Friday, June 26, 2009


Over the last few weeks I have walked through some of the darkest days of a friend’s career in sport. She had never failed at anything, but the last two seasons of her coaching career had been a constant nightmare.

My friend’s coaching staff had disintegrated, several key players had left the program and still others had been actively seeking her dismissal. All these factors led to great frustration and more than a little discouragement.

This coach battled through these factors and tried to right the ship, but its crash seemed inevitable. As we talked over coffee it was apparent that she was considering resigning her position. We talked over her options and I could see the pain on her face and I could hear it in her anguished voice. This felt like total failure and it was terribly hurtful.

A few days later, the severance package was negotiated and her resignation was announced. I grieved like someone had died. My friend took some time off to rest, recharge and to gain some focus for the future. I took some time to think about resignation.

Resignation looks to me like the exhaustion of physical, emotional and spiritual resources needed to accomplish a task or to fulfill a role of leadership. We resign from something when we’re completely spent and we’re bankrupt of the necessary capital for the daily grind.

This is a hard spot for those of us who play our hearts out. We refuse to quit or to give up, so resignation feels like total failure. It hurts us deeply and assaults our hearts. It’s almost like a moral failure to our souls and we feel shame at having lost the battle.

Here’s a word of encouragement from one who has resigned more than once in life, but has lived to tell the story. You can come back. You can do like my friend and wisely consider your options, form a plan of action, resign and then retool, refresh your heart and regain your focus for the future. There is no shame in resignation, only in cringing from the despair which barks at your heart’s door. Chase despair away with loving friends, wise counsel and then come back to play your heart out again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Volunteer Character Coaches / Sport Chaplains

Last weekend I was in Brunswick and Savannah, Georgia (USA) for some conversations and a training session with some of my Fellowship of Christian Athletes colleagues who are developing a new strategy for their areas. They are recruiting, training, equipping and mentoring a set of volunteer Character Coaches / Sport Chaplains for area schools, sport clubs and more.

Both David Gittings (Brunswick) and Ed Pulkinen (Savannah) have done a fine job of finding people to serve in this way and they have even found volunteers who can be the trainers and ongoing mentors to the others.

I spent a couple of hours with each of the trainers/mentors and then on Saturday, in Savannah, we did 6 hours of training in 3 hours. They were marvelously receptive and I believe with the long-term commitment and mentoring, they will do remarkably well in serving the coaches and athletes in their respective communities.

If you’d like to have more information about how this works and the processes we’re developing, please contact me or my teammates in Georgia. Thanks.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Battle with Cancer - update

Back on January 8 I wrote the first of three updates on my developing relationship with an area coach who is battling cancer. He has made it beyond one of their goal dates, the graduation of his daughter from high school, and continues to battle. He sent me an SMS message last night that he’s making his return to on the road, overnight recruiting this week. Another huge milestone.

Below is one of the latest emails I sent to him with scripture to read and a prayer to pray. Please consider this simple, direct, personal method as an effective way to touch a sportsperson’s heart.


You would have been proud of how Nathan E’s team handled their run to a state title over the last couple of weeks. He led with great poise and got the best out of his players. That’s no doubt a reflection of your coaching investment in him over his career at the university.

Psalm 139
1-6 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can't take it all in!

Prayer –
Merciful Father in Heaven,
My life is an open book to You.
You know everything about me, even what I’ll say before I say it.
I feel Your presence ahead of me, behind me and beside me.
I even feel Your kind and gentle presence inside me, in my heart.
I feel Your presence, but don’t really understand how.
Your gracious presence and powerful Spirit are more than I can comprehend.
I surrender! Live powerfully in me and do Your will.
I commit myself to Your care again today and trust You fully.
In Jesus’ kind and compassionate name,

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chaplains Roundtable 2009 Update

Charlotte October 7th…Indianapolis November 10th…Lansing December 1st

“Sports Ministry for Our Generation” that’s the theme for the 2009 Chaplains Roundtable Conferences in Charlotte, Indianapolis and Lansing. God continues to provide a wonderful list of speakers. Please visit our webpage to see the complete list of speakers.

Charlotte Roundtable @ the Church at Charlotte-October 7, 09
Keynote Speaker: Victor Lee-Author and Speaker

Indianapolis Roundtable @ the Media Center of the Indy Motor Speedway-November 10, 09
Keynote Speaker: Barry Collier-Athletic Director @ Butler University

Lansing, MI Roundtable @ South Church-December 1, 2009
Keynote Speaker: Jeff Totten-Chaplain-Detroit Tigers
Born and raised in the Detroit Area, Jeff began SCORE Ministries in 2000 following 20 years of pastoral staff experience. SCORE stands for Sharing Christ through Outreaches, Resources, and Encouragement. Jeff has served as the Baseball Chapel Leader to the Detroit Tigers since 1991. He has also worked with the Detroit Rockers, the Detroit Fury, and other professional and amateur athletes. In 2002, Jeff was selected to serve as a chaplain to the athletes in the Olympic Village at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Cost to attend this year is only 10$ per event, per person...this increases to 15$ for those who register within two weeks of the event(s) they would like to attend. This will cover the cost of the meal which is provided. Checks can be made payable to: Chaplains Roundtable…and mailed to:

Bill Houston
9749 Parameter Ave. NE
Rockford, MI 49341

Note: please indicate on your check which event(s) you will be attending. Thank you.

Thank you for your prayers for the Chaplains Roundtable Ministry. Looking forward to seeing you later this year. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me a ring. It is always good to hear from you!

For Him Alone,
Bill Houston
Sports Spectrum Radio
Chaplains Roundtable Ministry
616-974-2583-office #