the baby and the bathwater

April 10, 2008, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

promotion: advancement in rank or position, furtherance, something devised to publicize or advertise a product, cause, institution,

Ok, so admit it. How many of you have typed your name into google to see how often you get a mention?

I did it.

And I got 1,680 entries.

My 1680 entries are, unsurprisingly, far less than the 31,900,000 for Jesus Christ, but, rather pleasingly, significantly more than the 302 for the rev Mark Bailey. Rather disappointingly there are 2,040 entries for Keith Hitchman, but I think there must be another person with the same name as my friend and co-pastor, unless he is living a secret second-life as the chairman of the Snake Lane allotments committee in Feltham near Staines.

In the good old days it was very hard to get press coverage. You either had to be very rich to buy some advertising space in the newspapers or on television. Or you had to be truly news-worthy and attract the attention of reporters or publishers. OK, you could stand on the street corner and shout loudly, but that had limited market penetration. But these days, with the world wide web, you only need a few minutes, and a laptop (preferably a mac of course) and off you go. In fact, it has never been easier than it is now to promote yourself.

The very clever, also know how to manipulate their websites and blogs so they get to the top of a google search. (How do they do that? I mean I can’t even get my blog to appear in the results of a google search – even if i type in the blog name and my name in the search engine box – and let’s face it, if i know that then why would i need to google it anyway…)

The concept of promotion is not a completely unknown in the bible. Joseph got promoted, and so did Shadrach Michach and Abednigo. These were promotions in the workplace, the context of which we are probably familiar and understand. And that’s no bad thing. I used to celebrate the times that I got promoted in my days in the insurance industry. And even in the church ‘workplace’ there are promotions where people rise to levels of increased responsibility and influence within the church community. I understand that this has to happen. And I also realise that in the Christian marketplace there needs to be a way of providing information about products so that people can make informed decisions as to what they buy. I do understand.

But just recently I have found myself being very very disappointed as I look at various blogs and web-sites of worship leaders and see the level of self-promotion that is going on.

Very probably, much of it is unintentional. Some may even be a misguided attempt to celebrate what God is doing in their lives. But generally, I read most of this stuff and my heart just sinks. As a breed, we worship leaders are far, far too concerned with making public our own influence, our own impact on the Kingdom than we should be. And we are far too unconcerned with the way that our self-promotion – intentional or not – is robbing the King of His glory.

Call me old fashioned, but what possible benefit is there in having a worship leader tell me on their blog how many people are being blessed by their songs in countries around the world, or how well their album is selling, or what award they have recently been given, or how many people attended their latest ‘concert’, or even how much of their future royalties they are giving up to the poor.

I would say that I’m totally “not bothered”.

But actually I am.

Very bothered.

Because we’ve all got so much to lose.

And one sure fire way of losing something in the Kingdom is to put out a hand and grab some glory for ourselves.

So, in the immortal words of Blackadder in the ‘concert party’ episode: please please stop.


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Neil – You tread the line of humbleness and worship celebrity really well….an example to others.


PS – I got 16.500 but I’m not sure they are all mine…

Comment by Andy

I try to play the celebrity in the office every now and then. They all just laugh at me, call me an old overweight radio 2 crooner and tell me to go and make the tea. no respect this younger generation.

You need to put your name in “” quotes. I did it on your name and got 1260, rather less than 16500 and a little less than my 1680 but still quite impressive.

Comment by Neil Bennetts

That sounds entirely more sensible…

BTW, the funniest link so far for you is on the bottom of the third page of the search. Apparently there is a Neil Bennetts Fashions for the Elderly..!!! Is that your Plan B in case you ever decide to give up as a worship leader?

Comment by Andy

Beat you both by miles. Even with the quotes round the name, I get 111000. What a pity none of them are actually me!

Comment by Ruth


Comment by Andy


You keep me questioning what I hold as having value, and what I should hold as having value. I’m sure that all of us are tempted to promote ourselves because we feel that our value is in how others see us, where we should be looking to God to get that value.


Comment by Chris Beaumont

Chris, you speak wise words! Our value should absolutely come from our identity in God.

Don’t get me wrong, I like reading about what God is doing in people’s lives, and hearing encouragements and sharing ideas. Some people manage to do this really well without ever appearing to tip the balance. And I guess that they are the ones who have, as you say, found their value in who they are in God, not what they are ‘achieving’.

Comment by Neil Bennetts

Putting your name in Google images is a dangerous game though…

Comment by Chris


Comment by David Gate

we actually were saying “loser”?

you must have misheard.

And there’s nothing wrong with radio 2 – much better than radio 1.

check this out:


Comment by David Gate

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