We are—God willing—entering the home stretch in the development of my new website. This means it’s time to review all the language I gave to my web development team—many months ago!—to see what I might want to update or change.
This is tough. I’m not naturally the kind of person who likes to talk about who she is and what she does. I prefer to let my actions speak for themselves. I prefer to let clients talk about my work—and I do have a number of excellent testimonials, which I will be using. But there’s that “About” page—the one that explains who I am and what credentials and experience I have for the work I do. That’s a challenge. How do you sum up 50+ years of life and ministry in a few short, meaningful sentences?
I found myself thinking about Jesus in that regard. It didn’t take long for word to spread about him. Halfway through the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we read this: “At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.” Of course, his life and times were very different from ours. There was no internet, so he wasn’t competing with the constantly updated news coming in from around the world when it was time to talk about the events of the day over a simple dinner of pita bread and goat cheese. Word about him spread slowly (at least in comparison with the spread of news today), through word of mouth.
This is actually how I prefer for word of my ministry to spread. I’d prefer for other people to talk about what I’ve done, and the good I’ve been able to achieve for them. It’s somehow more authentic that way. I also feel that it lets the Holy Spirit be in charge of how word spreads and what gets said.
So why have a website? It’s sort of a both/and situation. I know that, to operate in this modern world, I need a place where people can come—once they’ve heard of me, or if they’re searching for someone with my gifts and skills—to learn more about what I have to offer and find a way to contact me. Today, the standard for that is a website; in Jesus’ time, it probably was encountering him in the Capernaum synagogue (pictured here) or the meeting cubicles built into the city gates. I also see this website as a place where people can pause for some refreshment and reflection (as it will have a rotating gallery of my photos and thoughts/questions at the top). In this way, I am reverting to type: showing visitors what I have to share, rather than expending a lot of words to talk about it. (Which is ironic, considering that words are my primary professional tool!)
For today, however, it’s the About page that needs my attention. I’ll leave you with this question: If you had to sum up your life and work/ministry in a few short, meaningful sentences, what would you say?
I certainly resonated with your post this morning. Just before Christmas a very simple website was finished for me. In my case, it is not to get any word out, at least not yet, but rather to be an information source for those interested in having me speak to their group. It saves me lots of time and emailing! There are summaries and downloadable resources on a few different topics. BUT the ‘About’ page was some kind of torture! It made me smile to read your note this morning. First I hid it in an inconspicuous place… then realized that was kind of defeating the purpose! My husband kept pulling me back from the shadows.
It’s a funny thing, that balance between not letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing and putting yourself out there. It looks like anyone who wants to publish anything in this market has to embrace self-marketing, even when a book company takes you on. The way I wanted it to work is that I would be like a dandelion seed stalk – I would be obedient to hold it up, but God would have to blow the seed where he wills. My coach and counselors had a few problems with that analogy!
I’m wishing you all the best, asking the Lord to keep you in that Kingdom path of what he wills, both prospering your way and protecting you from stepping off it into anything that will waste your time. We so need discernment!
Thank you for your Advent note about The Bare Branch. I appreciated it very much!
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Thank you, Marcia! Congratulations on getting your website live–despite those tortures that we clearly share! It is a challenging balance, and frankly I like the dandelion image…which goes to show where I am on that spectrum, too! I appreciate your wishes and prayers, and may the Holy Spirit also direct you in the right paths in the year ahead!
I’ve only had to write a brief bio to be included with an article, and that was hard enough. Wait, I used to have a website too, come to think of it, related to a course I was going to offer. What I can tell you is that the best “selfie bios” I’ve read are those that express credentials honestly yet with a touch of humility and humour without being self-deprecating. I look forward to seeing your site when it’s ready! ?
Thank you! I think it will always be a work in progress…as am I. I appreciate the “humility and humor” part!
PS: I once had the delight of introducing Martin Smith at a retreat. Every person who came knew of Martin from his writings, so I introduced “a man who needs no introduction, but we’re going to give him one anyway, just for the joy of it” and strung together many of his accomplishments, ending with “lover of God. Please welcome, Martin Smith.” He was beaming and I was glad I’d taken it in that direction. Thanks for bringing that old memory to the fore! ✨
What a lovely memory! That is also a great story. I actually saw Martin, briefly, when we were in Jerusalem a year ago…in the courtyard of St. George’s church–completely unscheduled, clearly a God-gift!