the baby and the bathwater

The diary of an international worship leader aged 43 3/4
July 3, 2008, 10:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Well I think that was a great first day.

We headed off to the church bright and early for the morning session. Remembering that I was doing my seminar on ‘famous but humble’ I made sure I was modeling what I was going to be talking about. I went up to the registration desk and said who I was in a very quiet and unassuming and self effacing manner. Clearly there is a language problem, which is understandable, as the person on the desk didn’t seem to know me and couldn’t find my name on her list. I told her I was a rather well known worship leader from England and then she seemed to show a spark of recognition, and she started looking down her list muttering ‘Matt Redman’.

She got to the bottom of her list again and then looked back at me slightly confused. Eventually I managed to explain who I was, and she then looked slightly disappointed for some reason. Anyway, eventually she gave me a hand-written badge with ‘day pass’ written on it. That was slightly annoying, but again i remember my up and coming talk and walk away with a smile that hopefully looked genuine. As I walked away from the desk towards the auditorium I just heard her whispering to another person on the desk – something about being worried that people might start asking for their money back. It’s just as well I am here to help because it sounds like they are struggling if people want to ask for a refund so early in the conference.

My seminar came after the first session, and I think it went really well, in a humble but life changing sort of way. I talked about the pressures of being so famous whilst trying to look unaffected and servant-hearted. This being in Swedleburg, I had a translator who translated my English into Swedleburgish. I’m not sure how good the translator was, as they all kept laughing at my most serious points, and were all strangely quiet when I told jokes. Anyway, we had a time of questions at the end, which I think went well, although I was slightly confused when one of them asked me where Matt was.

I finished my session with a time of ministry where I offered to pray for people who felt that the Lord was calling them to be famous and humble. No one actually came forward for prayer, but the Lord was clearly blessing people as many of them started laughing and hollering and rolling around on the floor, presumably in the power of the Holy Spirit. It really is amazing how God is using me on this international ministry trip.

I then went off with my family for a meal with some of the wonderful Swedelburgish people. They really are so very friendly and generous. They even offered to take my wife and children off on a boat trip tomorrow whilst I do my next seminar. I thanked them but say that my family always like to come to my seminars and listen to me talk whilst they also uphold me in prayer. Funny, at that precise moment the Holy Spirit must have fallen, because my wife’s leg jerked under the table and caught me on the shin, and both my girls started to weep simultaneously.

During the evening celebration that followed, I was sitting with my family and was really blessed by the worship, even though it was in Swedleburgish. Funny how that God’s presence transcends language and culture in such a beautiful way.

During the ministry time I felt that God spoke to me and encouraged me about the talk I am giving tomorrow called ‘how to write anointed songs that change the world’.

It should be good.


8 Comments so far
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Neil, I must confess with true shame that it took me a while to grasp exactly what you’ve been saying. As I read these last posts, a deep furrow of confusion fell heavy on my brow, until finally the penny dropped.
I’m not usually this slow, you must understand.
But in many ways I think it helped your point hit home all the more. Thoroughly challenging.
On top of just trying to wade my way through the mindfield that is Velvet Elvis, I think I might have to go and have a little lie down…



Comment by The Real Chris Marsh

A lie down never hurt anyone.

Sorry for any confusion. But if you were as old as me, the title would have triggered memories ….the concept is totally stolen from adrian mole, and a later rip off from adrian plass.

the old ideas are often the best…..

Comment by Neil Bennetts

Keep them coming Neil, your blog is thought provoking and inspiring. Old ideas tend to come with the wisdom and maturity of years, anyway compared to some of us you are still young!

Comment by Styx of Rock

Loving the Swedelburg series – although when i first read it I thought I’d gone to David Gate’s blog, so dripping was said post with Gate-esque cynicism . . . but judging from the comments over at his blog, it appears poeple often mistake you two! (PS I am also afflicted by alopeacia; just last week I was walking in the town centre and a limousine full of post 16 students on the way to their prom proclaimed the immortal words “Oi Baldddiiiiiee!” from their luxury environs. How true,I thought, and silently gave thanks for their erudition).

Anyway – when I was reading these pieces I began to think how much human beings seek for validation. It starts with ‘look mummy’ or look daddy’ and we never really grow out of it. It ends with adding epithets to your identity. Hence :

“Worship leader” = I am special
“Annointed”= I am that degree more special than the other unanointed worship leaders
“International” = even among the special, I am really quite special.

What’s really funny is, as with most hyperbole in the church, those kind of claims don’t need to be made explicitly – if they’re true. If they’re accurate, they are self-authenticating by the person’s lifestyle? It’s like when a person with pretentions to a prophetic ministry prefixes everything with “thus saith the Lord” . If you say something true about my life, then it self-validates!

In short, I am insecure as are alot of us musos and worship leaders. In this context I resolve to hug the next worship leader I see, regardless of his geographical spread and level of annointed-ness.

Comment by MattCrossman


Good comments. There is too much stuff out there, the title of which promises much (like the cd I saw recently that was called ‘The new sound of worship’ – which when you listened to it was really ‘the same old sound of worship’) but delivers little.


Comment by Neil Bennetts

the ever humble mr neil when are you going to change your tune!??

Comment by Naomi

My lovely friend and encourager Lips.

You know I’ve only ever had one tune. And so far I’ve managed to squeeze it into around 20 songs.

Nice to know you are still alive, by the way.

Comment by Neil Bennetts

thats true true . . . I’m still working on my ’20’ songs!! Guess I have another 14 years to get them out . . .

I’m back in the UK soon . .. email the days you may be free from the 18th July if you want to hang out with your encouraging friend!!!!!!

Comment by Naomi

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