Thursday, November 29, 2007

Notes on Coaching Staff Transitions

At this time of year in college football, there are dozens of changes among head coaching positions, multiplied by their staff’s transitions. This displaces hundreds of coaches and their families each year. We can serve them by understanding the situation and positioning ourselves for effective ministry.

Related to the outgoing staff:
· If the staff was fired, understand that this feels like failure and a lot like death to them.
· Help the coaches to see this situation within the sovereignty of God. The Lord is not surprised by this.
· Understand that the transition is probably harder on the coach’s family than on the coach.
· Be available to them. They may not want much company, but if they welcome your presence, be there.
· Be prepared for the termination of some relationships. Some relationships will live beyond their tenure with your team, but others will cut off all ties to this place and you could be cut off as well.
· Communicate respect and thankfulness for their time with your team as well as hope for their future.
· Assure them of your prayers and availability to serve.
· Written communication is very good and can be an enduring encouragement to them. Send a card, an email and/or periodic text messages to stay in touch with them.

Related to the incoming staff:
· Pray for favor with the athletic administration and the new head coach.
· When a new head coach is announced, send a letter of congratulations immediately (keep it to one page).
· When the coach is settled into the office, get an appointment to welcome him/her and to offer your assistance.
· Bring a gift (a book) that is reflective of your desired relationship with the coaching staff and team.
· A wise attitude is reflected in offering to do, “as much or as little as the head coach believes appropriate.”
· When discussing a role with the team one can reference his/her role with past coaching staffs, but don’t lock into those methods or activities exclusively.
· Let the coach paint the parameters for your role and work to build trust and credibility from there.
· It is always wise to offer to serve with no strings attached. Guard your attitude from presumption.
· Come prepared to discern the coach’s perception of his/her, the staff and the team’s needs.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Here in the USA, we just completed our annual Thanksgiving Day celebration. This time of year always prompts me to think about everything for which I am thankful.

The list below is reflective of a few such matters related to my role as a Sport Mentor:
· A calling from God to work with coaches and competitors.
· A passionate love for both sport and Christ Jesus.
· A mentor, colleagues and friends who encourage me in my calling.
· God’s favor with people of influence in the world of sport.
· A world-wide network of sport chaplains and sport mentors from which to learn.
· The Holy Scriptures which inform our minds and hearts of God’s will concerning sports people.
· Relationships with Christian coaches and athletes.
· Relationships with coaches and athletes yet to become Christians.

Who and what are on your Thanksgiving list? Take some time to consider your list and express your thanks to the Lord and even to those who would be encouraged by your saying a simple, “Thank you.”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More proclamation ideas

Be ready to intervene in a crisis – In the course of any season of sport there are plenty of crises that develop. Many of them could be ideal opportunities for discussions of faith. My friend Charles Lynn says that, “When people’s need becomes greater, their resistance becomes lesser.” Simply put, when people encounter crisis, they’re much more ready to receive help from the Lord. Watch for injury or illness. Be aware of situations related to deaths in the families of coaches and players. Be close at hand when someone falls into a gross error or a character flaw becomes apparent to everyone. When their need becomes greater, their resistance will become lesser. Max Helton of World Span Ministries, a chaplain on the NASCAR (USA stock car racing) circuit, asks this question in moments of stress and crisis, “Is your faith working?” Such moments reveal a great deal about the strength of one’s faith.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Make room for a testimonial talk from someone whom the team would respect – If there is a player or a coach from your sport who is a believer and can deliver a credible talk, this can be a valuable tool. If the person cannot do both, you might be better off not having him/her do the talk.

Provide opportunities for believers to freely express their devotion to Christ – Part of good fellowship is when believers are able to share their lives in Christ with other people of faith. Here is a brief list of ways in which you can help that happen.
o Sharing with other believers on the team.
o Sharing with others in the community.
o Verbal expressions in groups, small or large.
o Written expression in the form of an essay.
o During a time of prayer.
o Through discussion of issues in the sport.
o A testimonial given aloud or on paper.

Friday, November 2, 2007

On line resources

This week I’d like to pass along some on-line resources for your perusal.

This is a link to the Serving the People of Sport Council of the International Sport Coalition. The SPS is a tremendous group with which I serve and with which I will meet next week in Thailand. Please take a look at this site, its training and resouces. Every time I’m with this rich network of sport ministry professionals, I learn and take away more than I contribute.

In 1990, Ambassadors In Sport (AIS) began in Bolton, England, founded by a group called Missionary Athletes International USA. From the beginning, the aim of AIS has been to partner with churches and Christian groups to develop grass roots football ministry.
The work goes on through football camps, clinics, prison ministry, school ministry, men's and women's teams, international tours and major sport event ministries.
AIS now has offices in the UK, USA, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Brazil & the Czech Republic. They also have satellite workers in Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Iceland, Haiti & Guatemala.