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The Fine Art of the Christian Humblebrag

 —  September 4, 2013 — 4 Comments

awesomeYou know that one thing you just did? Or that next thing you’ll do?

They’re the GREATEST things in the world, and you’re “incredibly humbled” to be do them.


Welcome to the “humblebrag.”

A Wall Street Journal article describes it this way

“Whether we like it or not, and especially on social media, we’re all self-promoters, broadcasting even our quasi-achievements to every friend and follower.”

The phrase was coined by Harris Wittels who explained that the “humblebrag” is when someone overtly boasts while covertly side-stepping coming across as bragging by wrapping it up in some type of humility


That’s something Christians can be culprits of just as easily as others.

And why not? Don’t we have the Greatest Message in the world to communicate? And aren’t we all “super excited” at the latest way we’ve found to share it?

  • “Hey, check out my YouTube video…”
  • “You should click on this link…”
  • “Read this post…”
  • “Could you retweet this…”

It’s what you say when someone asks how your last service or event was:

  • “Oh, it was incredible! You should have been there! God did something awesome! And, well… I was just thankful to be used by Him. I always am.”
  • “Well, the pastor was on vacation… and I don’t know if it’s okay to say this, but a few people told me they like my preaching a little better than his. I think a revival may break out soon.”

It’s how you describe the next thing that your name is attached to:

  • “Hey, you need to get your friends out to our next outreach thing. I’m going to bring my ‘A-Game’ and expect you to bring your school out to hear it… you know, so God can work through me.”
  • “I just wrote this blog post that I think just may change the future of how we do what we do. I’m super humbled to share this with you.”

It’s how you let everyone know your life is going well:

  • “Yay! We just became debt-free! It meant living off of croutons and Kool-Aid for six years, but we dropped a few pounds so it’s all good.”
  • “I’m soooooo grateful to have such a super-sexy, always-praying-on-the-knees-while-singing-worship-songs-and-writing-new-ones spouse who made me breakfast in bed today while writing out our tithe check.”

Granted, those are a little over the top and exaggerated. I’m guessing you saw yourself or someone else in them, though.

(In fact, it’s a whole lot easier to see this in others… isn’t it?)


It’s worth a gut check:

  • How often do you look for a reason to talk about God and toss yourself in there?
  • How often do you look for a reason to talk about yourself and toss God in there?

I’d love to hear your observations or pet peeves on this.
Maybe even share a few creative youth worker “humble brags.”

Oh… and while you’re thinking of some, make sure you check out my new book Uncommon Wisdom From The Other Side that came out this week. It was a labor of love to write it, but I’m “super excited” for how it turned out.

(Ahem… see what I did there? And you’re welcome.)

Tony Myles

Tony Myles

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Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, author, speaker, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio... and he really likes smoothies.

4 responses to The Fine Art of the Christian Humblebrag

  1. Leneita Fix

    I have a favorite SNL skit where they make the statement, “You’re so self-promotional and that’s accepted these days.” I also remember a pastor telling the story of a conversation he had with a woman who had a solo at church. He said, “That was wonderful today.” She said, “It wasn’t me, it was the Lord.” He said, “It wasn’t that good.”

    I think the hard part about the “humblebrag” is in the gut check. It begins with some of us (me included) being honest with the reality that in theory we would love to be “famous.” “If you could check this out then maybe someone might notice.” The problem of course with that thought process is what will get us our 15 min of fame- may not be what we were thinking. It is about going before the Lord- and asking for him to genuinely get the Glory in every situation. Then it’s about asking ourself with every tweet or social media push- “Why am I putting this out there?” In terms of an article or book or video is it to resource someone and are you ok if just one person reads it? If it’s a quote or such is it you being you- or hoping you might be “famous.”

    • Tony Myles

      Well said… and I think I know the SNL sketch you mean. :) So the real hurdle is to be honest with the stuff inside of us so we better can discern what we’re pushing out there, and why it’s being pushed. Maybe we need some clearer language, too.

  2. Kurt Johnston

    This one got me, Tony! I read it while I was halfway through typing a “humble brag” of my own and totally got a gut-punch. Thanks for the reminder. Sadly, though, people now won’t know the awesome thing about myself I was about to humbly share.

    • Tony Myles

      Well, I’m “super blessed” to humbly be used by God in your moment of conviction. I’m going to dance around a little bit about it now, but it will be liturgical dancing… so no worries. :)

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