Mark Tronson has been reflecting leading up to London on Athlete Ministry and like most people, he appreciates a 'taste of excellence'; it gives him a sense of well-being, as if all the world should be this way.
Some products and services, such as well-engineered cars or luxury hotel services, give people this feeling in a pampered, worldly way. However, Mark Tronson experienced this sense of satisfaction in a more meaningful and spiritual sense when he became part of a program where the leading participants were exquisite performers in their professional arena.
Their aspiration to excellence gave him a sense that the world is how it should be.
"Two years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of witnessing two outstanding professionals who volunteered their time and expertise at the 'Lay Witnesses for Christ International' Christian Athlete of the Year award held in Dallas Texas.
"I've had time now to reflect on the issue of Excellence in ministry," Mark Tronson noted.
Lewis Braxton Johnson
Lewis Braxton Johnson who was the Master of Ceremonies, is synonymous in the USA with 'sports commentary' with the broadcast company NBC. His specialities include Notre Dame Football and Track and Field as well as the Summer and Winter Olympics. He has been generous with his time over the years, such as offering to be MC for many special Christian events such as 'Evenings with the Stars' around the world.
His notoriety as a commentator follows a successful sports career as a National representative, running in the 800 metre events on the USA and European circuits for seven years.
Lewis's all-encompassing involvement in athletics has manifest itself in many ways; personal and romantic as well as professional. He met his French wife, Dominique (now an artist) on the track in France; and he offered his life to Jesus Christ when he first came into contact with the Lay Witnesses for Christ ministry at a college sports chapel service.
"The manner in which Lewis Braxton Johnson, conducted himself as MC was a lesson to me, it illustrated that an MC can make or break a function. He read out the citations clearly and precisely and at no time did his presentation deteriorate to hype or exaggerated showmanship," M V Tronson explained. "Even when he invited people to take the mission funding envelopes, it was a matter-of-fact presentation for realistic needs of Lay Witnesses for Christ."
Another participant in the ceremony, Alfred Lee, is a master of the keyboard. Born in Malaysia in 1972, his musical brilliance took him to national celebrity status when he won a National Electronic Organ Competition at age eleven. For many years, Alfred has been travelling the world giving recitals, conducting seminars and Master performances.
Alfred Lee is, by training, a classical composer. In 1998 he won the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's first young composer competition, as well as being a finalist in a string of similar competitions within the USA. He was commissioned to write for the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra's inaugural concert and for the Commonwealth Games in 1998.
In 2003 the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London performed one of Alfred's orchestral works in concert with the Three Tenors at Royal Victoria Park, London. In 2005 he was commissioned to compose a work for two pianos for New York's Carnegie Hall, and in that year he also worked with various Ballet companies.
In 2007 he composed ten worship songs that he arranged, sang and recorded. He launched this CD entitled 'How Awesome' in Malaysia last year, as part of a program ministering to 2,000 people in four churches.
Yet with all such accomplishments, Alfred Lee considers his decision to follow Jesus Christ when 17 years of age as his utmost commitment. He gives Glory to God for his gifts and has himself been privileged to bring others to Christ. In 2001 his parents, originally from Buddhist and Taoist backgrounds, followed his lead; as did his music teacher and her family.
"Alfred Lee's music for this 'Awards evening' was astonishing and profound. He set the tone, and gave the entire evening a sense of occasion and privilege. I was swept away," Mark Tronson recalled. "I found his music both wildly heroic and filled with all-consuming calm."
Mark Tronson says that the more he witnesses in Australian worship situations, the more he is convinced that there is a distinction between 'excellence' and 'showmanship' and that the two things are very different.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at