What You Should Know About Our Name

August 6, 2014

Building Relationships

SFlogoWhat’s in a name? In the Bible, names meant something. To the Hebrews a name was not simply a label, or a tool to distinguish one person from another; a person’s name was viewed as equivalent to the person himself. A person’s name signified their person, worth, character, reputation, and identity.

In Scripture, when God changed a person’s name and gave him a new name, it was usually to establish a new identity. For example, God changed Abram’s “high father” name to “Abraham,” “father of a multitude” and his wife’s name from “Sarai,” “my princess,” to “Sarah,” “mother of nations.”

In short, a person’s name was tied to their identity…who they were. Merriam defines identity as: “the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.”

Have you ever given much thought to the name, “Special Friends.” It’s important to give it some thought because in theory the name of our ministry reflects who we are, our identity.

When I first started as the Director of our Special Friends ministry, I assumed that the name “Friends” referred to those that we serve: kids, teens, and adults. Perhaps you think the same thing too?

However, after giving it some considerable thought, what I’d like to propose to you is that the name “Special Friends” refers to YOU, our volunteers.

You are the special friend.

And because the name “Special Friends” refers to you individually…and all of us collectively…it reflects who we are and the character qualities that reflect how we do special needs ministry!

With your permission, I’d like to spend a few weeks developing the biblical concept of friendship because it will influence how you perceive your role as a friend to someone with special needs!

Let me give you some food for thought: serving others is a vital part of your Christian life. For this reason it’s important to not ignore the teaching of Jesus concerning both serving and friendship. Here’s what He said:

“You are my friends…No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jn.15:14-15).

In this passage, Jesus is locating the act of serving others (servant) within the context of a relationship—one of being a friend. I believe that what Jesus is doing here is changing the attitude and motivation involved in serving others. No longer is obligation or duty at the heart of being a servant; instead, serving others is a free act of love that comes from being their friend.

Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).

Jesus came to serve us through His incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, not out of some form of obligation or duty…but because of His love for us. A love that is reserved for friends. Why do I think this? Because Jesus reminded us that,

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13).

Here’s what I’d like you to remember and reflect on as you prepare to serve this month:

1.  The name of our ministry reflects who we are…our identity.
2.  You are the special friend.
3.  It’s our friendship with others that establishes the proper context for serving them.

God bless and thank you for all that you do for our Special Friends ministry!



About Michael Woods

Christ-follower, husband, chocoholic, and peanut-butter lover! I'm a father to triplet boys...each on the autism spectrum.

View all posts by Michael Woods


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