In today’s culture, the temptation for self-promotion increases with every day that goes by. With each technological advance a voice that says “Share yourself! Let the world see you!” gets louder and louder. The influencer culture that social media has birthed isn’t anywhere near slowing down.
As musicians on a platform, we have an even greater temptation for self-promotion than many others do. It’s so easy to make an opportunity for the Kingdom all about ourselves when we have eyes on us. Being on stage, or even having an Instagram account, is powerful, but we have to steward our platforms well.
The Music Industry’s Influence
I happen to work in a unique industry (music) where personal branding/social identity/clout is viewed as a currency for getting what you want and succeeding. I’ve heard countless times about the importance of building your social media brand so people know what you’re up to and will want to work with you, to get free gear, and so people care about what you have to say.
I get it. My personal platform adds credibility to what I talk about because it shows I have experience. Brands don’t want to waste time letting artists use their gear if it’s not going to be seen by consumers (and most full-time musicians can’t afford a lot of gear). People want to write and make music with busy people who are in demand.
These are natural tendencies, but I’ve always wondered why many times these efforts overshadow the greater impact we could be making for the kingdom.
We Are All Influencers
Most people probably dictate who is an influencer by their title or follower count, but I want to make it very clear that we are all influencers. God has entrusted every one of us with various tools and platforms to be able to serve the kingdom – even if it seems small. When you take the stage, you are an influencer. When you post to 200 followers you are influencing 200 people.
The questions that we all should be asking are…
What are we ultimately trying to promote? Who are we trying to influence? Why are we trying to influence them?
Sadly, I think all of us can say that many of the motives behind what much of what we have shared have been about us. The instant affirmation we can receive today is addicting and it can act as fuel to focus on ourselves more than we should.
Promoting Others Over Ourselves
But what if we made an effort to promote others and even God more often? If God is as important as our pedalboards then I’d like to think that we would talk about Him more. You can always tell what a person values the most by what they talk about and how they spend their free time. If we care about God and others, it will naturally be reflected in our feed.
I’ve recently been especially challenged by a friend who has continually used his Instagram account to promote and build up other people around him. He knows a lot of important people and has done a lot of cool things, but he chooses to regularly give shoutouts to less-influential people and what God is doing in his community.
I want to be like that.
I don’t want to be a “guitar influencer” who is striving to constantly prove to people that my life is bigger and more spectacular than it really is. If God gave us tons of success and gifts, would we be fully satisfied if no one ever knew?
The Only Way To Powerfully Influence Is From Humility
“Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2 ESV
What a powerful and convicting verse. When God gives us success, the enemy is so quick to jump in and make sure we make it about ourselves. Within a few seconds, we can post from our phone and make sure everyone in the world knows of our achievements. Always remember that God’s power to promote us is greater than our ability to strive and make a path for ourselves.
Who Are We Letting Influence Us?
The first step to being a healthy influencer is examining who we are letting influence us. Who we follow and surround ourselves with will significantly dictate the paths we take. The easiest way to decide who we should be following is by looking at the fruit of their lives.
Are they trying to get you to focus on them, or on God and others around them? What does our fruit look like?
God Has to Be Our Source of Affirmation
The only reason why we would give in to the temptation of self-promotion is because we don’t understand our value in God.
Self-promotion only comes out of a need for someone to affirm you. When we understand how much God loves us, we shouldn’t need it from anyone else. When we understand how faithful and powerful He is, we don’t need to hustle and strive to obtain success.
We Have a Profound Opportunity
Never in the history of humanity have we had an opportunity to love others and share the gospel like we do today. We are the most connected generation of all time. The tools are in our laps to change the world around us, but influencing well starts with relationship.
If we don’t desire to use our platforms for God, we probably don’t understand His love for us. Understanding that love comes from surrender and intentional pursuit of being with Him. Let’s make that our priority.
You may also be interested in these posts!
- What Do You Worship? 7 Ways to Tell if God is the Priority
- Jonathan Traylor: Blindfolded Faith & Surrendering in the Unknown
- The Secret to Mastering Any Worship Song
- The Power of Vulnerable Worship with Sean Curran [PODCAST]