What every pastor can learn from Kevin De Bruyne
Just in case you are not into football, Kevin De Bruyne is a prolific midfielder who belongs to Manchester City football club in the English premier league. His contributions to the team have been pivotal for their currently unbeaten streak of games this season (2017-18), as of January 9, 2018.
If one were to watch De Bruyne play, there are many parallels that can be drawn to pastoral ministry. A few things all clergy can learn from De Bruyne’s game:
- Be an enabler
De Bruyne, aged 25, enables other team members by ensuring the safe passage of the ball through or over the opponent’s defence lines. He feeds the other players with the ball so that they could shoot to the goal post. Currently, he is one of the players with the maximum number of assists in the Premier League this season.
Pastors are enablers who ensure that their flock not only reaches their life’s destination but also helps the community to help each other out in the same, through a life in Jesus Christ.
- Reach out with longshots
The Belgian midfielder is praised for his accurate long passes that stretch across the midfield. Sometimes he himself scores a goal, but most often it is fed to an unmarked player on the emptier part of the field, away from where the action is. The result is often a splendid goal that turns up as a surprise to the opponents.
A pastor is called to make those long shots to people in their flock who are away from where the action is. Many people stay outside the “happening,” active group of people. A pastor ensures that they are involved as the community reaches its destination of fulfilling its purpose – building the Kingdom of God on earth. This calls for far-sighted pastors who take initiative
- Be present
Kevin De Bruyne is almost omnipresent in the field. When he is needed, he is there. When he senses a need, he is there. He sees opportunities where others miss and creates chances for his team by his mindful presence.
A pastor is present in times of need. A pastor also senses the need and makes himself present in the life of his flock. S/He is mindful not only of the needs of her/his flock but also of the creative possibilities of each one among his flock.
- Be selfless
A recent report on this genius yet humble footballer shared that he is happy creating goal scoring opportunities for other players.
Pastors are selfless people. They seek to create opportunities for others rather than focus on one’s own chances. They put others first, just as Christ Jesus did.
- Be skillful
The player we are talking about started off as a No.10, as a fierce attacking footballer. He was recruited at the age 16 by professional football teams. After coming to the Premier League, he was loaned to a German Bundesliga team and later played for Wolfsburg where he was named the German Footballer of the year in 2015, with 16 goals and 27 assists. When there is a need for a shoot or a goal, he steps in with his incredible skill to score and pass.
Pastors are skilful as shepherds. Like David, the shepherd they possess the skill to save the sheep from the lion and the bear. S/he steps in to fulfill what is expected of him/her with impeccable ability, that is learnt, practised, trained and added to experience.
Having drawn parallels with Kevin De Bruyne, I find myself severely lacking as a pastor. But the good thing is that I know the areas I need to work on. Come to think of it, these principles can be applied to any leader and the team/community s/he leads!
When you think of leadership, remember De Bruyne.