Diocese of Liverpool logo

TW BLOG :: It’s more serious than that

The iconic Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly, said, “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that!”

The ‘Transforming Wigan’ project is often viewed as a bit of a game but I can assure you that it is much more serious than that!  This ‘game’ is actually a culture-shift movement for the transformation of Wigan through the Church.

Our transforming ‘game plan’ could seriously turn things round and revive the spiritual heart of the town and borough. It could. But will it? It depends on who plays and how we play in the second half and the rest of the season.  The ‘owner’ has everything we need and places all of his resources in our hands.  He even says that nothing is impossible with him. 

So, three and a half years in to the 7 year project, I have in my head this half-time talk.

“Well, not a bad first half Team Wigan.  We got ourselves together and renewed our vision with a new strategy to accomplish it. We worked hard with some key players and positioned others around them.  We brought in a radical change in our formation and encouraged some of our spectators to join the team.  And we’ve had a good go at it so far.  And we have scored several times with some great moves and some brave finishes. Yes, we’ve taken a few knocks and fumbled the ball at times but come on, lift up your heads, we can win the second half.

Let’s review the plan.  The aim is to get one in ten people in Wigan on the discipleship journey with Jesus.  ‘One in Ten.’  Write it on one hand.  The strategy is simple to remember: Refresh and Fresh.  Write it on your other hand.  We are refreshing our current systems and bringing in some new ones.  This is going OK but we need much more effort in the second half.  So, just a bit of detail while you suck on your oranges.

The Refresh bit is aimed at you experienced players who have the history, tradition and knowhow to revise and renew our playing system to help accomplish the new vision.  Good news here. Some of you are stepping up to take the lead and encourage the others around you that some new methods will be needed as some of the old ones which worked well in the past are not working now.

The Fresh bit is aimed at the 99% of people yet to join in the game.  These are the spectators in the stand and people outside the ground who don’t even know that this life game is actually happening.  Good news here too.  Some of you have got a renewed vison for this and you have got a few others joining in to step out with a new game plan.  I think we can score heavily here in the second half.

And look, whilst we keep our eyes on the game and winning the people, you know that the management are working on the structures.  This is a crucial part of the overall game plan but most of you just don’t need to get side-tracked by it.  The good news here is that we have the right people working on all that. There will be a lot of off-the-pitch noise this season and it will take a while to consult properly and come up with the new structure to support the turn around and get us winning again. But you concentrate on the things written on your hands and go and win the second half.  It’s more than possible.  More than you can imagine.

OK, form the huddle.  Let’s pray.  Seriously, remember whose game this really is.” 

The TW Blog

small photo of Tim MontgomeryNo. 2 September 2018
In this series of blogs, Tim Montgomery will address some of the challenges we face in our efforts to renew disciples, reorientate the church and revive the community.

Tim welcomes your comments, questions and responses to his blogs. You can email him directly on tim.montgomery@liverpool.anglican.org.