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When I get a new CD, the first thing I do is to turn to the lyrics booklet and read the artist’s thanks. When I get a book, the first thing I do is read the ‘acknowledgments’. I want to know who’s behind the person, who’s the team that supports, encourages and keeps them going, because I know that the finished product – the music, the novel – is actually the end result of a lot of hard work, not just inspiration. As Thomas Edison is reputed to have said, ‘genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration’, and I’m always curious about the ‘team’ as well as about the individual artist.

Teamwork is essential to life. One person simply doesn’t have the time, talent or ability to do everything, no matter how gifted or inspirational they are. God acknowledges this freely, calling His church a body made up of individual parts, each with their function, responsibility and gift. (Rom 12:3-12; 1 Cor 12:12-31)

There are many famous people in this world, but behind each famous person is a team of unsung heroes, people who work hard to help, organise and encourage the person. The gift of encouragement and practical support is not to be dismissed lightly because it’s a background thing. It’s the everyday fuel in the soul of anyone who strives to make a difference in the world.

This weekend is the Dearne Community Arts’ Festival and as one of the organisers of this event, I’m very aware of the unsung heroes who make the festival happen. I might be the one in the foreground, promoting and organising the event, but without this backroom team of volunteers and helpers, the festival simply wouldn’t happen. We will salute many creatives this weekend whose skills and gifts leave me in speechless awe, but behind each creative there are people who encourage, support and help in a host of practical ways.

A lot of people don’t like the lists of names in the Bible, finding them boring. Giles Coren wrote a scathing article in the Times recently about the tedious list of ‘thanks’ that are given by celebrities. I vehemently disagree with both these views. Acknowledging people’s contributions is crucial to humility, thankfulness and spiritual growth. I’m so grateful for the many people who believed an arts’ festival could make a positive contribution to Goldthorpe and our area, who work hard to make that vision a reality and who perform the art of encouragement with as much skill as any artist or musician.