Reflecting on Partnerships

It’s funny for me to reflect on ten years of blogging and remember how that span covers the time that I worked at the North Staffordshire YMCA. Funny in the sense that I didn’t write a lot about it at the time. I don’t doubt that were I working there now I would certainly be blogging about it more now than then.

That’s all said as I recently reflected on a task I was asked to do. As I went about doing it, I remembered how back in the YMCA days these were tasks I would do with a good friend of mine. I felt we worked well together and complimented each other well in terms of our personality and gift made-up. It was my pleasure seeing him going about doing things in his own inimitable way and then we could work on the matter together and whatever I might have done, he would undoubtedly improve on. It was great working with him and bouncing ideas off him as well as thrashing matters out where we were not in agreement. I had worked with people before, but usually either in a group or where I was the clear Junior or apprentice in the dynamic. This arrangement in the YMCA days felt like a genuine partnership. Which said heaps about him, because he could have pulled rank in terms of age and experience in Christ, but he was very gracious in not using those at all, rather, life Barnabas, he sought to support and encourage me in what we were doing.

Since that experience, I have had the opportunity to work in partnership with others. It’s not about comparing them to say which were better than the other. It is to say that the YMCA partnership experience set a standard of partnership work that I am hugely grateful for and to some degree influences everything that’s followed it. As I reflected on this recent task, I wryly smiled. In as much as I completed it, there was not the degree of fun and fulfilment I got as I did in that partnership.

I recognise in me a tendency to stay under the shadow of someone else and not step out to do something without that shadow. Useful though that is, it can become a crutch that actually stifles growth, not just for me but for others too. Getting that perspective properly on how I do life challenges me to rely on God all the more. In as much as that does mean entering the new for me, it does not negate the good in what worked in the past.

Genuine close partnership work was something that worked in the past and I realise as it’s from the old I travel to the new, that does not forsake the benefits of that type of work. What it will do is challenge me on relying on God to guide me in this so that it will prove a fruitful endeavour not just for me and those I may be in partnership with, but also for onlookers to the glory of God.

For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden


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