Friday, July 11, 2014

From whom do you best learn? - Your replies...

A couple of weeks ago I asked you the following questions - From whom do you best learn? How do you best develop intellectually? What media best communicate with you? What environments best enhance your personal development?

Some of our colleagues have replied and their thoughts are below. I hope their experiences and comments inform your intellectual development process and I hope that process continues throughout your lifetime.

From Gerard Deonarine in Trinidad and Tobago -
Response: I learn best from persons with whom I share a coach / (I prefer to use this word rather than mentor) protégé relationship. My intellectual development is stimulated by reading industry related books and magazines and by participating in specific webinars. Most print and some electronic media communicate with me. LinkedIn is the only social media that resonates with me. Small groups where honest and open dialogue is fostered, enhances my personal development.

Gerard Deonarine - Chief Operating Officer - Sports Chaplaincy Caribbean

From Stuart Weir in England -
My top three would be:
1. Books
2. Websites
3. Colleagues
My Number 1 may reflect my generation.  A real book not a kindle or ebook!!

J Stuart Weir - Executive Director  - Verite Sport

From Sylvia Tam in Hong Kong -
Church services
Small groups
Educational institutions
MS TAM 譚姑娘

From P. Peter Jung in Hong Kong -
I had a big season from Pocast to learn and got inspired to live for God...
then slowly I went to a season of reading books and got inspired then movies and small groups...
So I don’t have one particular way to learn, but it’s definitely seasonal...
P. Peter Jung
Ptr ICA Generations

From Father Brian Cavanaugh in Ohio, USA -
Here's my list in order:
Audio tapes (for us old-timers who still listen to cassettes)
Periodicals (magazines / journals)
Movies (cinema)

Church services

Fr. Brian, TOR

Now my own thoughts –
·        I read books and gather a great deal of inspiration, challenge, and intellectual stimulation from them. I prefer paper books to ebooks, but do read a good deal in my nook.
·        I find that I learn best in small group environments and therefore engage in as many as I can.
·        I am greatly indebted to a number of mentors in my life. Occasional face to face meetings and regular correspondence via email and text messages catalyze growth in my life.
·        I love conferences because of the intense nature of the learning environment and the networking that takes place between the formal sessions.

Friday, June 27, 2014

From whom do you best learn?

From whom do you best learn? How do you best develop intellectually? What media best communicate with you? What environments best enhance your personal development? Please consider the list I have compiled below and drop me a note with some thoughts about which of these work best for you. I’ll share the responses I receive in the near future. Thanks.

·        Books
·        Websites
·        Blogs
·        Television
·        Radio
·        Movies (cinema)
·        Podcasts
·        Periodicals (magazines / journals)
·        Church services
·        Small groups
·        Mentors
·        Lectures
·        Seminars
·        Educational institutions
·        Colleagues
·        Conferences
·        Others… (please describe)

Please reply with your thoughts about any or all of these. Please try new methods on occasion. Please lean into the proven methods. Let’s each commit to the continual development of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What moves your soul?

What moves your soul? What touches you deeply enough to make an impact that lasts for a while? What are the situations, stimuli, environments, people, and activities that restore your heart’s passion? Let’s consider a list of items that move people, some may be on your list. We’ll then consider what to do with your list.

·        Music (What genre of music moves your heart?)
·        Sports camps (I’ll be leading the fifth FCA camp of June this next week.)
·        The outdoors (Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, boating, etc…)
·        Participating in sport (Football, rugby, golf, tennis, running, swimming, etc…)
·        Being in sports environments (A ballpark, a stadium, a practice facility, a gym, a pool, a rugby pitch, a cricket ground…)
·        Literature (Books, periodicals, blogs, etc…)
·        Sleep (Afternoon naps, long nights of deep sleep, power naps in the office…)
·        Conversation with friends, colleagues, or mentors.
·        Groups of people (church groups, teams, youth groups, etc…)
·        Solitude (Your favorite place for time alone.)
·        Travel (To places that restore your soul.)
·        Crowds (The energy from big crowds excite some people.)
·        Something else…

What is on your list? Look it over closely and then make it a priority to invest time in the items on your list. Our work of serving people in sport is often stressful and overly busy. We often find our schedules squeezed tightly by many important and urgent activities. We super-committed servants are occasionally on the edge of burnout and frustration leaving our spouses and children with the leftovers of our energy and emotional investments. We must do the things that restore our souls and help us to be at our best, for everyone we love and serve. Set aside the time, engage in this soul restoring stuff, and lean into it wholeheartedly.

One whose soul is restored will find greater energy, more creativity, more empathy for others, and a more relaxed attitude toward everything he encounters. Please feel free to share the items on your list with me. I’d love to hear about all those things and people that restore your soul to its most transformational state. Thanks.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, Application

I’d like to, once again, share one of the more valuable lessons I learned from my mentor, Fred Bishop of No Greater Love Ministries ( This one relates to the creative process I use in most every part of my service with the people of sport. Whether writing, creating a ministry event, preparing for a talk, or long range planning, I use this model to shape my thought.

Preparation –
          Most of the time this involves lots of reading, observation, research, and investigation. Prepare by asking questions and learning all you can about a subject. One of the best ways to improve one’s writing is to read good authors. To improve one’s speaking skills, listen to effective communicators. To improve one’s design abilities, observe skillful designers. To improve one’s musicianship, listen to great musicians. You get the idea. Prepare by watching, listening, reading, and observing with all your senses.

          As you prepare and as the process continues, incubation takes place. This is meditation, rumination, contemplation, doodling thoughts, sketching, day dreaming, lying awake at night, and other methods for developing thoughts into actions. One must allow this process to take place. Don’t rush it. To proceed without fully incubating a thought or project usually results in terrible failure. This part of the process may take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, weeks, or years. It depends upon your project. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago was incubated across the years of his imprisonment, entirely in his head. Most of us can’t do it that way, but we do incubate, stew on, and contemplate thought until it’s ready to pop.

          This is the “Aha!” moment. This is the clicking on of the light bulb above your head. This is the moment that it all becomes clear. Your preparation and incubation of an idea has led to the moment of illumination. You suddenly see the idea clearly and know exactly what to do. One should never proceed to the next step in the process until this occurs. Lots of ideas go out into the world “half baked” simply because the incubation process was abbreviated and illumination never occurred. For us who serve Christ Jesus, the exciting thing is that it’s the Lord’s Spirit who illuminates our minds and reveals wisdom and insight for us to apply.

          Finally, the process of preparation, incubation and illumination is ready to find concrete form by applying the illuminated thought to action. We are now set to turn our ideas into text, into music, into an agenda, into a game plan, into a sculpture, into a plan of action, or any other expression of creativity. This is what others consume, read, hear, observe, or the events in which they participate. It may seem simple to the consumer, but it has been born of a simple but wise creative process.

Please join me, one not naturally creative, irretrievably left brain thinking, but teachable, in working this process to serve the men and women of sport. Let’s take the pains to prepare well. Let’s take the time to incubate thought. Let’s take the risk to patiently await illumination. Let’s make wise application and thereby create the resources, plans, strategies, art, and processes that lead to Christ-honoring ministry.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Relationship Focus

Today I would like to share another of the principles I learned from my mentor, Fred Bishop of No Greater Love Ministries, in the USA.

Relationship focus – The Sport Chaplain or Sport Mentor, like everyone else, has a limited number of hours in which to accomplish his/her tasks.  The Chaplain or Mentor may field any number of calls, emails or text messages, each one seeming as important and as urgent as the next.  How should one sort out which are most important and which deserve to be handled most urgently?  I believe we can learn some wisdom from a model evident in the ministry of the Lord Jesus.  It is diagrammed on the following page in a set of concentric circles with Christ at the center. 
1.   In Mark chapter 6, there were 5,000 men, plus women and children fed by the Lord Jesus one day.  That was their level of commitment, to eat lunch.
2.   There were 3,000 people in Acts chapter 2 who committed their lives to Christ on the day of Pentecost.  A higher commitment level, but still just introductory.
3.   There were 120 people praying in an upper room prior to the events of that same day.  They had a higher commitment level yet.
4.   In Luke chapter 10 Christ sent 70 people out in sets of two to speak about the Kingdom of God.  They took greater risks, indicative of a still higher level of commitment.
5.   The 12 disciples left their family businesses and eventually gave their lives to follow Jesus.  Theirs was a very high commitment level.
6.   Within that group of 12 disciples there were 3 men, Peter, James and John, who were even more closely aligned with the Christ.  They were at the Mount of Transfiguration and followed Him further into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
7.   In the center of all these relationships was Christ Jesus Himself.


Critical Questions:
Who/where is my group of 5,000?  ___________________________________
Who/where is my group of 3,000?  ___________________________________
Who is in my group of 120?  _________________________________________

Who is in my group of 70?  __________________________________________

What are the names of my 12?  ___________________
Who are my 3? ____________   _____________   _______________

From the diagram and Christ’s model we can see that Jesus spent more of His time with those most highly committed to Him and to His purposes.  He spent proportionately less time with those whose commitment seemed proportionately lesser.

The Sport Chaplain or Sport Mentor certainly has a similar set of relationships which can be seen in concentric circles.  Some of those relationship circles will include coaches, competitors, their families, team support personnel, sport officials, even fans and others outside the arena of sport.  Given the limited time one has, it would be wise to determine who is in which circle and to prioritize one’s time accordingly.  This tool can be most helpful in the process of determining how much time to spend with which set of people.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

Men, Ministry, Movement, Murmuring, Administration, Multiplication

On 4 May of this year I emailed several of our colleagues around the world who were to join me in Hong Kong for some sport chaplaincy training and conversation about setting a global standard for training sport chaplains. The first paragraph of my email was as follows, “We stand on the threshold of a monumental shift in the sport chaplaincy movement around the world. We are some of the most privileged men on the planet as we get to shape the next years and probably decades of this movement. If that language seems a little grandiose, you probably just don’t understand the gravity of our work together in the Lord’s vineyard of global sport.”

I was aware that the statement could be perceived as very broad and maybe a little over the top, but I was convinced that it was true. As I was contemplating the results of our meetings in Hong Kong yesterday, I was reminded of a process I learned from my mentor, Fred Bishop, many years ago. As we worked together in No Greater Love Ministries, Fred would speak of the process seen in Acts chapters 1-6 which he calls “Men, Ministry, Movement, Murmuring, Administration, and Multiplication.” A simple explanation and application of this process follows.

Men – Acts 1:12-13
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying:
Peter, John,
James, Andrew,
Philip, Thomas,
Bartholomew, Matthew,
James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon the Zealot,
and Judas the son of James.

After Jesus’ resurrection, these men remained in Jerusalem and were gathered together.

Ministry – Acts 1:14-15
14 All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary[d] the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.
15 During these days Peter stood up among the brothers—the number of people who were together was about 120—

These men, and Mary, were continually united in prayer and continued in ministry in Jerusalem. Their number had grown to 120 and they were at the threshold of movement.

Movement – Acts 2:37-41
37 When they heard this, they came under deep conviction[m] and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?”
38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off,[n] as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt[o]generation!”
41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.

On the day of Pentecost, these 120 were praying in an upper room when the Holy Spirit fell upon them and radically transformed their ministry into a movement. The 120 became about 3,120 in one day. Their devotion to teaching, to fellowship, to sharing their resources, and to prayer were continuing evidences of the movement which was afoot.

Murmuring – Acts 6:1

In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews[a] against the Hebraic Jews[b] that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution.

The movement which began in Acts chapter 2 continues throughout chapters 3, 4, and 5 with remarkable power and even some bumps in the road, such as are common to movements. One of the unintended consequences of exponential growth is the potential for dissension, for conflict, and for murmuring. This occurred in the Acts movement at chapter 6 and verse 1 as the Greek speaking widows had feelings of alienation in the Church.

Administration – Acts 6:2-6

Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to handle financial matters.Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.” The proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte from Antioch. They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

The continuation of the movement was in jeopardy as the murmuring exposed a tear in the fabric of the Church. The wisdom given to the Twelve by the Holy Spirit is revealed by their decision to administrate a way to serve all those in the Church well. Rather than to neglect their primary callings, they chose seven men who were predisposed to serve the Hellenistic widows well. Their wise administration and their conferring the apostles’ authority upon them set the Church up to continue its movement. A pleasant surprise awaited them.

Multiplication – Acts 6:7

So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.

Because the apostles remained true to their calling, rather than serving tables, the preaching about God flourished. The result of their wise administration was that the number of disciples multiplied greatly. Back at chapter 2 and verses 41 and 47, it was said that the number of disciples were added to daily. At chapter 6 and verse 1 it says the number of disciples was being multiplied, but now their number is multiplying greatly. Exponential growth was enabled because of the wise administration of the apostles, as the Holy Spirit supplied His power to their lives.

In the early 1970s, I was a witness to and an active participant in the Jesus Movement in the United States. It was birthed along the west coast and made its way across the nation. Explo 72, a very large event in Dallas, Texas that summer was probably the signature moment in the movement and furthered its growth. As a 16 year old wrestler, I was enthralled by the energy, passion, and culture of the movement. Like many movement, it followed the Men, Ministry, Movement, and Murmuring segments of the process, but this movement seemed to stall prior to wise Administration.

There was much murmuring in the Church as most of the established churches were either not able or not willing to receive the tremendous number of young people whose lives were being transformed. Born again hippies with long hair, bell bottom jeans, and no sense of church culture were not well received on the whole. Some churched administrated wisely and welcomed these new believers, while other groups simply formed new churches which specialized and formed new cultures in the Lord’s Kingdom. Most notably in the USA were Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard.

We who live in the Sport Chaplaincy movement are quite similar to the movements in the book of Acts and the Jesus Movement in the USA. We have had Men in ministry for decades, mostly serving in an isolated manner with a few faithful colleagues. We have seen many of them gather for ministry and have witnessed remarkable results. In recent years, there has been a sense of movement to our work together around the world. Organizations like Sports Chaplaincy Australia, Sports Chaplaincy United Kingdom, Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand, Athletes in Action, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and others have experienced growth in this expression of ministry, most without even trying. This has the feel of a movement.

We have also experienced murmuring as at various times people see the movement from widely different perspectives. Some academics view the vast majority of sports chaplaincy practitioners as terribly unqualified. Many practitioners view the academics as irrelevant as they perceive them to not be actively engaged in the process. Some sports ministry leaders view sports chaplaincy to be of little import, while others want to control it. Movements generally resist control, but respond well to wise administration.

I believe that our work together in Hong Kong, our wide association with sport chaplaincy practitioners, sports ministry leaders, academics, and other experts puts our movement in the process of wise administration. We are doing the stuff of Acts chapter 6 at this very moment. If we are used of the Holy Spirit to wisely shape our movement with a global standard for training and development of sport chaplaincy, we should expect to see the Lord Jesus greatly multiply the number of disciples in sport around the world.

Please join me in praying for the development and wise administration of our service together. Let’s ride the wave of this movement as long as the Lord will carry us.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Heart of a Chaplain - Richard Gamble

During the days of 13 and 14 May, I was privileged and honored to be a part of some Sport Chaplaincy training that occurred in Hong Kong, China. I joined Ross Georgiou from Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand, Andrew Parker from the University of Gloucestershire, Cameron Butler from Sports Chaplaincy Australia, and Richard Gamble from Sports Chaplaincy United Kingdom as we led a couple of days and one evening of training for over sixty people. One part of that training was a presentation by Richard Gamble of Sports Chaplaincy United Kingdom titled, Heart of a Chaplain. My notes from Richard’s excellent and insightful presentation are below. I hope they are of value to you.

Sport Culture
  • ·        Performance is Everything.
  • ·        Sportspeople form their own morality.
  • ·        They see no consequences.
  • ·        They often are controlling and manipulative.

The Chaplain’s Place in Sport Culture
  • ·        The bottom of the ladder (no importance)
  • ·        In the world, not of it.
  • ·        Valuing people over performance

A Servant’s Heart
  • ·        Waiting
  • ·        Listening
  • ·        Not doing

A Pastor’s Heart
  • ·        Compassion with no agenda
  • ·        Communicating without moving your lips

  • ·        Consistent
  • ·        Continuous
  • ·        Relationship building

  • ·        We are “always a guest.”
  • ·        Never asking for anything.
  • ·        Never self-promoting.

  • ·        Trust is essential.
  • ·        Absolute silence is required.

  • ·        What is Jesus already doing in the club?
  • ·        He may be at work independently of my service.