Friday, January 29, 2016

Communication in Paper and Ink

Over the last twenty years there has been a rapid increase in communication, mostly digital in nature. While this has made it faster, more convenient, and allowed communication across the globe, virtually instantly, it has come at the expense of the immense value of communication on paper. I’d like to have you consider some thoughts as to how written communication, on paper, can be of even greater impact than an email, an SMS text message, a tweet, Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat message.

Hand written notes – Much like a text message or tweet in content, the value here is that it feels more personal to the receiver of the note. As poor as your handwriting may be, there is no comparison to the impact of such a note when it conveys your heart, your thoughts, and your prayers for the recipient. What’s more, it will likely be kept, posted on a wall, folded into a book, or used to hold a place in a Bible. Finding proper occasion for such notes is helpful. I use them often to congratulate someone on an accomplishment, at the end of a season or a career to thank a player or coach, in moments of failure or loss to share comfort, assurance, and loyalty to those feeling lonely and cut off.

Game Day letters – I have used this form of communication for twenty years. With many of the teams I serve I am afforded the opportunity to speak with some of the players and coaches, sometimes with 100% of the team and coaching staff. While speaking is of tremendous value, it is incomplete. I also take advantage of the opportunity and provide a game day devotional thought, in letter form, for those attending chapel or for the coaching staff to read aloud pregame. I have been stunned by how many of our players tell me that they save these letters, keep them throughout their careers, refer to them on occasion, post them in their lockers, or even put them in a binder. Many of them find their way to the trash bin, but it’s worth it for the ones whose hearts are touched by the written word.

Books – Now that books are not only available in paper and ink, but also formatted for your electronic tablet, Nook, or even your smart phone, books are more important than ever. I have consumed books in both forms over the last several years, but always prefer paper and ink books. They make it simpler for me to highlight, to make notes, to dog ear pages, and most importantly to share with others. When I find a book that is of particular value, I will share my copy with others, I will buy a copy for the coach or athlete, or I’ll buy a lot of copies to give away at coaches clinics, for use in small group meetings, or other venues. Books are good. Read some. Give some away. Enrich others’ lives.

Prayers – Across my years of service as a sport chaplain, few things have had the impact of writing down what I was praying for a person and then handing that written prayer to the person for whom I was praying. When we tell someone, “I’m praying for you,” it can seem terribly remote and detached from their experience of the moment. When we take the time, the care, the intentionality, to write down exactly what we are praying, it speaks to their hearts in a unique way. It also informs them as to how to pray for themselves. It encourages and strengthens them to trust God and builds relationship with us.

Please send text messages, tweet someone, send a Facebook note or an email, but do not neglect the opportunity to make a uniquely powerful connection with others by communicating on paper. The lasting value of such notes are posted all over the filing cabinet at my office and are kept as treasures in my home.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Update - Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity


Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity, York St John University, UK, 24-28 August 2016

 Just 7 months to go until the Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity, York St John University, UK, 24-28 August 2016, see:  

Encouragingly delegate registrations and abstracts submitted for the delivery of 20-minute oral presentations have come in from academics, practitioners and clergy that are diverse in content, and are, from across the globe: US, UK, China, Canada, India, France, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Slovenia, Poland, Belgium, Thai-Land, China, Australia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland, and a number of African countries.

Three things to make you aware of ……………………

Delegate Registration

The deadline for Congress Registration (which includes payment) has now been set and is on the Congress web-site: 6th June, 2016. No registrations will be accepted after this date.  

Call for Papers

The deadline for the Second Call for Papers is 18th March, 2016 and the maximum number of abstracts is 100. No abstracts will be accepted after this date / number has been reached.

Twitter: @SportTheology

Any queries please do let me know.

Best Wishes Nick

Dr Nick J Watson
Senior Lecturer, Sport, Culture and Religion
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
York St John University
Lord Mayor's Walk
York, Y031 7EX

Telephone: 01904 876833
Convener, Inaugural Global Congress on Sports and Christianity, York St John University, UK, 24-28 August 2016, see:

Co-Director, Centre for Sport, Spirituality and Religion, University of Gloucestershire, UK

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Competitor's Book of Prayer

During the summer of 2014, my wife and I were at an airport on the way to New Orleans for some vacation. As we sat at the airport I was thinking about how we encourage competitors, athletes and coaches, to pray about their lives in sport, but we seldom if ever give them any good models for such prayer. I was grieved by the situation and thought someone should do something about it. Since I was the one thinking about it, I determined I would give it a shot. I further thought, Jesus gave his disciples a model, why should we not? While at the airport that day I wrote about sixty situations in a sportsperson’s life when it would be most helpful to know how to pray. That began a process of contemplation, prayer, writing prayers in my phone, testing them with competitors via text message and on this blog, and through discussions with sports ministry colleagues, pastors, and friends.

That process and those 75+ prayers have now been released in book form. The Competitor’s Book of Prayer is now available through Cross Training Publishing at - as well as through and other booksellers. Cross Training Publishing offers discounts for sports ministry staff people and for bulk orders.

The Competitor’s Book of Prayer contains 160 pages of model prayers for a myriad of situations experienced by the people of sport. It also contains a page opposite each prayer for you to journal your use of that prayer. It is my prayer that these simple models provide a way to help the competitors you serve with ways to open their hearts to the Lord Jesus in prayer.

Here are some comments from people who saw draft versions of The Competitor’s Book of Prayer.

Richard Gamble
International Development Director
Sports Chaplaincy UK

“This book revitalises my daily prayer life! It's powerful, helps me refocus back to Jesus, is relevant in my daily spiritual battle, and finally it's contagious to encourage others to pray!”
Jung Ho Jung
Sports Chaplaincy Hong Kong

“In sport, as in life, communication is vital. The coach gives guidance and encouragement to his players. But the players must also grow this relationship through thanking, sharing and asking for help from the coach. While many books have been written for athletes to hear God’s Word (through Bible studies) few have addressed an athlete’s communication to the Divine Coach through prayer. Roger’s brilliant book fills the gap in this field of play. His book offers athletes, coaches and lovers of sport models/templates to praise the Creator of all (including sport), confessions, prayers for the game and training, and prayers for many situations athletes face. Roger does a God honouring job in helping the people of sport bring all of their lives, including sport, before our Heavenly Father.”
Cameron Butler | National Director
Sports Chaplaincy Australia

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he did so by giving them a model prayer.  Roger Lipe has given athletes and coaches a range of model prayers for every athletic situation.  The book should be in every athlete's kit bag.”
Stuart Weir
Verité Sport

“In the heat of the sporting battle, it’s easy to lose sight of who we are - and, just as importantly, who we aren’t. And it’s good to be reminded of both. Drawing on his extensive experience as a sports chaplain, Roger Lipe has produced a book of prayer which provides a plethora of such reminders and in so doing will prove to be a wonderful companion to Christian sportsmen and women the world over for years to come.
Professor Andrew Parker
University of Gloucestershire – United Kingdom

"Straight forward. No frills. Honest.  When it comes to speaking God's truth into the competitive hearts of athletes, no one does it better than Roger Lipe."
Rev. Shane Bishop
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist Church – Fairview Heights, IL

The Competitor's Book of Prayer is an amazing resource for people trying to glorify Jesus through athletics. Roger has a unique insight on sport and faith and an incredible ability to coalesce the two.”
Mike McElroy
Defensive Coordinator
Concordia Univesity Football
St. Paul, Minnesota (USA)

“Roger Lipe, along with his wife, Sharon, are integral members of our football family’s leadership team.  Through their on-going commitment to our program, they provide nurturance and guidance to players and coaches well beyond the season.  Roger’s game day Chapel services and daily prayers remind us to model strength and perseverance, use our talents and abilities in glory to God, and remain grateful in all circumstances.”
Dale Lennon
Former Head Football Coach

Southern Illinois University (USA)

Friday, January 1, 2016

FCA Chaplains / Campus Directors Conference 2016

Registration is now open for FCA’s annual conference for Sports Chaplains, Character Coaches, and University Campus DirectorsApril 11-13, 2016 at FCA’s National Service Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

This conference is a good fit if you are a volunteer serving sports teams at any level, if you are a sports ministry staff person with chaplaincy responsibilities, or even if your role is 100% with a team or a university campus. Sports chaplains from any and all stations of service are welcome and will find their ministries enhanced.

This conference is always very well done with inspiring plenary sessions, informative breakout sessions for those serving in various settings, and lots of time built into the schedule for networking and sharing of best practices between individuals. Simply control + click the underscored links below to go directly to the registration pages.

All the conference information can be found at More information re: breakout sessions and other details will be available soon.

Conference Information


Option 1: $249.00 - Covers lodging, meals and conference expenses
Option 2: $125.00 - Covers meals and conference expenses

Travel Information:

Flights should arrive no later than 3:00pm on April 11, 2016, and depart no earlier than 1:00pm April 13, 2016. Please book your flight to arrive at the Kansas City International Airport (MCI).  Transportation will be provided to and from the airport to the conference.

Cancellation Fee:

Cancellations after April 4, 2016, will result in a $50 cancellation fee per person.

Deadline to Register:

April 4, 2016 (After April 4, there is no guarantee on available space).

Questions? Contact Molly Collins at (816) 892-1161 or

 FCA Staff Registration

If you are a FCA staff person
and would like to register and pay with your ORG#
please use this form
If you'd like to pay with your personal credit card
please use this form

Non-FCA Staff Registration 

 If you are not an FCA staff person
and you'd like to register with a credit card
please use this form

2016 Conference Speakers

Dave Gittings, Jr.

 As a 12 year veteran of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Dave's passion is to bring the gospel message of Jesus Christ to coaches, athletes, and all whom they influence. Ordained and called by God as a Pastor, Dave has been serving in ministry since 1998. He has served as Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Senior Pastor of Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church of Saint Simons Island Georgia. He has also served as Area Director, Multi Area Director, and Chaplain with Golden Isles FCA. In August of 2013, Dave accepted the call to serve as the Virginia Tech Football Team Chaplain, and FCA Campus Sports Ministry Director.

Dave is a powerful speaker who has touched the lives of thousands of student athletes and coaches around the country.  He is uniquely gifted in delivering messages that are relevant to a diverse group of people from various age groups and cultures. His evangelistic style of speaking has made a difference in his community, and around the world.  He has been a featured speaker at many school assemblies, community events, parent meetings, athletic events, camps, mission trips, and churches. He has been asked to give pregame chapel for many collegiate and professional athletic teams including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dave is a Native of Pittsburgh PA, a graduate of Schenley High School, and Veteran of the US Navy. He has completed courses from the CharlesStanley Institute, FCA Institute of Sports Ministry, and Ashland Theological Seminary and currently serves on the FCA National Chaplains Advisory Team. Dave is supported by his loving wife Kim, and his children Aaron, Everett, Niesha and Briana.

Dan Bishop

 Dan Bishop serves as FCA's National Director of Training.  He has been on staff for over eight years, and in his current role for two years.  He served in various roles in the field ministry for FCA, including Multi-Area Director, State Director, and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. 

In those years he also served as a Chaplain at George Mason University and at the University of Cincinnati.  Before joining FCA, he served in various pastoral roles for 27 years.  Dan has a Master's Degree in Ministry Leadership and a Master's Degree in Pastoral Studies. 

He played varsity basketball in high school and in college.  He still enjoys a good pickup game of hoops.  Dan and his wife Nancy reside in Lee's Summit, Missouri.  He has three grown children and four grandchildren.
 Roger Lipe

Roger Lipe is the Midwest Region International Coordinator for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The Midwest Region includes the states of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. In addition to this role, he is the Campus Director for Saluki FCA at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He also serves the Midwest Region in developing sports chaplaincy ministries.

Roger has served as chaplain to several of the athletic teams at Southern Illinois University since 1994. He has also served as chaplain to the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League since 2012. 

Lipe previously served as the Field Representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the 26 southernmost counties of Illinois for twenty-one years. 

Roger is the author of seven books of devotions for athletes and coaches. The latest of these is titled, Heart of a Champion – Devotions for the People of Sport. He is also the author of Transforming Lives in Sport – A Guide for Sport Chaplains and Sport Mentors. Both of those titles have been translated into Spanish under the titles, Corazon de un Campeonand Transformando Las Vidas en Deportes. 

Free to Compete – Reflections on Sport from a Christian Perspective was published in 2013. It is a compilation of the weekly reflections he has emailed to hundreds of sport chaplains and character coaches around the globe since 2007. 

The Competitor's Book of Prayer is Lipe's most recent publishing project, released in December of 2015. It is a book full of model prayers for a myriad of situations in one's life in sport. All of these books are available through Cross Training Publishing.

Roger has worked with several colleagues from around the world to develop This global network has enabled him to make dozens of international trips to facilitate ministry in sport since November of 2000.