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What about your service as a sports chaplain will matter in one hundred years?

What about your service as a sports chaplain, character coach, or sports mentor will matter in ten years, in twenty, in one hundred years? What do you do, how do you impact lives, whose lives are affected strongly enough that your service of them will have long lasting benefits? Let’s think about this challenging set of questions.
What about your service as a sports chaplain will matter in ten years? What you taught and modeled for them about success in life can have this sort of effect. When people see your approach to work, how you engage with people, your study habits, and other life skills, they can be significantly influenced for a good period of time. What about your service as a sports chaplain will matter in twenty years? I would assert that what you taught and modeled for them about God honoring relationships have a strong effect for at least this long. As they observe your loving interaction with your spouse and children, they will be directly affected in a great way. What you…
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When is it Time to Withdraw?

When is it time to withdraw? How does one know when it’s the right time to resign his or her role in serving sportspeople? This is likely the most painful part of our tenure of service because of the tearing it does at the fabric of our hearts. When we serve relationally, the loss of relationship hurts, and we feel the loss very personally. A USA colleague of mine was recently released from his role with a prominent university and it was very painful to him. He is seeking his next station of service, and I am certain he will land on his feet, but neither his, my, your, nor my opportunities last forever.
Below are some thoughts about factors that may make it time to withdraw from your service as a sports chaplain, character coach, or sports mentor. ·When your opportunity evaporates. Whether due to coaching changes, management or administration decisions, or other factors, it’s pretty common that one’s opportunity to serve a team or club could simply evaporate. This has happened to me at …

Restore

Restore. According to the dictionary, to restore is: re·store – to bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate. To return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position. What is there about you that needs to be restored? What about you is broken and needs to be returned to a former condition, place, or position?
Across twenty-three years of serving in this role, I have been occasionally broken in various ways. I am often in need of restoration. Relationships get strained and need to be restored, more often than we would like. At sixty-one years of age, I need some occasional physical restoration. I find that my attitude is often a little sideways and needs restoration. How I think about particular issues, people, or groups often needs to be restored.
Regardless of the nature or the degree of your brokenness, find a way to be restored. There are certainly a number of ways to be restored, and I have listed some of the ways I have found to…

Refuel

Refuel. It’s likely that you are occasionally feeling that you are out of gas. You seem to be running on empty. Your normal passion and energy seems to be in short supply, but you press on anyway because people are counting on you. You need to refuel. How? What does that for us?
In twenty-three years of serving people in sport, I have had a few occasions like that. In most cases it was due to being overly busy, distracted with unproductive tasks, and losing touch with my “Why.” In his excellent book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek challenges leaders to operate from their “Why,” the central reason they do what they do. The people we lead, the people we serve, those with whom we serve certainly experience “What” we do. They also perceive “How” we do it, but how clearly do we communicate the “Why” that is central to the whole process? The “Why” provides passion, purpose, and long-term direction for our service. Sinek calls this the golden circle, as illustrated here.
What we do, serving the m…

Refresh

Refresh. During a recent FCA Camp for collegiate student-athletes, I was privileged to facilitate a group for the FCA Chaplains and FCA Campus Ministry Directors who brought the athletes to camp. Rather than have these adults lead the groups for the collegiate athletes, the camp director asked me to lead this group so as to refresh them. I was thrilled to have this privilege for the second consecutive year.
In one of our small group discussions, we chatted about how their souls are refreshed. We all have our souls worn down by busyness, urgency, disappointment, demands, and the more draining aspects of ministry in sport, but what refreshes your soul? Let’s consider what it is to be refreshed and how we may experience that regularly.
Dictionary definition: Refresh - verb (used with an object) • to provide new vigor and energy by rest, food, etc. (often used reflexively). • to stimulate (the memory). • to make fresh again; reinvigorate or cheer (a person, the mind, spirits, etc.). • to fresh…

Read.

Read. Please, pick up a book and read it. We, as a people group, are not the most literary people in Christendom. Most of us are big on “go and do” and not so big on “read and think.” I would like to challenge you to read more. It helps to have a plan, and I am pleased to share with you the sorts of books I read and why I read them. I find them to greatly enhance my service of Christ Jesus in sport, my life as a man, son, husband, father, and grandfather.


1. Read your Bible. (Duh.) “The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130 Your Bible will neither give understanding nor light unless you unfold its pages to read. I recommend a simple devotional reading plan, supplemented by more intensive study. I also recommend reading from various translations to keep things fresh and to gather insights from different translators. I particularly enjoy reading The Message translation devotionally.
2. Theology and Christian Living books. There is wisd…

Rest

Rest. For many of us it is a mysterious, confusing idea. For others it is as elusive as a unicorn. For others it is something we have trouble embracing as our compulsion to work drives us to work more hours, more days, and to leave vacation days unused. Rest. It’s important. It’s imperative. It’s a commandment of God.
A few years ago during an FCA Sports Chaplains conference, a speaker verbally punched me in the nose. He said that, morally speaking, to fail to Sabbath is equivalent to committing murder. Each is a violation of one of God’s ten commandments. Ouch. I was immediately deeply convicted. I had to confess and repent of my ridiculously consuming work schedule that had far too little margin for rest. While still sitting in the auditorium, I opened the calendar in my phone and blocked open every Sunday with a long green bar titled, “Sabbath.”
The commandment is stated rather simply, “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the…