Friday, November 21, 2014

A Recommendation from the Sports Chaplaincy Table

Over the last fifteen months, the men and women of the Sports Chaplaincy Table of the In Sport Group, a network of sports ministries around the globe, have been collaborating to produce a set of recommendations for sports chaplaincy training agencies. We have sought to determine what would be the global standard for such training. After much correspondence, prayer, sharing of ideas, and editing, the recommendation below is the document we will now begin to share with those agencies in various nations. If you represent one such agency and would like to adopt these standards, please email me and I’ll be pleased to add you to our list of adherents to the standards.

There is soon to follow exciting news about a new and powerful delivery system for basic, introductory sport chaplaincy training that reflects these same standards.

A Recommendation from:
The Sports Chaplaincy Table of the In Sport Group
International Sports Coalition

The Chaplaincy Table respectfully submits the following recommendation to all agencies that train, certify, and place sports chaplains all across the globe.
We have collaborated with many of the leading agencies and individuals who have decades of experience in training sports chaplains and we believe the set of items below constitute the global standard of comprehensive sports chaplaincy training.

We would be very pleased to see your organization join with the others listed below in committing to sports chaplaincy training which adheres to these standards. We will not presume to dictate the methods for training, nor the cultural nuances of the sports cultures in your nation.

Please prayerfully consider these training standards and contact us if you would like to join us in adopting them. We will refer inquiries about training that come through our network to the agencies that adopt these standards and develop training that is in keeping with them. We would also be privileged to collaborate with you in the design and implementation of such training.

I.             An Introduction to Sports Chaplaincy
It is wise to define what sports chaplaincy is, to state clearly what it is not, and to identify who and where sports chaplains serve.

II.           A Biblical Foundation to Sports Chaplaincy
It is critical to Christ-honoring service of sportspeople that the sports chaplain be well supported by scriptural principles and biblical models. The sports chaplain’s service is built upon Jesus’ Great Commandment and His Great Commission.

III.          A Profile of a Sportsperson
To serve well as a sport chaplain, one must have a clear understanding of those being served. To perceive the unique pressures, opportunities, challenges, and heart issues experienced in the world of sport enables the sports chaplain to wisely apply the truth of scripture and to care for the sportsperson.

IV.         A Profile of a Sports Chaplain
There is a particular set of character qualities, gifts, and experiences that make for the most effective service as a sports chaplain. This section of training would enlighten the trainee and catalyze his or her development as a sports chaplain.

V.          A Code of Conduct for Sports Chaplains
Where chaplaincy has been effectively modelled a tri-partite agreement between the sporting organisation, chaplain and local chaplaincy organisation has existed.  This module would look in detail at the code of conduct, assessing the roles of responsibilities not only of the chaplain, but of the sporting club/organisation being served and how they should inter relate with a chaplaincy body.  In particular the module would look at the importance of accountability in the execution of chaplaincy, guarding against the seductiveness and influence of elite sport.

VI.         A Sports Chaplain’s Relationships
The nurture and development of relationships is at the core of all ministry roles. To serve as a sports chaplain is no different. Understanding the unique attitudes and the power of being present is of tremendous value in sports chaplaincy. This element of training would inform the trainee of the most strategic relationships in sports cultures and how best to develop them.

VII.       Sports Chaplaincy Strategies
To serve effectively in the world of sport requires an understanding of one’s audience and prayerful consideration of the strategies and methods to be used. This section of training would inform the trainee about the wide variety of strategies and methods that may be employed and factors for wisely choosing them for his or her sporting environment.

VIII.     Resources for Sports Chaplains
The last several years have seen remarkable growth in resources for the development of sports chaplains and their ministries. Wise training would include resources for both the personal development of the sports chaplain as well as resources for direct use with the men and women the sports chaplain is serving. Resources could include books, periodicals, websites, blogs, podcasts, videos, films, and more.

IX.         Sports Chaplaincy in Critical Incidents and Crises
Depending upon one’s place of service, a critical incident or crisis could be a player’s retirement, a coach’s being fired, an injury, or even death. Excellent training for sport chaplains should include some basics for how to serve well in such situations.

X.          A Process for Beginning to Serve as a Sports Chaplain
Upon the completion of a training process, the prospective new sports chaplain still needs guidance related to the process for beginning to serve. Prescribing a step by step process is helpful to both the sports chaplain and to those he or she will serve. The process will vary widely depending upon the sport and culture being served, thus making this a most important factor for the earliest days of a sports chaplain’s service.



Please reply with our questions, your concerns, or with your desire to join us in committing to this standard of sports chaplaincy training.

Respectfully submitted by:
Roger D. Lipe – Chaplaincy Table Chair (Fellowship of Christian Athletes – USA)
Cameron Butler – (Sports Chaplaincy Australia)
Dr. Andrew Parker – (University of Gloucestershire – United Kingdom)
Ross Georgiou – (Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand)
Richard Gamble – (Sports Chaplaincy United Kingdom)
Paul Kobylarz - (The Gathering Place - USA)
Andreas Anderson – (Sport for Life – Sweden)
Ken Cross – (Sports Chaplains Network – USA)
Bill Houston – (Sports Chaplains Roundtable – USA)
Hans-G√ľnter Schmidts – (SRS Pro Sportler – Germany)


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