The Humble Brag Among Ministers

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

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On-boarding Staff Process and Resources

As a hiring manager or leader, there are two reasons you might need to review this post and linked resource:

1.) You don’t hire new employees often, so you have no system and can’t easily remember all the steps that need to take place each time.

2.) You’re hiring a lot of new employees, so you need a system and documentation to keep the onboarding steps consistent.

The goal is to make sure everyone is doing their part to welcome and prepare for new employees. Being prepared on day one and having an orientation in place says a lot to them about your church or organization.

On and Off-Boarding templates

Here you can view our On-boarding and Orientation Task Sheet we place on our church’s Intranet. We’ve determined which key departments and persons need to receive the first e-mail, alerting the staff of a new employee’s anticipated arrival. Then, those people review it to see what they’re responsible for making happen.

Ultimately, the responsibility for ensuring completion of tasks falls to the hiring manager or Human Resources department (if that applies).

I’ve also included our Employee Off-boarding Task Sheet. It’s self-explanatory, but also integral.

Your group may need to contextualize our documents for your specific usage, but you need to be using something. The attached on and off-boarding documents and its goals will help communicate to a new employee their value to you.


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Problem Solvers Need Not Apply

We don’t need more problem solvers. What we do need are more problem avoiders.

As a leader, what if you were effective enough to solve problems before they even presented themselves?

Like many leaders, in an interview for my current position, I remarked that I was a “problem solver.” I thought this was a good skill. However, I’ve come to find out that my supervisor (Jim Baker @sacredstructure) believes that problem avoiders are more valuable than problem solvers. And I’ve come to that same belief.

Problem-avoidance begins with asking the what, where, when, why, who, and how questions (5 W’s) in advance of initiatives.

Doing the five things below, in a systematic, strategic, and preventive way, will lead to problem-avoidance:

  1. Get perspective from others.
  2. Consider possible problems in the planning stage.
  3. Consider the pitfall possibilities in the initiative’s implementation.
  4. Ask the “5 W” interrogative questions at each stage of initiative roll-out.
  5. Always evaluate (post-mortem autopsy) your work and ministries.

Regularly engaging these five simple exercises will lessen the amount of time you spend problem-solving and improve your leadership skills in problem-avoidance.


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