It happens over lunches. It happens via social media. It happens at conferences and definitely at denominational conventions. It’s often back-handed or passive aggressive, but bottom line: it’s bragging.
And its most popular form is the humble brag.
The Urban Dictionary defines humble brag as “When you, usually consciously, try to get away with bragging about yourself [or church] by couching it in a phony show of humility.”
Whether you’re talking about your personal accomplishments, or your church’s attendance figures or square footage, it’s annoying and potentially sinful.
Can you imagine the Apostles coming back together after being out in different groups baptizing and saying things like, “Well, Peter and I baptized 21 people today”? Then Judas and Matthew one-up them by saying, “Well, we baptized 35.”
Actually, I can imagine this happening. But I also believe that if it did and Jesus heard it, then Jesus called them on it.
Those in positions of larger influence are often even more susceptible to humble brags. If you’re in a larger church than those you’re in a conversation with, not everyone needs to know. If you’ve found success in whatever you, resist the urge to utter humble brags. Simple, be humble.
Unless you’re answering a direct question, I can’t think of a reason to to announce the number of people in your congregation or any other measurement stick you may keep track of.
And even when asked a question, begin your response with sayings like:
• “God has allowed us to do some pretty cool things…”
• “On a typical weekend, we average (use a conservative #)…”
• “I don’t know what we had here last week, but there was this really cool God-thing that happened…”
You get the idea.
No matter the topic, your bragging is not of Christ. And doing it in the form of a humble brag doesn’t make it any less of a brag. Bragging often leads to cause the sin of jealousy to others. It can influence other ministers to pursue the things of this world, rather than God’s desires.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
– Apostle Paul, the Bible, Galatians 6:14