The Untaming

Learning to build missional community in secular France

What Sunday morning football taught me about Missional Communities


About six months ago, a friend of mine wanted to get the local men together for a light-hearted football (soccer) game on Sunday mornings. I turned up for the first time last week (!) and found he had gathered a regular core of around 12-16 men who would turn up each week, out of a larger pool of players who would try to come when their schedule permitted. I realised that there were several lessons to take away for our Missional Community.

missional community lessons from football

How did he build this momentum? For the first few months, he really struggled to get enough players for even a five-a-side.   But he had a very simple approach that worked:

  • a clear invitation – you know what to expect (a friendly kick-around), the benefits (fun, fitness, friendship), the commitment (an hour early on Sunday morning)
  • consistency – the time slot was regular and consistent.  You could plan on it happening
  • repeated approach – I received his weekly email about 30 times before finally summoning up the energy to go!
  • personal enthusiasm – he kept encouraging me to come and saying how much fun it was
  • viral effect – he actively encouraged players to spread the word to their friends

It made me think:  as a Missional Community, do we have a clear invitation as to what we do and why we do it, a predictable consistent rhythm, repeated approaches to invited our friends along, an enthusiasm in explaining what we do, and the courage to ask our friends to think about who they know that would find us of interest?  The “Sunday morning football” model has stuck itself in my mind as a simple way to remember how to grow something. Hope it helps you too!


2 thoughts on “What Sunday morning football taught me about Missional Communities

  1. That’s helpful as I think through my work with two micro-churches here in Florida… Clear invitation (we’ve been kind of vague – settled on this: we’re here to serve our city and bless our neighborhood.) Consistency – after some randomness, we’re settling into a predictable, simple pattern. Repeated approach – I think I’ve dropped the ball here. I give up too easy. Personal enthusiasm – gets fueled by “wins”. The little success stories help – on the other hand, without clarity, enthusiasm dampens. Viral effect… we’ve got that going on and I guess it will multiply as numbers of voices grow. Thanks!

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