Soccer Success

Would you practice soccer at 5:30 a.m.?

Last week I promised you’d be hearing more about the Transformational Leadership Seminars conducted by Congo Leadership Coaching Network, CLCN). I think you’ll be pleased to read the praises contained in this preliminary report from Charles Buller (CLCN). The following excerpts focus on the success of the soccer clinics.


The soccer clinics were planned with regional youth leaders for more than one afternoon during the seminars. We had several goals for expanding these clinics:
• To reach more youth with the evangelistic message of salvation in Christ
• To present a vision and basic tools for discipleship for those already following Christ
• To broaden the sense of ownership and involvement in the vision for these events among the national youth leadership team
• To interest the leadership of the regional church in the youth and their formation as young leaders
• To deploy the multiple gifts of the coaching team in the soccer clinics.

Our goals were reached far beyond my expectations. These youth events became a significant part of our ministry and had a meaningful impact in many young lives. The leaders gathered for the adult seminars witnessed the importance of youth ministry.

Andre Kalenga (center, white shirt) exhorts youth at the end of soccer practice.

I could write volumes on how and why I believe the clinics were such noteworthy successes, however I’ll condense my thoughts on the subject in two basic observations or convictions.

1. Andre Kalenga became a burgeoning transformational leader. It was exciting to see him develop over the course of the two weeks that we were on the road. Major growth occurred in his life! His presence on the trip meant he also got to take in the adult seminars, which clearly impacted his own life.

Andre teaching at Kahemba

I think he was equally surprised to see how powerfully God used him to mobilize hundreds of youth. He knew he had to step up or it wasn’t going to happen. At first he was a bit hesitant, but quickly took on the leadership mantle. The youth respected and followed his leadership.

His style was authentic to who God made him to be and his gentle, but direct way of leading proved most effective. He modeled the principles of leadership that we seek to impart in the seminars.

In order to participate in this trip, Andre had to seek permission to be excused from two weeks of classes at UCKIN. This was a big price to pay.

I believe his leadership set the course for some new patterns in these sports clinics. He involved the coaching team all along the way and each of us shared in some aspect of the teaching and the exercises on the soccer field.

2. The reformatted clinics, spread out over four days, with the accompanying discipleship and evangelistic content were a powerful one-two punch. This magnified the impact of the gospel and the importance of the church in participants’ lives.

Youth met for workouts in the early morning (note the 5:30 a.m. practice photo above). Then gathered for a teaching at 4:30 p.m. followed by soccer-triangle drills from 5-6:00 p.m. At the end of the clinic a final match day was held. These final games gathered hundreds of spectators.

Reconciling Players after a fight

If a disagreement occurred between participants the coaching team could stop the games and reconcile the players. This added benefit due to the coaching team’s involvement turned the whole event into something of an evangelistic and discipleship experience.


If you’ve been following this blog you already knew that Robert Irundu sent his national vice president, Andre Kalenga to lead the soccer clinics this time. You may not have known that Hope4Congo supports Andre in his Theological studies at the Protestant University.

Praise & Prayer:
• Praise the Lord for how He provided this opportunity for Andre to grow in his leadership skills
• Praise the Lord for the effectiveness and willing participation of all the leadership team
• Praise the Lord that the regional churches saw the importance of youth ministry
• Praise the Lord for the evangelism and discipleship that took place at both the youth and adult seminars
• Pray that the Lord will continue to provide funding for the training of young leaders like Andre
• Pray for wisdom about continued soccer clinics alongside the leadership coaching seminars
• If it is God’s will to continue them, pray that He will bring forward leaders for the soccer clinics
• Pray for God’s direction regarding the potential for more leadership coaching seminars this spring

© 2017 Hope4Congo

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