Does That Suit You?

A friend of mine was concerned.

He was asked to facilitate a session standing in for someone else. My friend’s concern was how to facilitate the session in the typical way that the absent facilitator would do it. The concern was understandable, after all, my friend didn’t want to upset a routine that people got accustomed to and he certainly didn’t want to draw attention to himself by veering off script.

However, as we conversed, it became clear that the worst thing he could do would be to facilitate it just like the other guy. It just wouldn’t suit him at all. Thankfully, as it transpired, my friend was able to be both considerate to the needs of those attending the session and still be himself in his delivery.

Despite his best intentions to just go unnoticed in carrying out the task and not draw attention to himself, his confidence, competence and comfort in delivering in a way that suited him left a great impression on those who took part. Such was the positive response that the original facilitator invited him to take more sessions.

There are a lot of outstanding things that people are doing in their own way and because it’s so effective, others look to turn one person’s style into a system and format and expect folks to fit that particular style. It’s evident in schools, it’s evident in offices, it’s evident in hospitals and it is evident in churches.

It can, however, be suffocating as people mistake a decent method for one person at one time, as a universal approach for all places at all times.

It is delightful when we recognise people for how God has specifically equipped them to function and rather than expecting them to fit our mould, we give them the space and the platform to serve in that specific way God has given.

This is why we celebrate a diverse group of people in scripture who displayed the brilliance of God in different settings that still expressed their God-given character and personality functioning in their unique calling as God directed. It would be a shame if we acknowledged that in the life of the called by God only to hinder that in the various formats and systems we put together.

This is not an invitation for selfish and self-gratifying pursuits where we can do whatever we like whether people like it or not. This is the pursuit of what God has specifically called us to be in service to Him for the benefit and blessing of others. He who made the best clothing for our parents, knows how best we can be clothed to be effective in what we do.

That’s why from time to time it’s good to look at what we are putting on ourselves and carefully consider – does that really suit you?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Acknowledging Good Service

If you don’t get good service, you are often going to do something about it, even if it’s just grumbling to someone else. What happens, however when we benefit from outstanding service?

Authrine and I had the pleasure of her company, recently. It was great spending time with her and hearing how she was doing.

This woman had made a significant contribution to us individually and as a couple. Her greatest contribution has been her example. Never seeking the spotlight and never chasing after positions, she has effortlessly been promoted wherever she has been all because of her incredible heart for service. Sacrificial service, discreet service, the sort that’s done without need for open recognition, but with deep and lasting repercussions of blessings for those in receipt.

There is so much to be learned from her and applied in life about love, faith, practical outworking of spiritual connection and endurance under very trying circumstances.

It’s easy to complain about poor service when we receive it. It should be our delight and joy to acknowledge and celebrate good service when we receive it. Not just celebrate it, but endeavour to let it spur us on to more acts of good service.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Being A Platform for the Star of the Show

There are many things my parents wanted for me, but one thing that they didn’t want for me was for me to be the star of the show. They expressed this desire by living lives committed to supporting others from behind the scenes. They made it look really cool to be supporting folks and seeing them come to the fore rather than looking good themselves.

Unsurprisingly, as I grew older, in as much as some of the gifts made me more likely to be closer to the front, my inclination has tended to be towards seeing others get their time to shine. So it was a delight to develop a friendship with a dear brother in Christ who was all about setting up platforms on which people could stand secure to practice before others what God had placed in them for the benefit of others. I love his passion for creating opportunities for people to discover their contributions to society and to make them in the context of a supportive community. This really should be part of what sets the church out from other gatherings – and my friend is certainly founded on church foundations. It’s just that often in the busyness of perpetuating similar services, building fund-raisers and desperately seeking to maintain their routines some expressions of church can minimise or neglect this role. So my friend has had to carve out a niche through gatherings and friendships. In it all, one thing about the initiative that remains endearing is that it is not personality driven – it’s not centred on my friend. He is not the start of the show.

That service mentality goes a long way to explaining why we as believers can point to the real star of the show in our lives. Putting the focus on Him in fact puts the spotlight on someone who came to serve and not to be served. The centre of our attention lived, died and triumphed over death to enable others to recognise that they are not the star of the show, but can be a platform for others to show off abilities and talents that gets others to see who the real star is.

My friend inspires me to look for ways to be a platform for others so that together we can display a light shining brightly enabling others to see for themselves who is worthy of all the applause, credit and praise.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

CD Songs: Carry On – VIP Mass Choir feat. John P. Kee

There are so many references in scripture of God engaging with individuals and setting them a task to complete. That task is completed from a place of trusting relationship between God and the one He sends.

It is such a pity that often following Jesus or an invitation to accept the gospel of the Kingdom does not also implicityly and explicitly suggest that in the same way that God called people for service before, He calls the individual to service now. This is not just a love thing going on of gazing adoringly at the Saviour. It’s engaging with the Saviour in discovering what He has called you to do in getting on with Kingdom business. What’s your role? What’s your calling? What part do you play? How does God intend to use you as His vessel?

Those kind of questions should stir something deep within that works it way out to serving in the area that is in line with the heart of God. It is one of the reasons why I love this particular tune. The encouragement to carry on with the work by discovering, receiving and living out the calling God has placed on your life.

Great tune that I hope you will likewise enjoy and by which you can be encouraged.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Team: Serving Each Other, Serving Together

One thing that bothers me about ministries named after an individual is the impression it gives that the whole offer of service is based around one person. The concern I have is that it doesn’t reveal something beatuiful about ministry. That beautiful thing is how we can serve together.

We can serve together and serve each other as we serve together too. For example, recently a group of about seven of us were praying together and someone shared an insight. It was a powerful insight about intensity and it left a lot of us duly stimulated and motivated in our ongoing desire to know Jesus. Someone else at the same time got something but were unsure if they wereto share it at that time. That person connected with someone else in the team and got the assurance and encouragement to share what they had. As it transpired that word built on what had been said earlier and blended in beautifully with other words that had been shared in time past. Those words propelled us to greater service and desire to help others discover more of the love of God in the world.

If there was an individual whose name was getting any kudos at all, that individual would have been Jesus Christ. No one else was looking to get credit and acclaim at all because there was a conscious awareness that we’re in this Kingdom endeavour together. That story spurred others on to serve each other as we serve together so that the name can get all the kudos for the life change still being brought about because He is real.

It’s that approach to serving that I find hugely endearing. It’s why I love spending time with these people who intentionally go about developing team ministry. It’s a pattern I know those looking on can learn from and feel more comfortable thinking about terms like ‘ministry’ and ‘service’. It doesn’t have to have the grandiose connotations some attach to it with corresponding heavy burdens. It can be playing their key role in what we’re called to do together.

After all Jesus is expressed in how we do life together.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Under the Radar

This is to say thanks to those who are chugging along living and serving and caring outside of the fanfare. There’s no great fuss about them. Their names are rarely remembered. They appear to be just like everyone else. They are not like everyone else. They are outstanding examples of humanity.

They’re do it under the radar, but they have been spotted, they have been seen, their duty of care has been noted.

Thank you.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

Once More With Feeling

I used to sing with a choir. The beauty of singing with a choir is that your voice is not the main thing, it contributes to the main thing.

When we rehearsed what we were singing, time was given to get accustomed to the structure of the song and the parts in it. Time was also given to understand the lyrics not just for how they rhythmically fitted, but for what they were to convey. Time was given for these things, but pretty soon the musing and figuring out would have to turn to singing the song as it was supposed to be sung. The reason to be in the choir was to be able to do that.

Being in the choir was not all about good technical quality. It was that capacity to sing it the way it was meant to be sung which was with your entire being in the song. That did not mean theatrical renditions and flourishes – it was clear when it was contrived. It did mean, however, engaging with the song and allowing it to mean something to you and then expressing that while singing it. Not everyone could do that – and that’s no slight on the people, that was clear observable reality. In those cases of recognising that, it just made sense to leave choir singing to others who could.

So I left it to those who could.

It was great learning, however, the importance of the service shared when the choir sang it with feeling. When people could clearly see the fruits of the hours of rehearsal to deliver the message in the song. When listeners could witness that the song was rich and enriching, something that moved and was moving, the power of those occasions was unforgettable.

It also informed me that this was not something just applicable to choirs and songs.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden