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A book by former footballer Gavin Peacock - 'A Greater Glory'

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 A book by former footballer Gavin Peacock - 'A Greater Glory'
From Stamford Bridge, Chelsea to Calgary, Canada
John Watkins speaks to former footballer, Gavin Peacock, about his new book, A Greater Glory.

Does writing come easily or do you have to work at it?

I always loved writing at school. Now as a pastor, I deal in words all the time and I’m regularly crafting pastoral emails, sermons or talks of different sorts. But writing books is a harder task altogether.

Is there an overriding message you want to get across through A Greater Glory?

There is more to life than football, fame, and fortune. The key to happiness is found through faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Football is great, but Jesus is greater.

Who do you visualise would be the main readers of your book?

Probably sports fans – Christian and non-Christian. But it is a book for everyone, because it taps into the deeper things of this world and that makes it a human-interest story. A story of family, faith, fame and fortune, of winning, losing and starting again, of where we find our true identity and the hope of glory.

You write about fatherhood, is this something you consider a need for both those with faith and those with none?

Teaching on fatherhood is one of greatest needs of our day. Fatherlessness in the church and our culture has created a father hunger, which is a great tragedy with many knock-on effects. True fatherhood involves sacrifice – going the extra mile, doing the hard things, casting moral vision and so on. But sadly, today absent fathers are much more the norm. By absent I don’t simply mean physically absent, I mean influentially absent.

Football is a microcosm of our culture, and managers such as Tony Pulis have commented on the fact that many of the players coming into the game not only need coaching, but also need fathering.

In many ways this is a man’s book. Why do you consider men find it difficult to connect with the gospel message?

I think men have difficulty connecting with the church because the church has, in general, lost its manly backbone. So, non-Christian men often think church is soft. When I speak of manliness here, I mean Christ-like manhood. And when churches contain men of lion-like strength and courage and lamb-like sacrificial humility it will attract other men, and godly women and children will flourish too.

From a man’s perspective A Greater Glory shows that being a Christian man is not soft, but it does involve sacrifice, and that Christ-like humility is the way to true greatness. Jesus was the strongest man who ever lived.

In Chapter 7 you talk about courage but also aggression as a footballer, do they always have to be at odds with each other?

There are rules to the game of football, and you must play hard within the rules with the aim of doing your best and winning the match. It means having courage which fuels appropriate aggression within those rules.

How have your former skills as a footballer and pundit helped you in your ministry?

God calls and makes a pastor, but He can use other periods of our lives to hone skills that are needed in ministry. Leadership, teamwork, discipline, sacrifice, good communication, passion for a greater good are all things I learned in my former vocations.

In A Greater Glory I also point out that God gives all gifts and skills, and we are to enjoy them and use them for His glory. You don’t need to be a pastor to glorify God.

In Chapter 11 you talk about the importance of marriage and the family. What would you say to those with failed marriages and those who are single for whatever reason?

Marriage is a bedrock of society; the God-ordained context for children and the expansion of societies. The Christian home is also the training ground for the next generation. Finally, marriage is a picture of Christ with his bride, the church.

For those with failed marriages there is always hope with Jesus, hope of forgiveness and new beginnings. For singles, the Apostle Paul calls biblical singleness a noble state as one can show single-minded devotion to the Lord. Marriage isn’t pre-eminent, Christ and the church are pre-eminent.

What is your prayer for the book?

That God would use this book widely to encourage Christians to be bold in witness and persevere in faith. I also pray that it will draw others to consider the glory of God and to trust in Jesus for themselves.

 

Gavin is associate pastor at Calvary Grace Church of Calgary, and the Director of International Outreach for CBMW. He played football professionally for Chelsea, QPR and Newcastle Utd and was a pundit on BBC Match of the Day.

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