the baby and the bathwater

The diary of an international worship leader aged 43 3/4
July 9, 2008, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


The place we are staying in this week in Swedleburg is fantastic. We are sharing a family room in this wooden house, which is part of a collection of wooden houses situated on the coast. This family room contains two sets of bunk beds, the arrangement of which means that Sarah sleeps in the bunk above my wife, and Lizzy sleeps in the bunk above me. It’s great to do this – we all go to bed together and wake up all together – it’s a wonderful bonding experience.

This morning I was awoken by my eldest breaking wind (‘good one’) and then leaning over the side of the bunk and giggling at me. I decided to respond in a similar fashion, and then my other daughter joined in and soon everything got a little out of hand. I’m convinced we got a credible three part harmony at one point. Only my wife didn’t join in the musical session and left to go and have a shower. I sometimes get frustrated that she doesn’t fully appreciate that us international ministry types need to unwind like this sometimes.

In fact, whilst we are on the subject of showers, this being Swedleburg, the showers are communal. The Swedleburgish people are apparently far more relaxed about their ablutions than the English, and there is only one set of showers – used by both men and women – with of course the obligatory sauna attached. To save our embarrassment, though, the conference hosts have allocated certain hours for men and certain hours for women for the duration of our stay. This is fine in theory. But last night I obviously misread the time sheet and barged in on a rather round bottomed Swedleburgish lady in a state of semi undress. Fortunately I managed to exit very quickly without her seeing me (one can just imagine the headlines…). Anyway, to avoid any further possibility of unsuitable encounter, today I made do with a body wash using the sink in our family room.

Then over breakfast I had a strange conversation with my wife when she used a lot of words like self centred, egotistical, hot air and boring. I didn’t quite get the drift, but anyway the outcome was that we decided that she and the girls would benefit from sacrificing another chance to hear me speak today, and they are going off on the boat for the day. So I would have to go to the morning bible reading on my own, and would also be on my own for my next seminar ‘how to write anointed worship songs that change the world’.

I arrived at the seminar room to find it fuller than the day before. I was sort of quite pleased in a humble sort of way, and chatted away to the venue host trying to appear unconcerned at the greater numbers. I slipped a question into our conversation about why there were more people than yesterday. Apparently, according to him, it was because people had never seen or heard anything quite like me before and wanted to make sure the rumors were true.

I took that as a compliment.

There was obviously quite a lot of holy anticipation in the room, because as I stood up to speak I saw quite a few people nudging each other, pointing at me, whispering and giggling. It made me quite nervous, as I didn’t want to disappoint them. I then talked about song writing, and how important it was that our focus should be on effecting the whole world, how exciting it is when your songs get put on those ‘1000 best ever worship song’ cd’s. I talked about my other most inspiring cd called ‘the totally fresh new sound of worship volume 17’, and how wonderful it was that every month there was another volume of ‘the totally fresh new sound of worship’ released. I also gave a theological exegeses of the CCLI top 25. Someone in room interrupted at this point and asked me if it was true that CCLI stood for ‘Cash Comes in Large Installments’.

I thought that was quite harsh really.

At the end of this seminar there was no need to have any formal ministry time, as by the end of my talk people were so clearly under the influence of the holy spirit – laughing and chattering and moving around the room. So I just withdrew quietly. One lovely lady stopped me on the way out and thanked me for what was a wonderful seminar. She said that up until today she had only thought of songs as a way to connect with God, but now she realised that there was just so much more involved than that.

I’m glad I’m having such an impact on people.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The last line…about the old woman….had me in stitches.

Keep taking the pills…

Comment by Andy

i like the wife character

Comment by David Gate


The pills are the only thing keeping me going.

Comment by Neil Bennetts


So do I

Comment by Neil Bennetts

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