Jimmy’s Table PodcastCuriously evangelical. Politically homeless. A dreamer of small things. On this podcast, I am having conversations about the intersection of faith, life, and culture.

Build A Bigger Table (Not A Platform) – Episode #137

The Last Supper

We live in an age of competing platforms. Someone is always trying to be the loudest voice on Twitter, write the best clickbait headline that captures everyone’s attention, or set a fire on cable news. And in an age of cancel culture, this can be dangerous stuff. In this podcast, I talk about why instead of building a bigger platform for ourselves, I believe we need to focus on building a bigger table.

Talking Points From Today’s Show

  • Why do we listen to anyone? Our parents? Me? Jesus? What compels us to listen?
  • “People don’t usually care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
  • When we are platformed centered in our messaging, we’ll always end up competing to be the loudest and most inflammatory voice in the room, like is regularly done on Twitter and cable news.
  • We prefer to do business with people we know. Relationships are key, and greater than any slick advertising and self-promotion we might engage in. When looking for contractors to do work around our house, we want to know someone who says, “I gotta guy!” instead of hiring a person out of the Yellow Pages.
  • Our culture has largely rejected and deeply resents door-to-door salesman, street preachers, and robo-callers who try to sell us extended warranties on our cars. While there might be a legitimate place for such activity, it’s often frowned upon.
  • President George W. Bush came across as an every-man sorta guy that you could drink a beer with at a bar. Senator Elizabeth Warren tried to have the same appeal, but came across more like a school hall monitor who wants to see your bathroom pass.
  • We often attempt to build platforms instead of relationships. As a result, when “cancel culture” comes for someone for saying something controversial, it’s not hard to silence a message built squarely on having a platform. Simply attack the scaffolding that someone stands on, and they’ll hang. But if you have a message that exists independent of a platform, but is built in community and in relationships, that message will always find an audience, regardless of whatever platform may or may not exist.
  • Recently, in the last 6 months of this podcast, after nearly 3 years, my audience has more than doubled. My platform has grown. But I believe it only has grown because of the relationships I’ve made, and I’ve spoken from a place that can relate to those who are listening to me. Over 20% of the thousands of downloads this podcast has had come from Charlotte, North Carolina, where I live. And by relating to the people I know, who care for me, who’ve eaten across a table with me, those individuals have helped share the message I feel I have to bring each week with a wider and wider audience. As a result, this podcast has been listened to in 49 states (all except Wyoming… because, well, who knows anyone in Wyoming!!!) and in over 70 countries across the globe. This isn’t so much the result of advertising or Google, but simply the result of people relating to what happens at Jimmy’s Table, and sharing that message with others.
  • At the end of the day, while I believe there is a place for people on platforms to have messages to preach, I believe like Jesus and the apostles, we simply need to focus on building a bigger and better table, and inviting people to participate in our lives.

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