Japan is not a rugby nation.
In the 2011 World Cup, they lost 83-7 to New Zealand (if you don’t follow rugby, that’s an absolute thrashing). In the World Cup before that, they lost 91-3 to Australia (that’s even more of a thrashing).
Japan is about as likely to win at rugby as I am at rhythmic gymnastics (not very likely at all).
South Africa, on the other hand, is a rugby nation.
They have won the World Cup. Twice. They are consistently ranked in the top three teams in the world. They come into almost any match as the overwhelming favourite.
What does this have to do with church planting?
I have just seen Japan beat South Africa. And that changed everything.
They’re not a laughing stock any more.
They’re not an irrelevance.
They’re not a punch line to jokes about rhythmic gymnastics.
They have arrived and they are on the map.
All because of one big win.
Other teams won’t take them lightly any more.
One win can change everything.
The first disciples to arrive in Damascus (Acts 9) were on the run. Persecutors like Saul had them afraid for their life. They had left Jerusalem, and now he was following them to kill them.
Their church plant was probably small, and we don’t hear of many triumphs.
But then they have one big win.
A really big win.
A Japan v South Africa kind of win.
Saul gets saved.
The guy who was the bane of the church’s life has met with Jesus, repented, been commissioned and baptised. And then he went around the synagogues telling everyone all about Jesus.
Sometimes, all it takes for a struggling church plant to become a thriving, growing church plant is a little bit of momentum.
And sometimes all it takes to gain that momentum is one big win.