Friday, August 25, 2017

Chapel Talk Outlines -

If you are privileged to have the opportunity to speak to your team in a chapel setting, whether pregame or the night before, it is important to know how to prepare and deliver a talk that will speak to the hearts of the players and coaches.

To serve up a warmed over Bible study won’t cut it. To simply do a motivational, “rah rah”, talk also misses the mark. I have often asked guest speakers and counseled emerging sports chaplains to deliver both inspiration and motivation. We want them to love God, and we want them to compete greatly. Both.

If you are just starting in this role or you are suddenly given opportunity for such a talk, I’d like to recommend a set of resources available on line to anyone. Log onto - and then use the search function with keywords: “Chapel talks” and Ministry: “Chaplains.” That search will pull up a set of over 30 chapel talk outlines, each with a title followed by – “Chapel.”

One such chapel outline, looks like this once opened.

Comparisons - Chapel

Chapel – Comparisons
1 – Do you watch web sites for the weekly team power rankings? 
• Do you pay attention to the state or national rankings of teams in our sport?
• Do you read the paper to see who beat whom? 
• Do you make comparisons between teams and players?
• Sometimes, such comparisons could be misleading and lead you to a poor performance and with it a disappointing loss.
2 - Let’s get some wisdom in relation to making comparisons from II Corinthians 10:12 (read the text aloud).
• The number one ranked team in the nation is not the standard against which we measure our success.
• The first place team in our conference is not the standard against which we measure our success.
• The last place team is certainly not our measure of success, nor are the teams we have defeated or lost to already this year.
• A greater standard for our team and for each individual is “competing to the height of our ability.” This is success.
• This standard does not change based upon an opponent’s ability.
• This standard is constantly raised to new heights as we develop as players and as a team.
3 – Today, avoid the foolish comparisons and make it your aim to compete at your highest capacity.
• In doing so you will raise the level of play for all those around you.
• Strive to maximize our team’s abilities today.
a. Each player
b. Each coach
c. Each play
d. Throughout the duration of the game
4 – Achieving highly through pursuit of that standard will result in the internal satisfaction which comes with fulfilling one’s purpose.
5 - Let’s leave the less than wise and external comparisons to others.

I hope this set of resources can be of service to you and those to whom you speak. If you would like to see more such outlines, please email me at and I will be glad to send you any you would like. After 23 seasons of chapels, there are a lot from which to choose.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Shall I Pray for Success?

Earlier this summer I received a call from a man whose son was playing in a baseball tournament and working out in a series of showcases in the pursuit of an offer to play for a college team. I have known his daughter, who played golf at our university and attended our Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings. The father and I had only met, face to face, one time.

He called as he was trying to discern whether it was proper to pray for his son to be successful. We had a great chat and a number of the ideas discussed are below. Much of what I told him was that it depends upon how one defines success. We chatted a couple more times during the summer as the process moved along and they contemplated opportunities.

I greatly respect John Wooden’s definition of success:

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” John Wooden
In this economy of success, yes, I believe it altogether appropriate to pray for success. In the world of sport’s normal economy of success: that I win every time, that I am first, that I am the greatest of all time; not so much.

I always pray for those I am serving to be successful, but I never pray regarding the results on the scoreboard. I pray that they fulfill their highest potential, that they compete to their absolute best ability, that they experience the best of their sport, that they are great teammates, that they experience the Lord Jesus' presence and pleasure in sport, that they find joy and satisfaction as they compete, and more. I believe this is success in sport.

A few of the prayers I have written for competitors to pray are below. I believe they are emblematic of this approach to success.

Powerful God of Heaven and earth,

Today's competition will require my absolute best and the same of my teammates.

Please give us to be at the heights of our abilities.

Please enable our hearts to be united.

Please grant us insight and wisdom.

Please infuse us with strength, speed, and endurance.

We would honor You with each and every second of this contest.

In Jesus' strong name we pray,


Strong Father in heaven,

It is game day and I am ready.

Every fiber of my being is poised and prepared for a great day of competition.

I commit every moment, every breath, every movement,  and every thought to You.

May I be blessed with Your provision as I compete?

May I be honored by Your presence in this game?

May I bring Your heart pleasure throughout this day?

I pray and compete in Jesus' name,



It is almost game time and my heart is racing.

My mind is full of anxiety.

My body is tense and tight.

Please quiet my heart.

Please speak peace to my mind.

Please relax my body.

This competition is for Your honor, for Your glory, and for Your pleasure.

I pledge to You the greatest devotion of my heart, the best thoughts of my mind, and the strongest efforts of my body.

In Jesus' strong name,


Earlier this week I received notice that the young player had received an offer from an NCAA Division I university to play baseball. The family expressed their thanks for praying with them about the process, and the young man tweeted his thanks to God for the offer. The player’s mother said, “This was such a God thing,” and promised to tell me the story about how the offer came about. I was pleased that they were seeking God’s counsel throughout the process, even more than simply comparing offers, academic programs, dormitory rooms, and team gear. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Did God Create Sport?

With his permission, I would like to share a recently received reflection from our dear friend and esteemed colleague, Stuart Weir of Verité Sport in the UK. Don’t miss the piercing question at the end.

Did God create sport?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth Genesis 1:1

Genesis contains in the first two chapters a magnificent account of the creation of the world. God is the creator of every single thing in this world, which the story pronounces over and over again ‘was good’. At the end of Genesis 1, we read: ‘God saw all that he had made and it was very good’. (v.31)

If we understand this and remember it, our attitude to God will be transformed. We will realise that we must worship him in all things and at all times.

So did God actually create sport as well as creating everything else? God did not actually create athletics or basketball but it was God who created people and made them able to run, jump, kick and catch. Sport is simply organized play in which we have the opportunity to use the talents that God has given us.

Reflection: If I really believed that my involvement in sport was an integral part of my Christian life, how would it change my attitude to sport?

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