The guitarist in the shadow


1766669-black_paintI remember the concert clearly.  A well known Christian singer/songwriter had put together a string of his material to be able to present the gospel to non-Christian teens.  He was very good – he’s a gifted speaker as well as a musician.  And the kids responded well.

But what I remember most vividly was the other guy on the stage.  The one who’s name didn’t appear on the poster or the CDs in the same size font.  But to my ear he was the more accomplished musician, and his job was to make the main man sound even better than he was.  Which he did, in a stunning but self-effacing way.

I told him my plan was to go home and burn my guitar, because I’d never play it as well as I’d heard him play that night. But our conversation happened out of sight, in a corner, which the crowds queued to see the famous man.

It’s a parable just waiting to be used, isn’t it?

As leaders our job is to help others develop their gifts to their height of their ability, not squash them with ours.

As leaders, it’s not about us

And in the age of the publicity pastor, the Christian celeb, the book tour, concert and autograph: it must be the case that the Lord Jesus is the central attraction. We must disappear into the shadows.

That’s especially hard for those of whose ministry is to be front and centre, as preachers, pastors, leaders or writers.  or even musicians.  The model that most folk have from our culture, is that if we’re up front we must be famous, or want to be famous, or ought to be treated as if we are famous.  As if, as preachers, we belong on the X Factor.


You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed (prographein – put up as if on a poster) as crucified. (Gal. 3:1)  That’s the only kind of fame worth having.

4 comments on “The guitarist in the shadow”

  1. Is that your guitar??!! Seriously your post reminds of John the Baptist talking about Jesus. I think it was Sproul who viewed John as saying that Jesus HAD to become greater – it was inevitable! And just as inevitable that he had to become less.

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