Team dynamics – putting the ball in the bucket
From the blog of Jenn Brady
So here’s my teachable moment for the day: The campers were playing a game called Pipeline in which teams use plastic tubes to move a golf ball 40 yards or so across a field. The teams are fairly small, so after the ball passes through his tube each person must run forward and join the line again to ensure the ball keeps moving toward the goal.
If the ball moves too quickly or if someone is slow running to take a new position in the line, the ball will fall and the team must go back to the start. At the end of the line, the ball must be funnelled into a bucket in order to 'win'. Here’s the problem . . . everyone wanted to be the one to put the ball in the bucket. Time and time again, I saw teams work together seamlessly up until the very end. Then they would blow it with an inaccurate shot into the bucket because everyone was elbowing to be 'the one to finish it'!
For me, this is a great parallel for the way the presentation of the gospel works at Camp Langano. Coaches, interns, Ethiopian camp staff, Sports Friends International staff, members of visiting short-term teams . . . each one is there to pour into the lives of the kids in a different way. Each one is playing a part in demonstrating the love of Jesus. However, the direct presentation of the salvation message is a role reserved for the Ethiopian staff and coaches.
Those who speak the language and know the kids personally are best equipped to share the gospel message in a culturally relevant way and follow up in discipleship. It is indeed an amazing privilege to be the one to lead a child in the salvation prayer, but we can’t overlook any of the influences along the way that helped bring him to that point of decision . . . eating a meal together, cheering at a soccer game, holding a dirty hand, smiling, loving through actions.
Without any one of these 'tubes', the ball falls and doesn’t reach the destination . . . or at the very least the route gets longer. Just imagine the lives that can be impacted for the Kingdom when we understand our roles and work together rather than push to be the one to 'drop the ball in the bucket'.
Camp Langano in Ethiopia provides children with the opportunity to have fun in a safe environment, to learn about the love of Jesus, to understand how to work as a team and for many it is the opportunity to find Jesus.
Albert was a small shy 13-year old boy who some time ago had been snatched from his home village in Ethiopia to work in a cotton weaving factory. Many boys from his home region know how to work the weaving machines and are taken to the capital city as forced labour. His boss was harsh and gave him little food, so Albert ran away and lived on the streets of Addis Ababa.
A Sports Friend leader found him, ministered to him, and brought him to camp. His experience at the camp had a deep impact on Albert. Afterwards he wept, 'What I experienced at that place I have never had. If they love me like this, how much more does God love me?'
During the summer, 146 of the 248 Ethiopian youth attending camp made first time professions to follow Jesus. Each of these new believers is being discipled by their sports ministry leader who came to camp with them.
Sports Friends has plans to expand Camp Langano to accommodate 150 youth per session and to offer camping opportunities on a year round basis. Camp Langano will be the first residential, Christian youth camp in Ethiopia, a country of over 75 million people.