Building a Platform where it Counts Most

June 18, 2012 — 11 Comments


This last weekend was my first official Father’s Day.

Don’t worry, I didn’t feed her any cheese popcorn. She just liked kicking the bag.

Before you write this post off as more sentimental drivel like so much else that has proliferated the Internet over the past few days, I have a confession to make.

I’m not really the best dad.

For example, tonight was supposed to be my night with Lylah. Sara and I both had evening meetings, but I would be home first. It was my responsibility to put her to bed when I got home.

As we pulled in the driveway, I saw Sara’s car in the driveway. I was relieved. I wouldn’t have to put Lylah to sleep.

If this were the only time I’ve felt that way, I would feel better, but it wasn’t. There are also times when I am in the middle of writing the most amazing blog post, or beating a boss on my best game ever, and Sara just plops Lylah on my lap right in the middle of it.

To borrow a line from Jeremy Statton about interruption, “It feels like it is stabbing my soul.” I love having time to myself every day. I cherish it. The evening is the one part of the day that is completely mine, and it feels like evenings are stolen from me when I take care of Lylah sometimes.

I’ve been so busy lately with working at church and writing in my spare time, that Lylah has sometimes felt like a burden. But then the other day I read something by Mark Batterson that spoke straight to my core. He said

Parents should strive to be famous in their own household above all else.

I can spend my life building a platform to influence others, but if I don’t build a platform in my home, it’s all for naught. Practically speaking, the credibility of a ministry goes out the window when families fall apart. Emotionally, there will be a time when I won’t care about how many readers I had or how many members came to my church as much as how I spent my time with my family.

This was confirmed to me tonight as I picked Lylah up from the babysitter. She had been doing great with her babysitter, but when she saw me, she started to squirm in the sitter’s arms and get frustrated. While the sitter and I were talking, she grew more irritated. Crying, I finally took her from the sitter and she got happy almost instantly.

This was the first time I’ve noticed Lylah do this. Normally she gets crabby when I’m holding her and she’s happy when her mom gets her.

Those brief smiles showed me how much power my presence carries as a dad. I might have a church that hates me, a few failed books, and a blog that nobody reads, but I have an instant platform with my family that I can develop. I don’t need to pay an annual domain name fee for it. I don’t need to purchase the most SEO-friendly WordPress theme to grow it. I simply need to show up.

My prayer is that I will only grow to understand this even more. Fortunately I have a patient wife and a precious daughter who smiles, screeches, and wiggles her limbs when I talk to her. I pray that I won’t ever forget how blessed I am.

So what makes it hard for you to put your family first? What encourages you? Sound off in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your wisdom.



Posts Twitter Facebook

I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • Shimiko

    Happy Fathers Day, Austin! urg…what is that star thing? I wanted to give you stars and then they turned into minuses! Help!!

    • Thanks, Shimiko! It was a great Father’s Day. The star is for if you want to share the comment thread from this article or if you want to subscribe to it via email. The best thing to do if you like an article is to click on the Facebook “like” or “share” buttons at the top of the article. I hope you were nice to Todd on his first Father’s Day!

  • I love the idea of being famous in your own household. It’s not only the place where it counts the most, it is the toughest place to do it. Your family knows you better than the public. They are a tough crowd to convince. Happy Father’s day to you Austin.

    • Thanks, Jeremy. So true about the difficulty of being famous at home. It’s easy(ier) to get people to like you when they only ever hear your carefully crafted words, but don’t see you at your worst. It’s a 24/7 calling. Let’s pray for the strength we need to keep it up!

  • Tim

    I appreciate your post. As a young pastor (and occasional blogger) whose daughter is about to turn 1, this is a good reminder. Heh, I just preached on Colossians 4, which encourages us to be ready to answer people about our faith – assuming we’re acting in a way that causes them to question “why.” It’s relieving to know that our primary responsibility in evangelism is to be different, and then be ready to answer (1 Pe 2:11-2, 3:15)

    • Yeah, being different as Christians plants numerous seeds of evangelism. Sometimes we don’t even know the effect our lifestyle is having on others.

  • scrhill

    I think it takes a lot of adjustment to fatherhood & motherhood. Knowing that you want to build a platform in your own home first is a great & important thing. Thanks for your honesty & leadership.

  • Ted Hugghins

    Our family is a unit. We each influence the unit in different ways. Our commitment/ blood runs thick, and every time there is a question of support, the understanding unit is always there. Platforms are good. Keep your hammer and glue handy.
    Learn to recognize the building materials.

    BTW you also have a precious “wife” and a patient “daughter!”
    You are Blessed and so are we to have your ministry!
    Ted H.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Ted. That is a great image to think of the family as one whole unit. What affects one part of the family unit, affects the rest of it as well.

  • This is such an awesome thing for you to recognize NOW. . . at the stage of life you are in . . . at the age you are . . . so many people DON’T realize it until the kids are almost grown and their relationships need more repair work than anything else. God bless you and your family, Austin!