Can Christian Leaders Learn Anything From Bazball?
Even those who don’t love cricket might have realised that we have a new coach and captain of the English and Welsh cricket team and after a dismal run of results - one win in 17 test matches - we have just beaten New Zealand, the world test champions, 3-0. This with three amazing run chases, a host of records broken, new talent unearthed and veteran performers reinvigorated. And then we repeated an even bigger record run chase against India - currently at number two in the world.
What if we did a bit of exegesis of the back pages of the papers and see what we might learn or reflect on from this team transformation for us in our current ministry situations? I will reflect on two ideas today and four tomorrow.
Unity in leadership
The first thing that comes to mind is the power in united leadership. Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes are singing on the same hymn sheet when it comes to the approach they want to take with the test team. Even with the paraphernalia of countless coaches and support staff that international teams now have, just the two of them (perhaps we should also credit Rob Key for choosing them and supporting them from behind the scenes) have managed to instigate huge overnight change.
If you think of the first missionary journey recorded in Acts then Paul and Barnabas achieved huge things through their unity and common purpose. Of course the church in Antioch together with the Holy Spirit (is there another similarity with the English selection process here - working in mysterious ways often beyond human understanding?) chose them, but united in their task, they preached the gospel bravely where it wasn’t known and God’s mission was advanced.
Currently I only have one church warden but rather than bemoaning the lack of a second warden I should be grateful that we are on the same page in many ways - can we lead a clear culture change on our church vision as we are united in purpose?
A clear message
Secondly, with the new English cricket set up there is a clear message. It has even been given a name: Baz-ball. It is about a relentless positivity, a desire to lean into difficulties rather taking the conservative route. In Christian circles we talk about making the main thing the main thing. A Japaneses proverb says: ‘Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare’.
My church had a vision even before I arrived of ‘making more disciples and deeper disciples’ - I wonder where that came from?! But it is so easy for that to fall to the margins of church life - the flying ants in the church hall need seeing too, the parish share needs discussing yet again and the Victoria church clock has stopped working and thousands of pounds are needed to repair it. I’m challenged to put Jesus’ great comission first and evaluate all that we do in light of that. Will we at the ends of our lives be able to echo Paul’s words in his discourse to the Ephesian elders? “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24
Check out our page tomorrow for the conclusion of this article!