But you don't have to look far to recognise that New Zealand sports teams are no easy beats in 'anything' …..
The All Blacks (Rugby) have never been a team to take a backward step. The Black Ferns (Netball) are in the same mould. The Tall Blacks (Basketball) are a competitive outfit on the international stage. The Black Sticks (Field Hockey) are always near the top on the international circuit – both men and women. The list goes on and on.
Look at New Zealand's 'track and field' super stars –
(Sir) Peter Snell
(Sir) John Walker.
There are in fact 55 New Zealanders who are Olympic Gold Medallists.
Take a glance at how many New Zealanders are playing in the NRL. The New Zealand captain is the Wests Tigers superstar Benji Marshall.
Benji Marshall recently stated publicly he was staying with Wests Tigers (presumably on a lower contract) to show loyalty to a management that looked after him when he was injured.
New Zealand sport demands admiration. But there is more. Perhaps the greatest of all New Zealand's sporting victories was the 1976 Montreal Olympic 'Field Hockey' Gold Medal.
A detailed account of this remarkable win and the secret behind this victory was published on 8 October 2009 in Christian Today Australia, a story on the life of the late Douglas White.
The long and the short of this remarkable story was that European hockey in the early 1970's developed a regimented style of play to counter the sub-continent's brilliant stick wizardry, taking the 1972 Munich Olympic Gold Medal (Germany) and the 1974 World Cup (Holland). Then out of nowhere New Zealand won the 1976 Montreal Olympic Gold.
Why? There had to be a story behind this? And there was. Douglas White philosophically devised a positioning system to counter this European new style of play. It's all in the above article, but in short it demanded brilliant hockey skills and a well planned strategy.
This is precisely how effective Christian ministry functions. Have you noticed that where there is a revival or people are being won for Christ, two separate but interrelated things are happening side by side.
First, there is spontaneity. Just as the New Zealand hockey players were required to exhibit such spontaneous hockey skills, so too Christians seek the Lord wisdom with the Holy Spirit, to be alert to when someone or groups are open to the Salvation message of Jesus. This is the unquantifiable aspect.
Second, there is the quantifiable. Douglas White's field hockey strategy was very carefully crafted. Evangelistic strategy too is imperative, which includes prayer, preparation, organisation, planning, marketing, advertising, getting the congregation involved, powerful evangelistic preaching.....