Skip to main content

If you want to change lives, try this...

I was was just an elementary school girl when Sue Duffield and her husband Jeff came to my home church to minister at a banquet. I looked like this at the time:

 If you're a first time blog reader, just so you know, I'm the one on the left. ;)

Sue and Jeff had been married just a short time and were on the road full time, ministering. They looked something like this, as I recall:

 I thought they were the coolest people I had ever met in my life.

They had just made a new recording (back then they were eight tracks and cassettes) and we got both of them to take home after the banquet. I remember my sister and I wore them out! We would listen and sing along and jump around in our room. (I did a lot more jumping around than she did. I was goofy that way. I sang into the hairbrush, actually pretending to be Sue Duffield.)

Over and over I sang  her song, "Bread Upon the Water."
"Good measure pressed down, shaken together running o-----ver...soon it's gonna come back home, come back home, come back home on every waaaaaave..."
 Lord have mercy, I sang that song  until everyone was probably soooooo sick and tired of hearing it. Some people expressed just how tired they were of  it, everyone except my grandmother, that is. She liked it so much she even asked me to sing it to her when she was in the hospital before she passed away.  Bless her heart, grandmas can always be counted on for things like that.

Sue was like an icon to me growing up, with a velvety voice that just kinds of flows out like warm caramel every time she sings or talks. They ministered at "C.A. Rallies" as they were called back then, and district youth convention. I acquired most every 8 track and cassette that the Duffields ever made. My favorite was a song Sue wrote and recorded years later entitled, "The Other Side." Every time I heard it, I was convicted and challenged. 

After high school I went to bible college and met Larry and we began youth pastoring. The Duffields came and ministered at both churches where we were youth pastors, in New Jersey and Ohio. They had evolved yet again:

 and again...

By the way, although I play the piano, I never set out to play just like Jeff Duffield.  Anyone who tries to do that is just naive. You will never achieve it so you might a well give up before you start and quit wasting your time. LOL

They have seen me in every stage of my life -- as a young school kid, a teenager, youth pastoring, lead pastoring, when our children came along, and now as they have grown up and ministering for the Lord themselves.

I am blessed to lead the Assemblies of God Women's Ministries for the Tampa section. Last night we had Sue and Jeff minister at our women's event which was held at Celebration.  This is Sue and Jeff nowadays:

Still traveling full time and making a difference in lives, more than ever before.

They could hardly believe it when "the baby" (Savanna) greeted them at the door. She's grown so much since the last time they were here. Here's one of the times Sue was with us while we were lead pastoring when Savanna was just five years old.

Sue did an amazing job last night and women's lives were touched. Young girls lives were changed. But I must selfishly say that the most amazing thing for me happened before anyone got there.

Sue and Jeff were setting up and checking their sound equipment. I was running to and fro getting details wrapped up regarding the event and was in the back of the sanctuary getting a file off of my computer for the announcements when Sue approached. Drawing near she took my hand and said, "Deanna, can I just say something?" I had no idea what was coming, but in that I'm-about-to-say-something-really-profound-Sue-Duffield-kind-of-way,  she leaned in and said, "Deanna, can I just say how proud I am of you?" And then she repeated the statement for effect.

And what an affect it had.

So what's the point of this post? Just a Duffield love-fest? Yes, and no. There's a leadership lesson here.

Last night when I introduced Sue, I shared with the women that someone once said, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."  For all of Sue's talents and accomplishments the greatest thing about her is that to the core of her being she's a person who genuinely cares. You can have all the talent in the world but if you have no concern for others you won't go very far.

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." ~ John Maxwell

By the way, speaking of John Maxwell, Sue Duffield was a contributing author to one of his books,  Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.

When many evangelists struggle to get bookings, she's pretty much booked solid about 200 dates a year and it just keeps growing. Some of that is talent, but I believe a lot more of it has to do with integrity and genuine care. I've observed this in her for over three decades now. These are footsteps worth following in, although no one could ever fill them like she does.

There is still so much I see in Sue Duffield that I want to emulate. Thank you Sue, for leading the way for women and girls of all ages. And, for showing those of us in vocational ministry how to walk worthy of our calling. As one who travels and ministers outside of our church, I have also learned so much by watching Sue Duffield's example. I want to be just like her when it comes to her amazing ability to connect not just with audiences but one-on-one which is even more important. 

One more thing...last night the decor was beach/tropical. Sue was given a lei to wear by our ladies who had organized the decor. After the night was over, as Sue was getting in her car to leave, she was saying goodbye to some who had gathered around. A young girl from our church named Kaylyn was just enamored with Sue and was talking to her.  Sue hugged her goodbye and gave her the lei that was around her neck before she got into the car and left.

Later on as we were cleaning some things up, Kaylyn walked over to me and with more excitement than someone her age talking about Justin Bieber she said, "Pastor Deanna, Sue gave me this!!! You know what? You met her when you were about my age! And now, she touched my life too...isn't that so awesome?!!"

And on it goes...


Debbie said…
Awesome word Deanna! Sue and Jeff are wonderful people and great friends of ours. She truly does care about people and is being used in a powerful way by God.

Popular posts from this blog

What To Do First to Make a Profit

Today on Seth Godin's blog, he said:

It's tempting to decide to make a profit first, then invest in training, people, facilities, promotion, customer service and most of all, doing important work. In general, though, it goes the other way.
Yes, it does. If you are waiting to make a profit before you do these things, in my experience you're  not going to make a profit. So many organizations, ministries and churches are struggling with financial issues. I know your pain. As anyone who follows our story knows, our ministry was in a ton of debt four years ago when I came on as director.  Since that time, we've gotten out of debt and turned a profit every year.  God has done amazing things through out team, for which we give Him the glory!

I find that what Seth is saying here is absolutely true, with one disclaimer. For Christian leaders, spiritual disciplines must always be first. Before we started investing and training and all of that, seeking God for his blessing and…

I'm Just Being Transparent...

This year at the Stronger Conference, a young minister stopped me as I was walking out of the room at the conclusion of a workshop and she said, "I want to tell you something..." (I was all ears.) She said, "Do you notice how many of the speakers this weekend are saying, "Now, I'm just being transparent when I tell you..." or "I'm just keepin' it real..." I nodded yes. In fact, I mentioned that I was one of those speakers. I think I probably said a few times in both my keynote message and my workshop that I was just "keepin' it real."

After I affirmed that yes, I had noticed that -- she said, "Do you know why they have to do that? They do it...and you do it, because so many people don't keep it real. So many in leadership aren't transparent, Deanna. That's why all these people speaking here feel an urge to declare their transparency.." I let her know that usually when I say, "I'm just keeping …

Why You Should Never Hijack a Comment Thread
Social media etiquette 101

One surefire way to kill your influence in social media and wear out your welcome fast is to become involved in derailing somebody’s comment thread with your own agenda. Networking and hijacking aren’t the same thing. It’s surprising how many people don’t understand that this is a guarantee for tearing down a platform as quickly as you build it.

Passion is good, even necessary. I appreciate people's zeal for their personal core values. What is not appreciated is the attempt at a redirection of a comment thread when the comment has little or nothing to do with an original post or is twisted at best.

Social media provides ample opportunity for all of us to share what’s important to us on our own platform. Eliciting others’ responses and developing connections largely depends on our ability to communicate and compel. Some people are open to receiving private communication from others although they aren’t always able to answer personally or at length. But hijacking a comment thread no…