Playing In Symphony: Developing a Referral Network

A premiere seat in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall during a performance of the Oregon Symphony provided a unique perspective. A man sitting with his arms crossed in the back corner of the stage caught my eye. The general stance of most performing musicians is one of alertness–ready to play the next note. This man, on the other hand, could easily give the impression that somehow he had acquired the best seat in the house, without participating in Handel or Janacek’s works, as others on stage were doing.

Finally, he uncrossed his arms, sat up in his chair and eventually stood up. In what seemed to be slow motion, he looked at the music stand, lifted two small cymbals and continued holding one in each hand. Still waiting, I made note of the increased crescendo of the music, yet time seemed to stand still. And then it happened. At just the right nanosecond he brought the cymbals together and his seemingly minuscule contribution to Janacek’s Sinfonietta was instantly the crowning climax. Yet, almost as quickly, he diminished the strategic sound and sat back down. I waited and waited, but that was his total contribution to that particular movement of Janacek’s work.

In contrast, the star performer, Joshua Bell, came out on stage at the very beginning and stood near the Conductor a few moments…waiting until the predetermined second when he would begin his phenomenal solo performances. He played the violin for nearly an hour.

Both of these musicians were obviously proficient and professional. They each were well accomplished in their fields. Their contributions were essential elements to the whole. I suspect the evening performance might not have maintained its enthusiastic audience response had Bell and DePonte changed places.

This reminded me that what may seem like a nanosecond from an eternal perspective is no less important than an hour in our willingness to step up to the music stand and give what we have to offer at just the right time, in God’s perfect timing.

It is just as important to know the expertise of others, to invite others to “play their instruments” at that most strategic moment of care giving. Last blog we were given the opportunity to confirm unique ways in which we offer care to others, so we could better understand our own limits. The natural follow-up Shepherding Guideline is to also know the expertise of others so I can refer to them as needed.

DO Know Referral Resources

This is the sixth Guideline for Shepherding (in our listing of Do’s and Don’ts) that we’ve been considering.  (For the fifth Guideline, see Know Your Own LimitsAnd for more on this, see Shepherding a Woman’s Heart, Chapter 9.)

Compile and have readily available a list of physicians, professional counselors, local ministries and care givers by area of specialty. Include “hotline” and shelter numbers for emergency physical and sexual abuse situations. Perhaps there are people in your church willing to step in and provide needed resources, such as transportation, accommodations, or recommendations.

One of the dangers of being a shepherd is assuming that the ability or responsibility to restore people to health belongs to the shepherd alone. In a way that a symphony beautifully illustrates, each participant has an important role to play—whether that is a nanosecond or an hour(s)—to the over all care giving of others.

I wonder if any of the four men in Mark 2:1-10 had any thought the day before that they would be “opening the roof…and digging through it…” at that specific hour so they could lower the mat of the paralyzed man right in front of Jesus. We are not given the “behind the scenes” story of how these particular men were rallied. Obviously, they were available and knew how best to bring this paralyzed man (unable to bring himself) to Jesus. No matter how long it took to dig through the typically thick layer of clay, supported by mats of branches across wood beams, this was their moment that would open the door for life-change for the paralyzed man—both physically and spiritually.

Who is on your list of referrals? Perhaps you may want to interview local credible professionals, reputable resources, or ask for referrals from friends or pastors in your area.

The list of musicians in the Oregon Symphony program was extensive. Yet each was identified by their area of musical expertise. Imagine the harmony in care giving we could likewise experience with a listing of referral resources who are available to play both the cymbals and violin in concert along with our shepherding “instruments.”

1 thought on “Playing In Symphony: Developing a Referral Network

  1. Couldn’t agree more. As a real estate agent I have an Excel chart a mile deep with exact references, ready for the thousands of different events that can occur in a transaction. If I spend this much time and care to protect and develop real estate transactions, how much more should we take seriously the needs of the Kingdom of God as it faces a variety of challenges. Excellent post (I also appreciate the professionalism of our Oregon Symphony!).

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