Pioneer Ministry Blog: The common threads between managing England and pioneering

Published: Tuesday December 13, 2022

A foot about to kick a football on the pitch with blue sky and the sun shining downWell, England have just lost at the quarter final stage of the 2022 World Cup, and it hasn’t taken to long for people to start asking the question about Gareth Southgate and whether he will stay in the post. One reporter even asked him the question within minutes of the final whistle! Can this actually be appropriate, right or fair? And yet, some of the underpinning factors behind the questions also relate to those embarking upon pioneering:

  • What has been achieved?
  • Has enough been achieved in the time given?
  • Has there been success?
  • Have things lived up to expectations and hope?

Many of these questions for the England manager, similarly to the pioneer, are generally asked by people who have never embraced the position they are asking questions about? But yet people still feel it is ok, appropriate and right to ask the questions. Maybe they would change if some deeper understanding was applied to what was taking place.

People: A key element when engaging in pioneering as well as managing England. How well do those asking the questions know, relate too, understand the people who the pioneer or the manager are working with? Is it really ok to pose the questions without an understanding of the people?

Context: Again the pioneer and the England manager both live-out the context that they are in, in a way that those asking questions do not live-out. The context of the lives of the people being worked with, along with the context in which lives are lived out, both of which impact the happenings.

Skillset: People are appointed, so believe that they are in position with the support and backing of the right key people. But if expectations and hopes are brought into the mix by those who have not lived out either of these positions it leads to a breakdown.

So what needs to change?

Adjusting the pressures that are placed upon people would be a start. If people are appointed and believed in, then trust and backing should be key.

Having the right people asking the right questions would be an additional help. If those overseeing English managers, or pioneers, haven’t lived out what is being tried to work out, then the understanding isn’t quite there, which leads to the wrong questions and even the wrong expectations in place.

Other things could/should be put in place, and people can leave their comments on other adjustments. For now, Gareth Southgate lives with the questions, the doubters, and the pressures and expectations of many. Will he stay, nobody knows.

As for pioneers, maybe, at this advent time, we can take some hope from the fact that God didn’t do things in the way people might have expected, he didn’t cave under the pressures, and continued to model something different and of hope to the people around. We may well still face the pressures, expectations, comments of achievement, success or credibility even, but maybe we can ask the question whether those making the comments really know what it is they are saying or commenting on. Pioneering is not straight forward, not easy, not even linear, even if there is an expectation from some that it should be. But maybe like Gareth Southgate, who has helped England get to quarter, semi, and finals, that in previous tournaments they had not reached, Pioneers also recognise the difference that is being made in lives around them, the hope that is being brought, and the love of God that is being tangibly felt, that before them, living their call in their context, had not been felt by the people there.

Picture of Andy WilsonAndy Wilson
Lead Evangelist
Gloucester Centre of Mission

Leave a Reply

Most popular articles today: