Last week I asked you to respond to the following question, “What have been the most effective forms of training and preparation for you in your role as a Sport Chaplain, Character Coach, or Sport Mentor?” A number of the responses I received are below. I pray that they are of value to you, that they either affirm the training and preparation you have received or possibly even inspire you to seek additional training to further prepare yourself for transformational ministry.
From Cristobal Chamale – Athletes in Action Latin America and Caribbean Countries
To go and visit the federations asking them for permission to visit the national teams and offer them conferences to motivate them through moral and Christian principles for their improvement in athletic skills and their spiritual area, then I began my preparation to teach them, I have been using books, my bible, and the Athletes in Action materials, my personal quiet time, etc...this has been the way for my training and now I have been bringing my volunteers to use the doors open and sharing with them all the materials that I have.
From Ross Georgiou – Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand
I have done the training in New Zealand and with Australia. For me it is having multiple trainers, solid but not too heavy material, role plays on real issues, using media / videos and especially having people who can give examples of 'what to do'.
From Dr. Steven Waller – University of Tennessee (USA)
1. Seminary training
2. Workshops through the Association of Professional Chaplains, American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Sport Chaplains Roundtable
From Johnny Shelton – Chaplain to the NFL Baltimore Ravens (USA)
· I have been blessed to have a variety of training over the years. FCA’s annual chaplain training has been great along with the chaplains training during the coaches clinics that are held every year and chaplains roundtable as well.
· As I look back on the most effective training, I’d have to say it was through my local church when I lived in North Carolina. We had a Men’s ministry that was very intentional about pouring into the lives of men through discipleship. This is where I grew & learned life on life ministry! (getting into someone’s world) meeting a person where they are and presenting the Gospel in a non-threatening way.
· As chaplains, we have this tremendous privilege and opportunity to build these relationships on a daily basis. Something that we should not take lightly!
From Marla Williams – FCA staff at Georgia Tech University (USA)
There have been a variety of training forms that I am so appreciative of.
· First- the chaplain training program I went thru under Wes Yeary at Auburn University. It was basically a school year-long apprenticeship for a 4 person cohort. In it we learned skills and attitudes that are necessary and then got the opportunity to have responsibility for a handful of teams with oversight from Wes and debriefing time with our cohort. In addition, we had a seasoned pastor that spent weekly time with us, training us in the Word and in general pastoring.
· Second- gaining a network of other sports chaplains, particularly with other organizations such as Athletes In Action. This has given me "safe people" to share encouragement and ideas with, as well as fresh thoughts outside of the organization for which I work.
· Third- various conferences on sports chaplaincy
· Fourth- Reading. A lot. And in a wide variety (authors from different backgrounds than me). It keeps my axe sharp and causes me to grow and know how to articulate spiritual truths across various cultures. The best book has been "The Art of Listening Prayer" by Seth Barnes. The BEST preparation is knowing what God has to say about the day/season/year ahead of you.
From Daniel Chappell – FCA staff in Eastern Illinois (USA)
· Formal training in bible and theology at the university/seminary level in order to handle and teach the scriptures well.
· Chaplain Training/Literature from you specifically addressing issues that face Sports Ministers that I never had access to in my formal theological training.
· FCA Coaches’ Ministry Academy Training-understanding the importance of ministry TO and not simply thru the coach and providing useful tools and strategies to connect with and minister to coaches.
From Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR / Franciscan University / Steubenville OH (USA)
Training? Preparation? What are those? One you were ordained you were expected to be a master of everything, or so it seemed others thought. I wasn't so I had to read a lot from some great masters. My favorite authors who helped form my interest in character development are: Earl Nightingale, Denis Waitley, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Og Mandino, Charles Swindoll. And then, drawing from former personal sports and life experiences, I was able to develop an understanding concerning personal development and sports ministry.
From Mark Stephens – FCA staff in Maryland (USA)
· Fca chaplains conference
· Monthly calls with chaplains/character coaches
· Asking the coach where I can serve best and improve.
From Bill Ray – FCA staff in Southeast Missouri (USA)
My only training has been the 2 FCA Chaplain's conferences and I have always got something good from it. However, now that I am working as a chaplain for the first time I have relied on calling you and Johnny Shelton for advice. What you are doing now, having people give their best practices, have been very helpful.
From Robbie Gwinn – FCA staff in Central Illinois (USA)
Small group discussion or conference calls with other sport ministers/chaplains have been the most meaningful to me.
From Tim Mellott – FCA Character Coach in Frederick, Maryland (USA)
My weekly coaches huddle which consists of about 8 coaches is a huge part of my preparation and training. Our discussions, relationships and love for each other drives my desire to grow in Christ. It supports me, helps hold me accountable and motivates me to be authentic as well as to face my sins. These guys are authentic and real. We genuinely love each and have each other’s back, no matter what! Through my journey with my brothers God prompts me towards topics, wisdom and methods to communicate with the young people.
From Coach Mike Berg – North Dakota (USA)
Primarily I've drawn from as many sources as I've been able to access:
· Your team building materials,
· FCA materials,
· on-line materials from such as Greg Laurie and God Pause (Luther Seminary),
· American Football Coaches Association materials from attending the convention as well as manuals and journals.
From Ken Lewis – FCA in Nampa, Idaho (USA)
· FCA training at the National Support Center in Kansas City;
· reading your e-mails, ideas & thoughts;
· my own reading on this process/strategy in reaching athletes & coaches;
· Reading sports devotionals;
· my experience of 19 years coaching wrestling & 7 years coaching girls lacrosse