E63 - John Bostock, Ballers in God
E63 - John Bostock, Ballers in God

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John Bostock debuted for Crystal Palace at just 15 years old, still their youngest-ever first-team player. He signed for Spurs a year later but his career wasn't straightforward, spending years on loan and playing abroad. He came to faith as a teenager and, in 2015, founded Ballers in God, an organisation that aims to disciple professional football players and to make Jesus known in the world of football.

Danno caught up with John at Notts County's ground, Meadow Lane to talk to him about his career as a professional player, and his mission to share the good news of Jesus in the world of football through Ballers in God.

0:00 Intro
1:50 How do you connect your sport and faith?
3:30 How is normal for you to be a Christian and a pro football player?
5:14 How did you become a Christian?
8:49 How becoming a Christian quickly transformed John
11:24 Growing in church and learning to love the Bible
15:00 Moving to Spurs at 16, going on loan, and faith deepening through hardship
Being rebuilt and moving to Belgium
25:10 Christian mentors within football as a young player
27:10 How Ballers in God came to be
Managing time and the power of prayer
Coping with 6 months without a contract in the UK
37:23 Landing at Notts County and helping them back into the EFL
What's the future for Ballers in God?


Graham Daniels: But I've been really looking forward to this one. John Bostock. But is bossy because otherwise I'll get confused. So is bossy all the way through. Let me give you some context. Everyone in football will know bossy, but if you're not a footballer, you might not. He's 31 years old. Here's the big ticket issues. He's been married for 13 years, nearly 14 to Sia. They've got Joah, a boy. He's currently playing at Notts County in League two. And going along quite nicely indeed. And he runs an incredible organization called Ballers in God. We're going to dig into some of those things. Now I'm going to give you his CV before we get going. That will fill the podcast because he's been all over the place, play. He's played everywhere.

He has a nutshell, right? He was at Palace as a boy. He made his debut as a 15 year old in 2007. Youngest ever at the club, inundated with offers from all the top clubs in Europe and I mean the top was Barcelona, writing to him personally through Ronaldinho, for example, to come. Then Spurs came in for him.

It cost them a few million to get him off. He goes to Spurs as a boy, makes his debut for Spurs as a 16 year old. He's at Spurs for five years and lots of loans in that period, which we won't record. But then Europe, Belgium for three years, France free for two years, Turkey back to France, then back to the UK, 2018/19 back to Forest with Notts County.

Now I don't know if I should say that as we recall this today and then Donny Doncaster Rovers 2021 and then Notts County in the 22 season, that's our context. He came to faith as a 16 year old. I'm going to dig into that as well. Long introduction. Bosie Let me give you the first question to get us going for half an hour or so.

What does it mean for you to have your sport and your faith connected?

John Bostock: I would use a very simple word. I would just say normal. It's very normal to have my faith and sport connected. Growing up, I wasn't raised in a Christian home, but when I did come to faith, I saw them almost a separate for the Lord took me on a journey to show me that they're very much one. And I believe that as people, as children of God, we have a wonderful opportunity to do whatever we do over that's cleaning, cooking, talking, speaking and playing to advance one of two kingdoms. And I know that, as the word says in First Corinthians 10:31, whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God so that my career and my faith. They are united.

And for me, that's very normal. Now

Graham Daniels: And if I had to describe you to somebody who didn't know you, funnily enough, I'd have said he's brilliant at being normal. I really would. Now that ability to be normal. If you talk to any football managers, coaches in this country who know you know, your background, that's what they'll say.

Everybody knows he's a Christian, everybody knows he's a committed pro. Can you remember that? Too long ago was like best part of 16 years ago. Now, why was it normal? Was it normal from the beginning, from the moment you became a Christian, why do you say normal? Just unpack it for us.

John Bostock: I think I think when you read the New Testament, I just think that there's this amazing person that we introduced to and when he's involved and he's in the scene he now equips you to live a life that he sees as normal others might see as supernatural, but he sees it as normal. So to answer your question then I went from living a very common life, a worldly life, a normal life, normal life in South London, chasing my dreams, trying to stay out of trouble, which is easy for me just because football was my God and goal. I encountered this Jesus and I encountered the Holy Spirit, and I literally went from night to day. So much so I remember I was exposed to the adult game quite quickly. So I was around men very early. Even in my debut for Palace, I wasn't supposed to change with the first Team although all I did, Neil Warncok said ‘just change. But if they asked, you just say you changed that in that coffee room around the corner’ just because obviously the minors are going to be around them. But I'm traveling with these men, so they're talking about adult stuff, looking at adult imagery, all these things you think things you can imagine that we're going on on the changerooms I was part of that culture that day.

I had an encounter with Jesus. I went from, you know, talking about all that stuff to now talking about things of light. And so I didn't know any other way. I wasn’t raised in church to see a slow change or growth I just encountered Jesus and the Holy Spirit changed me from the inside out. And he's been changing me ever since.

Graham Daniels: Well, what happened? Tell us exactly what happened when you did encounter Jesus then.

John Bostock: Well, I never heard the Gospel prior to being interested about God. As you know, the gospel means good news, for those who don’t know. But I saw someone's life change, someone very close to me and my sister Tara. She's seven years older than me, and I grew up in what you'd call a kind of broken home.

My real dad left when I was two months old and I've never met him, but my older sisters, they remember him. So they had that longing for father and would look for that kind of daddy love in wrong places and one sister, I had two older sisters, Tara, she really was off the rails. She started to dabble in all sorts of nightlife, witchcraft and a lot of lot of things because she was looking for answers and all of a sudden she's she just became a new person.

And I said, I said, what's what's happened to you? She said, John, Jesus has changed my life. And my initial reaction was to laugh because I never heard anyone say anything like that. But I couldn’ laugh Danno because either she's lying, either it’s a placebo effect or she's telling the truth. And I was just like, yeah, because I always had big questions.

You see, I had a contract with Nike from 13. It was courted by the biggest clubs at 14, made my debut for my boyhood club at 15. I had teachers in my school asking for my autographs. So everything that you thought a kid my age would want, I had. But I still realized there has to be more. So I had big questions with no answers.

And when I heard my sister's life and saw it change, I was just amazed. And she said to me, If you would like John, come to church with me one week. And I went to my room thinking, There's no way I'm going to church wth my sister. It's just not part of the plan. But the next day, my stepdad, would always buy the newspaper and on the back page, Kaka, who was probably, you know, one of the pinup boys for Christian, you know, for Christianity.

in the world of football, he won the Ballon d'Or trophy, which is the biggest individual accolade you can win. And the headline was, I give the Glory to Jesus. I thought oh!. Yesterday Tara was talking about Jesus. Kaka, one of my heroes, is talking about Jesus today, maybe if I go to church, could you help me with Ballon d'Or?

That's what I thought. Yeah. So I went to church that Sunday and to cut a long story short, I responded to the gospel. I heard the gospel message, and I realized more than anything, I don't know much about this church or this Bible, but this Jesus character I need Him. And I said a very simple prayer. But in that moment, I really encountered love.

Like I never, experienced. And it felt very simple. And then after that, the next day, I went to try to go back to live my old lifestyle. And it was like, you know, when you put two magnets together, how they stick, when you turn them around, they repel. And that repel started to be very consistent.

And slowly but surely I started to pray and read the Bible. I remember when I used to pray. I could pray for, about 5 seconds? 10 seconds at most: God help me today, please help me not to sin. And that was it. Over time, it started to develop. So that's how my life changed. Initially at the age of 15 when I came to know Jesus.

Graham Daniels: So you've made your debut for Palace at 15, so you played in the first team. Mad! What was the first thing that you knew would change? You've described that day your sister. What was the most noticeable thing? If you can remember back in that first few weeks, you know, the magnets repelling. I mean, obviously you got to be careful about what you talk about. I understand that. But as you cast your mind back now, what was the what was the change inside and how did it impact your peers around you particularly?

John Bostock: I think immediately I noticed it's like my my heart softened. I grew up with a mindset of my name, my fame, my story, my glory, That was kind of my four pillars.

Although at that age I didn't label it like that. When I look back, it was all about my name, my fame, my story. It's all about me and my glory. And so that's why, playing football and doing well. I'd be so high, in failing I’d be so low, just because my whole focus was on my name. After responding to Jesus, my whole outlook slowly started to shift and my heart started to be soft towards people and it started to become hard towards sin.

What I mean by that is there were certain relationships I was involved in at the time, that were very normal for my age to be involved in, and I tried to go and be in those relationships and I just couldn't. It was like someone else is telling me, John, this is not for you, my son. At the time, I just thought it was my mind.

But looking back, I know how the Holy Spirit works. His voice is very quiet, but he's insistent, you know, in making us more and more like Jesus over a period of time. and I was quite vocal in my faith at the beginning, to be honest with you, Danno. I remember the boys were like “Yeah, but you only went church on Sunday now you’re telling us to be believers as well, where has this all come from?”

It's because a reality of eternity and love and what Jesus has done to me. I felt a love of Jesus. When you fall in love with someone, you want to tell everyone about it. And people heard about it from me.

Graham Daniels: Straight away.

John Bostock: Straight away. First, the first week and I look. I look at my life now and certain gifts God's given me in terms of evangelism and maybe some, you know, gifts deposited in me. And I can see early how those were immature, but there was definitely zeal there at the beginning. That Leadership phenomenon, or aspect of your character is obviously it's a God given gift is there from the beginning. And so you led from week one as a sort of appendix there.

Graham Daniels: Tell us a little bit about the church then. Did you did you go to that church for a couple of years? I would love to know what it was and what role the Bible because your Bible knowledge is good, you quote Bible verses frequently. You must have learned from very early on that God's Word is the food that you need. How did that pan out in the first few months?

John Bostock: So I gave my life. I responded to Jesus in Greenwich, South East London, the royal borough of Greenwich, in a church called Christian Life Fellowship. And that's been my home church for all my Christian life up until recently, because I've been able to be down south in England. But I had a wonderful spiritual father, and I'm very big on mentorship. And just for men in general when it comes to the life of a Christian, just because like intimacy, the word says you have many teachers but not many fathers in the modern. I've realized we live in a culture where we want to do life alone. That's not New Testament. And I'm so grateful Danno that I had a man of God over me.

He was able to tell me things that you want to hear and he look, I was raised in a broken home, so I had a father figure. But in terms of really raising me with the character Christ’s way, I didn't have that His names’s pastor Joseph Guedu Ghanaian man, and he passed, went on to glory three years ago and I miss him dearly.

But now when I answer questions and lead people, I hear from him and I'm like, wow Lord, thank you so much for giving me that kind of leader for servant-hearted leader. He might not be known so much down here, but he'll be known in glory for sure. And yet being part of his found his foundation courses, his teaching. And for years I realize that young men come to love the Word of God that I need to make a high premium in my life.

I'm in the early days, my youth Bible, you see a dusty in my Bible. So I remember it was on the side of my bed. We get dust in the follicle. I've got to read this, and I know that sometimes things are manual until they become automatic. And so it took time. I also my sister, who was one of the catalysts for me to know Jesus, she certainly challenges John this week, memorize this Bible verse, but memorize.

And she sent me challenges and it really helped me to make Bible memorization part of my weekly schedule. So these are things that really, really helped me early, and I love to listen to teaching the teachers I listen to now what I do then I would listen to now, but the Lord used to give me milk and I would listen to my podcasts and sermons all the way to school and they would feed me.

And I felt a difference. But when I listen to it, my faith would be understood. look, we know faith comes by hearing him in the words. So I was advice any believer, young or old, like feed yourself, don't just wait till Sunday's feed yourself, learn to feed yourself. It worked for me.

Graham Daniels: In that period at Spurs, five years. So it's a it's a substantial move for a boy and you make your debut for Spurs at 16. But that next five years is probably orthodox for most people. You know if you're, if you're a normal kid, get 16. If you're a normal kid at 18, you've done your scholarship or your reasonably exceptional, you get a couple of first team games and then there's a loan system, first loan, second loan, third loan. When you're the superstar kid where there's been a lot of antagonism about the Spurs move, palace spurs jostling it out and fighting about it. How did your face and we have it a lot of young we have a lot of parents of young athletes who are in performance pathways listening to this in that window, how did knowing Christ alleviate? Because he can't take it away. The pain of multiple clubs, multiple loans, probably thinking, what am I doing here? Give us a couple of minutes of a feel for a 15-year-old who's feeling a pain when they're not quite where they think they should be? For mums and dads. What are your tips looking back on that from a Christian perspective and what you learned?

John Bostock: Danno without my faith in Jesus and God holding me through those years at Spurs, I really doubt if I'd be a footballer now. It got to a point. So just to paint the picture, I moved to Spurs at 15 and it was the talk of the press at the time, sort of before social media. So more forums and stuff. showing my age a little bit now, some people will be like ‘what's forums?’ and so it was, it was a lot of pressure on me. The club, I supported since a kid, Palace had a season ticket there from five made my debut at 15. So that was my home. I went from being the blue eyed boy there to then receiving death threats when I left the club.

Now, although I didn't believe and it was the first really come to help come to pass to be rejected by your own people. We heard I remember there was a sign I left the club. I was only 15 and the next championship game, the palace play, that was a banner that went across 20 fans and said, Bostock, even Judas is more loyal than you are.

And this is only a kid. And I and I look at these things and read the forums and see it. But you know what Danno? Looking back, God really and helped me through the initial stages because my faith was high, I'm going to a big club, I'm going to go and play in the prem now and I'm going to take on the world with it.

I know God has taken me through a process got that's prepared me to go through what I call the pruning phase. And I believe from the moment we've become a Christian to the day that the Lord calls us home, or he returns we’re consistently being pruned. But these five years, they broke me, literally broke me. And so I look back on it, and the reason it broke me so much is because I had so much confidence in my sport that basically what I mean by that is I put all of my weight in performance and football and people's opinions of me and and being John Bostock, the wonderkid and fulfilling that title.

So I remember God had my heart age, so I was in the Bible study. I was I never went out club and never drank of alcohol. Women weren't in the in the radar. So I'm wondering what I'm putting in first and winning souls to go to the training and on the pitch. It's just not going well. And the more I try, the more I feel like I'm slip, the more I pray and fast.

It's like, what's going on here? And it's because God still had to prune me and break me. And I would have loved God to just promote me and me just to understood certain things. I should have known then. But you know, Bible verse, once we live it and through it, it's not a reality to you. So knowing verses like Proverbs 45 Trust in the Lord with your heart, you know, and understanding knowledge and all your ways to make a path straight, very easy to quote, very difficult to live out when you want to let go.

And you're like, Where was God in this season? And so I went alone several times. I remember coming off pictures and tears and I said, Go to the boot Room and just cried like, God, why isn't it working? Why is it so hard? I got to the point now, my contract expired. The Spurs are 21 years old and all this time I've got people around with my sister and my spiritual father.

But they think we understand the football scares. Like, you know, they didn't they didn't get it. But people think that because you're an athlete, you are privileged and we are, but you still face real problems anyway.

At the age of 21, the so-called Wonderkid, a contract expired. I have no interest. And I said that God, my confidence is this low that if you want to finish football, have to go into full time ministry.

Tell me now I'm done. I'm afraid so simply. And I was broken and dunno, I didn't hear the audible voice of God. I sent so clearly a response and I believe God said, Now you're ready. Do it for me, son. If you're not, then how would how would they hit? And I responded, What do you mean? Now? Ready?

Ready. What is time to break through? Why now? And then I sensed him answer. But it was my heart. It was. Now you're finally willing to let go of the one thing you would never willing to let go. You'll name your career and the word of God says whenever. If a man would seek to save his life, will lose it.

Or whoever loses life for my sake, you find it. What it means is if you hold on to things too tightly and they become your idol, you're going to lose yourself. If you're able to hold things loosely and hold God tightly, you'll find your life. You live in destiny. So that time, although from my what seemed like my career and my my flesh, it was awful for my spirit and my character.

It was wonderful.

My wife that was able to really get strong roots in Jesus and to anyone else listening to this going through hardship. Remember the original intention for your life is not just to be a success, although this hopefully will come. It's not just to be happy, although that can come God's greatest desire for all of us whoever’s watching this is to make you like Jesus.

And one of the ways He does that, unfortunately, is through trials and tribulations. So I learned that at a young age and that brokenness allowed me to be rebuilt in the way that God wanted me to stand.

Graham Daniels: So it's ten years ago that effectively ten years ago. So that's when you went to Belgium, play for two good clubs, very good clubs in Belgium. How did that unfold then? So naturally, we're hearing from you now that within a day of becoming a Christian, you're telling people it's clearly how you are wired by God to do five years thinking the breakthrough come 18, 19, and then come, I'll get in the first team up and it doesn't come and you're off to Belgium. Did you go?

Then you went with the assurance that you've just described. You gave it to the Lord and he said, No, no, people need to hear. You need to stay in this, John, I'm with you. I'm looking after you. How was how was Belgium initially? How did you adapt?

John Bostock: First things first. I died my hair blond because it's like a new start for me.

And although I had that revelation living out revelation sometimes is a process, so I knew in my mind I’m not playing for my agent, not even for my family. Not just not just for a club anymore, I'm going to try and play for God And I said that for years before. But actually, I being able to enjoy the process is we talk about this Danno every time

we've spoken, a wonderful quote from a wonderful man of God is God his most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, to break that down. What that means is God get’s the most glory. When we are enjoying Him and enjoying the things is called us to do now football became a chore for me and a burden because I made it something that was never supposed to be.

Sport is never a good foundation for you as a person, wonderful foundation for fitness, for career, but not for you as a human being. I learned the hard way. So when I went to Belgium, dyed my hair blond, new start and I tried my best not to look at people's opinions of me or fans or views, but just to go into a game and play the game like a kid again.

So it was like I was able to tune into that kid who fell in love with kicking the ball against the wall for hours after school.

And it was the first time I played over 11 games in the season and I flourished,

I signed for Antwerp under Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink and he was.

I like to call him my destiny helper because at the time he was just right for me. Let me just play. It was hard sometimes on me or you let me just play. And I fell in love with the game again because I was playing it for the right reasons. so yeah, it was like a fresh start for me.

Danno if I’m honest with you. Blond hair, let's go play and let's, let's build again the way God deisres it this time.

Graham Daniels: So in that period, I mean, he's a great manager to have his name. I mean he, he knew the hardships of football at the really Top End and so brilliant for him to look after you in that period, in that two or three years, Belgium, France, ballers. The idea of ballers for God emerged somewhere because around 2015 you get moving on that. Who did you did you know anybody who would met with you as a young Christian player from inside sport? Did you have company or companions like that to help you when you were in England in terms of actually in the country, yeah. Yeah. I'm thinking about now because we've talked about how your pastor brilliantly helped you, but you're navigating something, as you said earlier, that your however much people love you and bring God's word to bear in your life, there's something about being inside a business which you now do for thousands of people. Did you get access to any of that?

John Bostock: So in terms of above me at the beginning, no. But then I was able to win among some of my teammates to the Lord and they became real peers. And brothers in the faith. But I look back and actually in a really low time on loan to Swindon and Steve Miles.

Graham Daniels: Ah Milo, he came to meet with you? What a class act.

John Bostock: And I was really low at the time, really low.

And so he was and he's an amazing man of God who met me where I was. And because I was also, you know, just been honest, I was like an example to some of the Christians around me. I felt like I couldn't really open and be honest about some of my weaknesses and have him come understand the game, understand the infrastructure of what it's like to be a Christian in sport that really helped me.

And so, yeah, that was that was a real it was only one or two meetings, but he would follow up with me and ask me how I was. So that was a key time in my one of my lowest moments. And so, yeah, having help from that angle now helps me to think, okay, who's in need right now? Come in contact with this.

Because players go through, people go through things. that are not always seen.

Graham Daniels: Good. I was groping for that because I knew that it happened somewhere in your teens and that adds that little piece to the fact then that you've actually had some access to somebody inside the game who is a Christian and wants to care for you when you start to get stability, serious stability, enjoying your football again, it's not your idol. Well, it's a battle, isn't it? But Christ is king. Tell us about the original development of ballers. Before it was ever called Ballers. What was going on here?

John Bostock: Yeah, so I started the Bible study in 2008, 9, in in Tottenham. So I'm on the place where my sister lived together, which is amazing. And I would gather players from Spurs, from Arsenal from North London and some of the players from around and we would come together and would have Bible study fellowship, cell group.

And that was great. So that was like the early kind of taster of what's to come. I remember one night I woke up in the middle of night. I was like grieving my first grievance in my heart. And I sense that God wanted to start a movement through me, I didn't know what it was. I wrote some things down. Young people, sports, this, that culture, and nothing came from it for a few years.

Now fast forward to 2015. I always kind of encourage players along my journey, but this is one of the times when I needed encouragement again. So I'm in Belgium. The language barrier hurdle training on Sunday's hurdle not easy to get plugged into a local church, and this is long before COVID. So I no online, do you remember when church went actual and we were equipped to reach people around the globe.

My church wasn’t equpped like that, from England and I sense in my heart that I know I'm struggling. And if I'm struggling, I know this all plays out. They're struggling as well. You know, not able to be plugged in to fellowship. So I prayed about it and I sense in my heart that it's not just a meeting wasn't a movement just to me to just encourage other players.

We can come together, break bread, read the word and pray for love. It's love each other and be with the Lord in that kind of atmosphere. So I caught the first player was Benik Afobe, and I said, Benik, how are you? Okay. How's things? Yeah, yeah. No, no, no, no, no. Football. How are you? Benik? yeah. Family that's going through that.

I said bro I get it. I've been there. Would you want to come and jump on Skype once a month just so we can encourage each other? And he said, Yeah, I'd love that. So the first meeting of 2015, Danno, on Skype was I think three or four players and it was so sweet. The fellowship, the conversation. We cried, we laughed. And that was the understanding of we get what we're going through, we get the challenges, the support one another, and look, the word says.

when two or three gather in my name, I’m there. And whenever we gather in God's presence, he his presence promises to be amongst us. And so we practiced that for months and the meeting started to grow and grow and grow. And it was a different kind of angle, you know, because Christians in sport was kind of men who ran the race well before us or men who were not playing.

This was the angle of we're playing, we’re going through it and we’re in your changing room, let's gather, let’s huddle, like a team changing room almost. And players invited players, you invited teammates and word grew. And we realized that this has grown quite fast in some structure. So we met every week we change on to Zoom and then we divided into three language groups. So I was so blessed to meet Jeffrey Sarpong, an amazing man of God, Dutch player, Eyong Enoh, ex Cameroonian captain, the leader of the French group.

So now the three of us lead those language groups and hopefully more will come. So we went from having four players in the first meeting to now we have access to over all of the communities, hundreds of thousands. But in terms of players four hundred players that we have touch points with every week. So that's how it started.

And God’s signiture has been all over it from the beginning.

Graham Daniels: How do you find the time in the sense that you've got a day job and you love it? It's your football job. How do you manage that? You've got a family that's a big family.

John Bostock: Listen, I haven't got it right always Danno, I haven't, my wife and I have had conversations about my timekeeping priorities and I haven't got it right.

I believe this is something the Lord wanted me to birth. And that’s the thing God when he births things he doesn't birth it for you, he birth’s it for the body. And so if he births it, if he's of it, he'll give you the grace for it. Now, with that, you need to grow in skill in terms of leadership and structure and strategy.

And so I realized need more leaders. So we raised more leaders, put in more courses. You know, we really we were able to, you know, gave us some strategy and structure in place. And if I want to see the biggest timesaver of help is prayer. That's been our engine Danno, So every morning without fail, from 7 a.m. to 7:30, a leader will be leading prayer 365 days a year.

Been doing it for last four years now. And since we've really taken prayer to another level, we've seen more fruit. So yeah prayer is our engine

Graham Daniels: That's class so a player could come in to pray for half an hour every day, any day, all year long, and somebody will be there to facilitate that. 30 minutes from Ballers.

John Bostock: Yeah. Yeah, always, so we have that then we have the midweek meeting with the Sunday Bible study now we have regional hubs, once a month end of season retreats. But these things came with them off the body of a strategy became because we got some stuff from the beginning and we still get some stuff from now, but the Lord leads and corrects and keeps what He should keep and he deletes

what shouldn’t be there, so it's really amazing to see. I mean,

I was introduced to a guy called Mickey Mellows of the Christians in sport, one of the one of the guys there and when I first spoke to him he said, John, we've been praying for stuff like this for years. Guys like yourself, Danno guy’s like Linvoy, Primus, these guys, they you've been holding the flag for years, praying for a bit of what we've seen and we're holding the flag for we're going to see, to come.

So although we're living in a bit of answered prayer, there's more to come. So we just realized in this time we're going to say yes to the call until we hand over, which hopefully won’t be for a long time. Then we can hand over. But yeah, this is not just us.

Graham Daniels: We're building on shoulders of men of God. Like yourself

Well, we're all building on on shoulders, aren't we? And that's the amazing thing about our Lord Jesus, isn't it, that he gives us the privilege to have a little part in the game? It's his march. Isn't that? Let's go to to two more things. And I think as we start to land, let us go back into your career first and then we'll finish with Ballers as you see the future emerging then.

So playing ways back to Forest on loan, then Doncaster Rovers back in the UK and is signed for Doncaster. I see you've got a play for you have a very, very good season indeed. And you turn, turn down options. I'm curious about this because you're not a baby Christian anymore at this point. You're leading many, many people. You had six months effectively where you didn't have a club.

You were really stand out at Doncaster. Everyone's thinking you'll get the next step up there. You're still young and it doesn't come. That must it? To some extent, yeah. I kept in touch. He had a little bit then and I thought, God, that must be that's a knock back. Now you're flying cos you got through the conference last year, you've got a great club you a big club, ancient club and real prospects for the future.

How did you manage at the end of season after Doncaster just a year or so ago and six months where you're not getting a job, How do you cope with that?

John Bostock: I take you back just a little bit. I know I was in Toulouse when I left England originally. I made a promise to go and all I tried to make a deal with it and I said, God, in five years I want to be playing in one of the top five division in Europe.

That was my faith. I spoke that I believe that I trusted God for that. I'm in the fifth year I signed for Toulouse League A the Premier League in France. We did it. I'm flying and enjoying football. But then in our family, our son has a health situation and we now need to go back to England. It gets to the point now it’s not about football anymore.

I need to put my son first. Not one English club comes in. They don't even show any interest. Even on the free interested. I said to God I said God. I tried to be faithful. You have to give me a club in England now. I can't divide I can’t be away from my wife. We’re a team. I've been in this since the beginning.

That night my wife had a dream about sign for a team in Red there was a Red shirt in the dream and got God gave her a dream and the next day the window opens Charlton come in for me, the deal falls through for the red shirt which. Yeah six days after Aberdeen come in for me they couldn't finalize the the the deal between Tolouse another red shirt I said God are you having a laugh or what two days before the end of the transfer window Nottingham Forest come in I said Lord this has to be the one the manager called me and said John I want you to come in on loan said can I have a permanent place.

Yeah, it's got to be a loan. Fine, so I signed for Forest and so I believe I’ve now received a promise from God. But Danno, I didn't play that year, I couldn't get in the team. I was like, What is going on here? But away from football. My son is growing. He's in a good environment. Family structures, good. So then we realize we need to be in England long term.

I signed for Doncaster another red shirt have a good year there I get injured biggest injury in my career come back through that finish season really strong offered a deal I turned it down because they got relegated I want to stay at high level now. I had interest from good clubs in League One, but nothing concrete.

So I'm training by myself from training, you know, in the gym. I'm training in parks. Then I called Forest. Look, can I come and train with the under-18s? That just need to be in that environment go to train with the under-18s. And I know people are telling me, you know, God works all things together for the good of those, John, you're going to be fine.

And I, I think it but my belief is like where is this going to come from but in my heart I've always believed that the end of matter should be better than it's beginning. My beginning was big in football, but my faith says my end will be will be better. I want to be more glamorous, but in some of kingdom it will be sweet.

I'm not the end yet, but I was offered to come and train for Notts County and I think I can't go to non-league. with all due respect, I told Doncaster I'm not going to League two with them. So now I'm going even below League two to the conference. But my wife said, John, just go and train and see what it's like.

So I go and train and I'm blown away. The manager, within the first day I said, If this guy's not acting, he's the best I’ve worked with, It is incredible. The players, the way the the club sets up. This is amazing. And I took a leap of faith and signed here. So I went from starting the season with no plan for for four months to then end of it by scoring at Wembley.

Yeah. Helping the team although I missed a pen, at the end.

Graham Daniels: A panenka! Yeah. That is class

John Bostock: It’s an amazing turnaround in the year

Graham Daniels: 100 points! And Wembley!

John Bostock: When you, when you’ve been really low. Yeah. Those sweet moments are to savour for sure.

Graham Daniels: And that's where you are now and ticking along nicely in League two. still only 31 others will say that's old. But when you're old, 31 is nothing.

That's right though isn't it. Modern football particularly. Yeah. Look after yourself. That's right. Yeah. All right, so let's draw in then. It's been fun digging into some of these things with you. How do you see Ballers panning out? What's your dream? What would somebody be building on your shoulders if Jesus doesn't come back?

John Bostock: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I sense in my spirit and I've seen things will show me that this is Ballers and Good B.I.G.

So it's big. The vision he's given me is big. already we've seen that there's a huge following just from footballing fans in general who have faith. I have a sense in my heart possibly a club could come in one day of a Christian club. To start a Christian club to come one day. You've seen it.

Hashtag United. It's a YouTube team. They've come up that's down the line and academies and, and these kind of things, you really got the merchandise which is really nice, orphanages being able to take players finances and to sew into the kingdom is something I'm really passionate about but of all the thoughts Danno that are to come I’m reminded often that ministry is not a pulpit it’s people it’s people and whenever I'm my mind is to think strategy planning these are really important things that last P people is something like I can't we can't come away from so if I’m able to help one player grow in his faith grow in his career, miss some of the hurdles I've been

through, but also hold his hand through some of the hurdles I have been through, challenges I’ve faced, that's where I want to stay. I want to be so I want to raise disciples who make disciples continue to do that. By his grace. You've seen that we've seen many players come to the Lord over the last few years, but trying to keep the main thing, the main thing is not so easy at times, especially when you get requests for talks and preaching and building and collaborating.

But my goal is just to fulfil the great commission in and through the world of football, of the name of Jesus will be lifted high through the beautiful game. That will continually be my focus.

Graham Daniels: John Bostock, thank you very much indeed.

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