know what it’s like to wrestle with these questions. In Influence: Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus (Not Me), you’re invited to a platform-building coaching session with the carpenter from Nazareth. Join Shannon and Kate in this challenge to acknowledge the tension, set aside fears, examine hidden motives, and embrace the high calling of serving Christ. By utilizing the practical tools, exercises, and discussion questions provided, you’ll emerge with new confidence, awareness, and decision-making clarity—ready to step out and shine the light of Jesus from the platform God has strategically placed beneath your feet.

Struggling with Social Media Advertising

My business, Good Shepherd Publications, has been struggling these past few months with social media advertising and learning all the ways to promote my gifts and my business. But as a Christian, especially a Christian woman, every time I wrote something that sounded like bragging to me, I deleted it and tried to start over because talking about my gifts and skills, and all of my accomplishments and years of experience in the printing industry, just felt very wrong.

My goal in my business is to promote Christ, not me. So where is that balance, and when do we cross that line? That is exactly what this book by Kate and Shannon strives to answer for us while using actual scripture verses and many examples from their own personal lives, especially since this book is not their first that they have had to market.

One of my favorite sections of the book that spoke the loudest to me, is the following section from the chapter titled “Calling” that is reprinted here with permission from the authors. Hopefully it will motivate you also to push forward to use your own gifts for such a time as this.

Esther’s Calling

Esther was a Jewish orphan who became a queen. Her story displayed the beauty of self-forgetfulness when she risked her life to gain an audience with her husband, the king. She set aside her own self-absorption and fears and became laser-focused on one thing: the impending destruction of her people.

The evil Haman had devised a plan to destroy the Jews right under the king’s nose. Someone needed to speak up about it! But Esther? A young girl? A queen? She would have to disclose her identity as one of God’s people. Her risk included not only being exposed, but also being be-headed!

Yet her cousin Mordecai persuaded her, saying, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

With all of God’s people fasting and praying, Esther bravely and wisely used her influence with the king. She risked it all, made some noise, and kept destruction from falling on her people.

Like Esther, God has positioned you to speak for Him. Yes, there is cost involved. And yes, you can refuse. If you choose to remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for God’s people will arise from another place. But like Esther, who knows? Perhaps you have been strategically placed for such a time as this! Perhaps God has a role for you that is part of his overarching story.

Is God asking you to share your message with millions? Or like Esther, is He asking you to bravely speak to one? Is He calling you to speak out against some evil? Or to dis-close some hidden atrocity? One thing is sure. God has a call on your life. He has a purpose for you.

He has good works prepared in advance for you—in particular—to do (Ephesians 2:10). Will you remain silent? Or will you speak?

Unused Gifts

Several years ago just before Christmas, I (Kate) was at the Dollar Store with my six-year-old son. “Don’t watch me, Mom,” he pleaded. He wanted to perform his secret mission all on his own.

I complied and did my best to give him the privacy he requested, making sure I could still see the top of his head over the store displays. I saw him lingering in the kitchen utensil aisle, but turned my back as he approached the checkout and proudly gave his savings to the cashier. Mission accomplished. I had no idea what he had bought.

When Christmas morning arrived, my fidgety boy watched with a gleam in his eye as I unwrapped his gift to me.

“A flour sifter!” I exclaimed. “How did you know?” I had never owned one before.

“Well, I looked in the kitchen to see what you had, then I looked at the store to see what you didn’t have, and that’s what I picked!” my son answered.

About six weeks later, my boy came to me in the kitchen and asked, “Mom, why haven’t you been using your flour sifter?”

“Well…” I floundered. “I haven’t really made many recipes that needed it.” I watched as disappointment covered my son’s face. “I’ll try to come up with something soon that I could bake,” I added hastily. He shuffled away, hunched shoulders unsatisfied.

This deflated, pint-sized image helped me realize what it looks like to God when we neglect to use the gifts we’ve been given.

If you are a child of God, you’ve been given gifts. Meaningful gifts. Significant gifts. Gifts that were hand-selected just for you. Gifts like teaching, evangelism, wisdom, shepherding, and serving (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:11-12) that have been given to you for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). That means God intends for your gifts to be used and shared! Left in the back of a kitchen drawer, our gifts are useless. They benefit no one, and the One who gave the gift is dishonored.

If your gift is sitting unopened in some dusty cupboard of your heart, that means God’s people are not receiving what is intended for them. It’s time to reach for your gift, open it up, and share it with those who will benefit.

Called to Give

Have you ever wondered, What is my calling? Have you wished that you could take a peek at that list of good works that God has prepared in advance for His people to do, and find your name next to a task or two? (Ephesians 2:10)

Friend, you’ll discover your calling as you open your gift and begin to use it; not before.

It’s so easy to talk ourselves out of this, isn’t it? We worry that by using our gifts, we come across as prideful—as if we’re saying, “Hey, look at my gift. Look what I can do!”

We also worry about looking foolish. We talk ourselves out of gift-sharing, saying, “I’m not really that gifted. Other people can do what I do much better.”

Both of these responses are void of self-forgetfulness. We’ve sized up our gifts from a self-serving perspective, asking, “How will this gift reflect on me?” But God wants us to take ourselves out of the equation. He wants us to view our gifts as something to give.

You have something that other people need—and perhaps you’ve been given it “for such a time as this.” Don’t shrink back from your call. Don’t refuse to use your gift. Instead, forget about yourself, focus on others, and get ready to make some noise!*

Making Noise

I have used these verses from Esther 4:14 on my own website and in my expanded mission statement, and knew already that God was telling me that this was the right time for my business to help writers share their gifts with the world. But I wasn’t grasping the full meaning of this verse as it also speaks of me making some “noise” in social media about my gifts too.

Yes, I need to make noise about how I can help others share their stories and their gifts through self-publishing books for print and digital media. But I also have stories myself to share and experiences from my own life that God is pushing me to start sharing in the hopes that they can help other women with similar experiences find new hope in going forward, knowing that Christ is in control of their lives.

This blog can be a voice about my business skills, but also a way to become “real” with my audience and share what God lays on my heart for such a time as this.

I need to push forward with social media and not continue to allow it to make me scared of sharing Christ, by being who He designed me to be.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings and please purchase a copy of the new book by Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin titled “Influence,” as there is much more precious God-given wisdom within those lovingly written book pages than what I can share in my blog. It is available today on the Amazon website in both print or Kindle, and also available through Shannon’s website www.shanonpopkin.com and Kate’s website www.katemotaung.com

Also, please keep coming back to my new blog, and facebook page, to listen to future ramblings about how God is using my gifts, and those of the many writers and authors that I hope to be able to help self-publish their books and stories for the world to read, or to bravely speak to just that one precious person needing to hear your story.

If this is your time to share the story that God has laid on your heart, or share your gift of writing with the world, please contact me today to see how together we can make your dream of self-publishing a reality.

*Excerpts from “Influence” reprinted with permission from the author’s Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin.

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