Friday, July 19, 2013


The latest book in my summer reading list is Mindset – the New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Ballantine Books ISBN – 978-0-345-47232-8

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

I am just about halfway through the book, but am finding it to be amazing. Dr. Dweck outlines two different mindsets which people hold, beliefs really, and the remarkable differences between how these people approach life. What’s more, she asserts that one can choose a mindset which can aid achievement and development of one’s life.

The contrasts between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset” are rather simple, but very profound and powerful. As we nurture the lives of coaches and competitors, we have opportunities to either feed their fixed mindsets and thereby perpetuate their protection of mediocrity, or we can feed a growth mindset and thereby encourage their work ethic, their productive habits and help them achieve more than previously assumed.

After reading the first chapter, I sent a text message about the book to my friend, Coach Joe Ehrmann. Joe was quick to affirm the value of the book and its message to those who seek to achieve highly in the world of sport.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Free to Compete - Reflections on Sport from a Christian Perspective

This week I sent the manuscript for a new book titled, Free to Compete – Reflections on Sport from a Christian Perspective, to my publisher, Cross Training Publishing. I am excited about this project and I hope it is of value to you and to others who serve men and women of sport around the globe. (ISBN: 978-1-938254-15-4 paperback 176 pages)

This is an excerpt from the Introduction:
“In these weekly emails, now numbering over two hundred fifty, I have sought to take a Biblical and objective approach to sport, to sports culture, to ministry in sport, and to ministry with the men and women of sport. Some of it reads like social commentary as I write about the culture of sport. Some of it reads like analysis as I make observations about trends in sports ministry around the world. Some of it reads like instruction as I reflect upon the most important values in serving the people of sport. “
“I aim to write with as broad a perspective as I am able. I am conscious of my audience’s global nature, but confess that I am quite limited by my central USA background and limited travel. I always seek to reflect the Lord Jesus’ view of sport and the people who live, work, and experience life in it.”

Free to Compete will soon be available directly from Cross Training Publishing (308) 293-3891 ( in paperback and via Kindle ebook. (FCA staff may buy at a 40% discount and pay via org transfer.) It will also be available through FCA Gear and retailers like Barnes and Noble and Amazon as well.

Comments on Free to Compete
“Roger Lipe has a unique ability to comment on sport with
a Christian frame of reference. He takes Christ seriously and takes
sport seriously, helping the readers to process their sports experience
in the light of the Bible.”
J Stuart Weir
Executive Director - Verite Sport (United Kingdom)

“Roger Lipe has an exceptional gift for navigating the issues
commonly found in the world of sport and skillfully connecting them
to the truth of scripture in a clear, compelling way. His decades of
experience as a minister to athletes and coaches has provided him
with the wisdom to speak with authority into a sports culture that
desperately needs the truth found in God’s unchanging word.”
Jeff Martin
Exec. Vice President of Ministry Programs and Resources
Fellowship of Christian Athletes (USA)

“Aussie athletes and chaplains love Roger’s approach to personal
development in sport! He nails it culturally when it comes to
God’s Word speaking to the heart of real issues in Sports on identity,
character and life. He’s a kind of Muhammad Ali of sports writers.
Graceful as a butterfly, stings like a… His bold, honest and gracefilled
reflections help sharpen anyone’s pursuit of excellence in faith
and sport – drawing them closer to Jesus.”
Cameron Butler - National Director
Sports Chaplaincy Australia

Section I-Reflections on Life in Sport -
You are Free! 11
Sports Liars 13
“O Lord, Help Us Win Today.” 17
Fear of Failure 21
Integrated or Compartmentalized? 23
Notes on Team Travel 25
The Field of Competition is Holy Ground 27
Reality Check 33
For Whom Are You Playing? 35
Resignation 39
Developing Emerging Sports Leaders 41
What is the Measure of a Coach? 43
High Profile / High Peril 47
Lessons From Tragedy 49
Taming the Tongue 51
Hyper-Average 55
True Identity 57
Which Culture is Holier? 61
Amateurism vs. Professionalism 65
Jesus as Good Luck Charm 67
“I got fired yesterday.” 69
What the Heart Loves, the Will Chooses & the Mind Justifies
Introduction 71
Performance Enhancing Drugs 73
The Win At All Costs Ethic in Sport 77
Racism in Sport 81
Abuse of Players 85
How Faith Becomes Divisive in a Sport Team 89
Integrity Related to Coaches’ and Competitors’ Contracts 93

Section II-Reflections on Ministry in Sport-
A Biblical View of Participation in Sport 99
Highly Committed, But Irreligious 105
The Sport Chaplains’ Dirty Little Secret 107
Don’t Act Like a Fan 109
Through What Lens Do You View Sport? 111
Ministry To or Through Sportspeople? 113
Prominent or Obscure 117
Loyalty 119
Intuition 121
Time Management 123
Extravagant Love vs. Benign Tolerance 125
Mentoring People in Sport 127
What Can We Learn From a Tattoo? 131
Coaching Staff Transitions 133
Game Day Devotions 135
Economy of Opportunity 137
Sports Ministry and Celebrity Culture 139
The Richest Man I Know 141
The Significance of Sport Chaplains & Character Coaches 145
Service vs. Superiority 147
Sport as Worship 149
Celebrity vs. Obscurity 153
Guidelines for Interaction with Coaches & Competitors 155
Misapplication of Scripture in Sports Ministry 157
Sport Culture-Live in It 161
Present vs. Prominent 163
Foolish Comparisons 165
Dynamic Ministry 167
Dan Callahan vs. Cancer 169

More comments:
“Roger Lipe is an excellent communicator. He shares a heart of
compassion and truth in such a way that you will be drawn to learn
more about the Savior he serves and the Kingdom goals he inspires.
Each article is worth the time to not only read for yourself, but to
share with others!”
Bill Houston
Director, Chaplains Roundtable Ministry & Co-Host of Sports Spectrum Radio
Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA)

“Roger Lipe’s vast experience in sports ministry and his passion for
mentoring others makes this compilation of articles invaluable to
men and women serving Christ in the world of sport. Each entry will
cause you to rethink and reevaluate your daily walk with Jesus and
how you minister to others. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from
a seasoned leader in sports ministry!”
Stephanie Zonars
Team Building Coach (USA)

"To regularly sit in a place of worship centered on the teachings of
Christ will produce a quiet self-confidence to handle any and all pressures
of life, whether as an athlete or in any other of life’s walks.”
Carl Erskine

Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers 1948–1959 (USA)

Friday, July 5, 2013

One more on Sunday Sport

Below is the third and final installment of thought from our friends in the United Kingdom, Christians in Sport, about Sunday Sport. ( Thanks for your giving it a read and for the number of you who responded to the last couple of weeks. My aim here is to spur us to think about this issue, rather than just dismissing the issue to accommodate our assumptions.

 Sunday Sport

Finding practical solutions for the weekly tension between Sunday sport and Sunday church services

There’s no doubt that the tension between Sunday sport and Sunday church services is a significant problem for the church in the UK (as well as the US). Broadly speaking there are two types of approach and both have pitfalls.

First, some churches feel that if they move church to accommodate sport then it sends all the wrong messages about what is most important. Consequently many churches hold to the status quo and may try and make some small provision (youth group on a Friday evening) but generally offer a straight choice between the two.

Secondly, other churches feel that they should be helping their young people engage with culture not disengage, and so they offer alternative service times (e.g. Sunday afternoon) so that parents and their children do not have to choose. However, this requires a church with significant enough resources to be able to do this (no small thing) and it does risk turning Sunday from a church day to a rather hectic schedule where family time is a rare commodity.

How do we decide what to do? Well we need to be clear on the biblical principles at stake here.

1.  A key consideration is to remember what church is for. Church is for building up the body of Christ to attain maturity (Eph 4:12-13), but this maturity must be demonstrated publicly so that the church is ‘the light of the world’ shining its light before others to lead to glory to God (Mt 5:14-16). Straight away there is a tension here then. On one hand of course church will involve some time away from the ‘front-line’, where there is teaching and equipping, but it is always done so that God’s people can get back on the front-line - in their sport, job, among their friends etc. to witness about Christ. The church must see the importance of equipping its people to live in the world and therefore sending them into the world of sport to live for Christ.

2.  A second consideration is that whilst sport is a vital part of God’s good creation, we do need to recognise that the bible is clear that ‘physical training is of some value but godliness has value in every way, both for the present life and the life to come’ (1 Tim 4:8). Please hear me as a passionate sports player, this is not undermining the importance of sport, but it is elevating the importance of spiritual growth. It is therefore worth asking whether as players ‘devoted’ to our sport, or parents devoted to our child’s sport, we show as much commitment to godliness? The stark reality is that long after my sporting ability has faded my character will endure. I sense this is almost a bigger problem for parents who with admirable commitment pour hours into their children’s sport, but as one youth worker put it to me recently “if only I saw as much passion for their children’s spiritual growth!”

A solution then will require balance and appropriate involvement from all sides - pastors, parents, youth workers and the young people themselves. Certain pitfalls will need to be avoided:

-  The pastor or youth worker who has a ‘quiet word’ with the parents, telling them to get Sara to give up her county swimming because its taking her away from church. Have they thought about the disenfranchisement that she could feel with church as a result, and even if she doesn’t what about the subtle message she is learning that church = cultural disengagement?

-  The parents who admirably try to fit Ankur’s church around sport, but without thinking about how they can marry the two together or communicating adequately to their church. Consequently he picks up the significant signal that church comes second to sport (particularly when they win!) and quickly it becomes very difficult for him to have meaningful contact with church and other Christians his age.

There are no easy answers and no one ‘out of a box’ solution that every parent and youth worker can implement, but considering the above principles here are some suggestions to help think this difficult area through.

1.  Communicate. Parents have a great opportunity to teach their children about the various priorities as they work this through, so talk it through with your children - pray about it with them. Similarly talk to your church about it. Help them understand your thinking and see how they can support you as a family.

2.  Check your heart. Parents may well be wanting to bask in the reflected glory of their child’s county trial. Children may well want to please their parents by getting selected. Ministry staff may well be governed by a concern not to lose a ‘key family’ from their ministry. Pray for godly motivations and be honest with yourself about your real motives (often dressed up in pseudo-godly way!

3.  Don’t force a choice between the two if you don’t have to - if there is a workable solution then go for it, but as you do so be realistic about its implications both practically but also spiritually. So parents if you will drive two hours to watch your child play squash against another club, will you be similarly devoted to getting them to and from youth group on Friday evening?

4.  Realise the primary role that parents have for the spiritual health of their children. It is primarily the parents job, not the church’s, to bring up their children in the grace and truth of the gospel. This does not mean you are responsible for wether they trust in Christ - that is God’s area, but beware the thinking that “as long as I get my child to youth group then I’ve done my bit”. Youth leaders are there to help but its your child and ultimately under God he or she is your responsibility. So take an active lead in trying to resolve the church sport tension yourself. There was a great example of a Father who would drive his young lad to rugby on Sunday mornings but every week they would pull over for half an hour on the way there and do a bible study together that he had prepared. It turned out to be the most precious time of the week between him and his son!

Pete Nicholas, Christians in Sport