The Art of Self-Demotion

If you’ve read the gospels thoroughly, you will notice something peculiar (especially in our market-driven, consumer culture).  Jesus consistently told people NOT to spread the word about who he was and what he was doing.  There are a lot of theories as to why, but the behavior is obvious.  He did the opposite of self-promtion.  Jesus even brushed off the adjective “good” when someone addressed him as “good teacher.”  He said, “No one is good but God alone.”  Again, not sure exactly why he said it, but we do know he said it.

Jump forward 2,000 years.  Take even a cursory glance at American churches that are considered successful and some of their leaders.  What do you find?  The exact opposite of Jesus’ behavior.  What you find is self-promotion to the max.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m really glad that people on Facebook like the churches they attend.  I’m glad that pastors and church leaders love the churches they serve.  Yet, at some point, the question always hits me. When does being excited about your church and church ministries turn into pride, bragging, and so on?  These things are antithetical the humility and self-sacrificing service that Jesus modeled for us.

Do what you do in the name of Jesus.  Let that be enough.  Otherwise, I’m deeply suspicious that your love for your church or your excitement over the number of people that turned out for your youth-thing or men’s thing or women’s thing is, at best, a social media marketing campaign and, at worst,  a pride-fueled brag fest based upon a deeply troubling definition of success. 

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