Vincent Asamoah, YLI’s national coordinator in Ghana, started a basketball outreach in Kumasi in 2009. For almost two years, there were no kids in the program. No explosive growth. No crowds gathering around a charismatic leader. This was on purpose. Vincent patiently
dedicated those two years to improving his basketball court and training a small group of young adults to be coaches and “love evangelists” to the children. He knew that this small group of coaches was going to spend hours upon hours with the children and needed to be trained not just in this fun new sport called basketball, but also for disciplemaking.
Last fall, Vincent finally held his first basketball camp for children. Eight months later in the spring, Barry Sutlive and I, along with two Atlanta-based Fellowship of Christian Athletes staff, got our first opportunity to see the basketball ministry in action. I couldn’t wait o see how Vincent’s deep investment in the coaches was paying off.
We spent about half of our day at the court, and throughout the morning
four of Vincent’s coaches ran the basketball camp. Vincent walked
around to greet and encourage the kids, and he led short Bible studies
during game breaks. He wasn’t directly involved in coaching the kids
in basketball. In fact, I didn’t see him even touch a basketball while
we were there. He has given away this “up front” role to the coaches.
Watching them was like seeing “little Vincents.” As they ran drills,
they encouraged and laughed with the kids and showed them kindness and
love. The kids were hearing about Jesus through Vincent’s Bible
studies and seeing Jesus lived out through the loving actions of the
Over lunch, one of our American guests commented on how impressive
Vincent’s young adult coaches are and asked Vincent how he trained and
discipled them. Vincent mentioned just four things: “I invite them to
my house so we can eat together. Every month or so we hold an
all-night prayer meeting. Sometimes I take them down to the lake so we
can spend a day together. If they have a physical need I give what
little I have to help them.” This isn’t what we normally think of as
leadership development or discipleship methodology. Yet, does it not
sound like Jesus’ training of the twelve? Later that evening, the same
guest remarked that Vincent’s coaches would be the envy of any
international sports ministry and that the mark of YLI is clearly
visible on Vincent’s life and basketball ministry.
It isn’t important to Vincent that he be seen as the dynamic leader
around whom the ministry revolves. His heart is to elevate others and
to equip and empower younger leaders. Multiplication is a natural
byproduct of empowerment. Because Vincent dedicated two years to
training his coaches and lovingly pouring his life into them, each of
these coaches is ready to replicate the basketball ministry in other
areas of Kumasi.
Thanks for your support of YLI and our empowering of leaders like
Vincent so they can empower others. The Kingdom is growing in Ghana.