A couple of the most effective, but hard to arrange avenues of professional development for sports chaplains are networking and mentoring. Most of us are either too busy, or we don’t prioritize the time to be with our colleagues on a regular basis. Most of us learn best when we simply spend time in conversation with each other, comparing notes, telling stories, and asking questions of each other. The wisest among us make time for such networking, and we seek out mentors to help us develop our ministries.
One of the most effective ways we have been doing this recently has been through conference calls on a monthly basis. Starting in August of 2015, I began hosting conference calls, approximately sixty minutes in duration, in which I simply interview one of our respected sports chaplaincy colleagues from around the USA. Several times, we have even connected with people outside the USA by Skype while having my mobile phone on speaker so our international friends could participate. Dozens of people, from coast to coast, have called in, learned, asked good questions, and have been encouraged and inspired by our guests.
I am aware that some others have been doing this within their geographic regions and by other associations. That is wonderful. Below, please see the details for the calls, the questions I use to direct the calls, and a list of people who have contributed to them, as well as some who are on queue for future calls.
I hope you can join us for a future call.
Template for each call: (30-60 minutes in duration)
· I will start the call with a welcome.
· I’ll have someone ready to pray to begin.
· I’ll promote any upcoming events related to training, networking, or mentoring for sports chaplains and character coaches.
· I’ll introduce and interview the guest.
· I’ll wrap things up and will have someone close in prayer.
These are some of the questions I use for FCA Sports Chaplain conference calls.
· Tell us about yourself, your family, and your background.
· Tell us about the place where you serve as a sports chaplain or character coach.
· In what sports do you serve?
· When did you first begin to serve as a sports chaplain or character coach and how did that happen?
· What are some of your most effective strategies?
· One thing a sports chaplain or character coach should ALWAYS do is…
· One thing a sports chaplain or character coach should NEVER do is….
· Questions we received via email ahead or during the call.
· Who are your mentors and most valued colleagues? How do you connect with them?
· What forms of communication do you employ in your service as a chaplain?
· How many months did it take for you to feel like you had a good handle on your role?
· How well does your church understand your ministry and the fact that it may require you to occasionally miss Sunday services?
· What are some things a sports chaplain or character coach should do in his or her first 30 days of service?
These are sports chaplains and character coaches who have been recently interviewed on our conference calls:
· Jason Lipe – Southeast Missouri State University
· Sara Hurst – University of Illinois
· Eric Drake – Benton High School
· Anthony Morris – Towson State University
· Troy Collier – University of Illinois
· Russ Talley – Northern Illinois University
· Scott Tickner – Sesser-Valier High School
· Robbie Trent – University of Nebraska
· Dan Bishop – FCA National Director of Training
· T. J. Carlson – South Dakota State University
· Justin Neally – University of Illinois
· Marla Butterworth – formerly of Georgia Tech University
· Brandi Cantrell – Texas Tech University
· Chris Morgan – University of Louisville
These are sports chaplains and character coaches slated for upcoming conference calls:
· Tim Schneckloth – Augustana College
· Keith Brown – Georgia Tech
· David Applegate – Iowa FCA
· Kirby Myers – Naval Academy
· Richard Lopez – University of Arizona
· Jill Nash – Georgia FCA