God is the most creative person in the world. He created the whole world using His voice. There it is in the text, He spoke when there was nothing, and then it came into existence. “Let there be” and there it was: day and night, land and sea, plants and fruits, birds and fishes, animals and humanity.
You were created in the image of God as a one-of-a-kind original masterpiece, with a completely unique fingerprint and voiceprint. There is no one like you, not in history past or in the future generations to come. You’re not a duplicate or copy. And, you have something to say that only you can say it in the way you say it.
How are you developing your voice and using your voice? The fact of the matter is, the more often you use your voice, the sooner you’ll find your voice.
I confess that it’s taken me nearly 30 years to develop and discover my voice. Yes, while you’re going through the educational system of high school and college, you’re learning a ton of knowledge from the voices of others. When you enter the work force, you’ll have the occasional opportunity to make a presentation or teach a seminar. When you go into vocational Christian ministry as a pastor or ministry leader, you’ll have many opportunities to teach and preach the great truths from the eternal wisdom of the Bible.
To be the most effective teacher or preacher that you can be, that God created you to be, does not mean you will be speaking to a multitude of 5,000. There are good things you can learn from other great speakers and communicators. But there is something that can only come from your unique mix of life experieences, personality, and DNA. Your voice is that original message that comes from your distinct perspective from how you see the world, crafted from your own vocabulary and choice of words, sharpened and refined through weeks, months, and years of practice.
What are you waiting for?
And you don’t have to wait for a public speaking opportunity to use your voice. You can develop your own voice by regularly and consistently using the internet. In today’s digital world, anyone can have a platform. Frankly, it saddens me to see so many Christians with a leadership position not using their voice online and having little web presence. Check it out for yourself: what do you find when you type in your name on a search engine?
Making a difference means using your voice to influence — communicating through audio messages and through written words. In a previous generation, we had television, radio, and books. Today, we have web videos, podcasts, eBooks, and blogs.
Don’t limit sharing your valuable insights to only people you meet in person — where it is communicated once and lost forever. Other people can benefit too if you utilize the online channels available, where your words can have both a longer shelf life and much farther reach.
In other words, the internet empowers you to share your message to influence people far and wide. We have personal devices readily within reach to share the message, whether instantly through livestreaming, or recorded. We are producing content all the time, and it takes just a little extra effort to share it with the world and exponentially increase your influence.
You don’t need to have an extensive media production to share your message. Start using your voice online now and you’ll improve over time. When we form the habit of using our voices in the online world, we’ll receive feedback from others that can help us improve our communication skills and refine our message.
For instance, Julie Powell started a blog in 2002 to document her learning experience in cooking through the recipes of Julia Child. That became a Hollywood movie “Julie & Julia” in 2009. Michael Hyatt started blogging in 2004 on the topic of leadership and captured the lessons he learned along the way that he compiled into a best-selling book titled, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, published in 2012.
Start sharing online.
Here’s my best tip on how to get started. If you like to write, start a blog (at wordpress.com). If you like to talk, start a podcast (at spreaker.com). If you like to talk with your hands, make a video (at youtube.com). Social media has become so powerful and widely used because it is easy-to-use and quick-to-learn.
Start using your voice online to influence the world for good. We need your words, the messages from the good guys, to fill the online world with beauty, goodness, and truth to displace all the negative voices that are making clutter and stirring up contention online.
Saw this quote on Twitter the other day, “Stop being an echo; you were called to be a voice!” And this slogan from the Accidental Creative podcast says it well too: “Cover bands don’t change the world — you need to find your unique voice if you want to thrive.”
Discovering your voice.
Allow me to share something from my own life as a point of reference. I started blogging back in 1999, before it was called blogging. The internet has developed and grown by leaps and bounds. I don’t know how to explain why there aren’t more Asian American Christians using their voices online. I just know that I started using mine, initially as a personal online journal, that over the years, has developed into a useful resource for people researching issues related to Asian Americans, multiethnic church, Christianity, and social media. These became the recurring themes that I often blogged about. The discovery of my voice came through the habit and practice of blogging for years and years.
After turning 50, I’ve finished authoring my first book, MultiAsian.Church: A Future for Asian Americans in a Multiethnic World. This book certainly drew from my years of blogging that honed my writing skills and used my on-going research about Asian American Christianity.
My hope and prayer for you is that you’d start your voice more actively and regularly, and get your first book written sooner in life than I did. Let me know if I can be of any encouragement or help.
One more thing.
You don’t have to launch an online platform all by yourself, because feeding the best with fresh content every week or more could become a tiresome chore. We’re created this shared platform at Thirty.Network as a team blog for our collective voices as Asian American pastors and church leaders. You’re invited to share your voice here.
Portions of this article were adapted from DJ Chuang’s book, titled MultiAsian.Church: A Future for Asian Americans in a Multiethnic World.