For the last several years I have been describing the primary tasks of sports chaplaincy as being to: Love Extravagantly and to Serve Selflessly. Those are rather broad and sweeping terms and may be too vague for some to gather and to translate into action. The following paragraphs are my attempt at providing example of each. I hope the examples inspire and possibly even provoke you to strong, extravagant, selfless love and service.
When a sports chaplain pursues redemptive relationships with coaches and competitors who are not yet Christians and may not value his or her presence, that is extravagant love.
When a character coach relentlessly attends practices, training sessions, team meetings, and any other team function in the most inconvenient hours of the day, that is extravagant love.
When a sports mentor refuses to give up on the player he or she is mentoring, even when the competitor is more than ready to quit, to withdraw from sport, and even despairs of life itself, that is extravagant love.
When a sports chaplain actively seeks opportunities to take on the most menial tasks, to assist coaches and players with the most unpleasant chores, to find ways to be an ally to the support staff in their roles, that is selfless service.
When a character coach contemplates the genuine needs of his or her team and sees opportunities to take action, that is selfless service.
When a sport mentor is so well connected with those he or she mentors that serving them is a natural outgrowth of their love and respect and there is no thought of personal benefit, that is selfless service.
Extravagant love is, by nature, not safe, not convenient, not easy, not measured, not calculating, but is powerful, transformational, and of lasting effect.
Selfless service is, by nature, not self-centered, not normal, not common, not easy, not always fun, not always noticed or respected, but it is always appropriate, effective, and Christ-honoring.
Let’s be the ones who love extravagantly and serve selflessly. By doing so we will make a powerful impact upon the world of sport and all those who live in it.