Friday, August 31, 2018

Personal Development of Sports Chaplains

Now in my 25th season of serving sports teams and individuals, I continue to grow and develop my ways of thinking, my skills, methods, and resources. I would challenge you to do the same. It is much too easy to fall into serving simply in the routine of last season’s way, with last year’s methods, and last decade’s thinking. It’s easy to become a dinosaur. It’s hard to stay relevant across decades of service.

Here are some simple thoughts re: a Sports Chaplain or Character Coach’s development plan:
·        Read and study regularly. Of course, read your Bible, but also read good books on subjects like culture, leadership, sports biographies, applied psychology, coaching, theology, and Christian living. Discover authors or genres that interest you and dive in deeply. Stretch your mind.
·        Experiment and evaluate. Take some chances with new methods of ministry. Risk failure. Ask hard questions in evaluating. Challenge your own status quo. Distribute surveys among your constituents to see what connects well and what misses widely. You may just invent the next breakthrough form of ministry in sport.
·        Consult with peers and mentors. Reach out to your colleagues and those who paved the way for you. Ask them good questions and listen. Hear their stories. Perceive their hearts’ wisdom. Listen and learn.
·        Pray for and about the people of sport. Secure a team roster, memorize it, and pray for them. Develop a system to pray for them regularly. Half of our role is to be the priest to this community. Carry their souls to the Lord via intercessory prayer. Faithfully praying for them will awaken your heart to their needs and to their souls’ hunger for the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
·        Observe and contemplate. Watch practice and competitions. Watch body language, gestures, facial expressions, and more. These are tied directly to their hearts. Contemplate what each moment, tone of voice, mumble, and comment means. Listen for the Lord’s voice regarding each heart you serve. Contemplate, “What would the Lord say to this team, player, coach today?” Tune your heart to hear the Lord’s voice. He’s speaking. Are you listening?
·        Learn continually. However you learn best, lean into that and never stop learning. I read, others listen to audiobooks, others like podcasts, others like on line videos, still others learn best in small groups. Be a life-long learner and your energy will endure, your soul will stay fresh, and your mind will expand beyond your wildest dreams.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Notes on Travel with a Team (Reprise from October, 2009)

Let’s think for a moment about the various ways we have traveled to and from competitions across our lives in sport. Low rent or first class, those who play their hearts out find joy in the journey. 

· I remember traveling to high school wrestling meets in school busses. I remember teammates spitting in paper cups to lose the last fractions of a pound so as to make weight. I remember the smell of oranges being peeled and snacks from mothers being shared among teammates. I remember the raucous rides home after victories and the deathly quiet following painful losses. I also remember being slapped by a cheerleader, but not having enjoyed the offending pinch.
· I remember riding twelve hours with three charter busses from Carbondale, Illinois to Cedar Falls, Iowa for a football game at the University of Northern Iowa. One bus broke down before we even got out of town. Thankfully, the Athletic Director was in the seat in front of mine and we’ve flown there ever since.
· I remember a road trip to Northern Iowa and Peoria, Illinois with a Women’s Basketball team. It was so cold the VCR froze up and we couldn’t watch movies. What a boring drive! Worse yet, we lost both games.
· I remember a bus ride with that same Women’s Basketball team between Des Moines, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. The head coach and I both knew she would likely be fired upon our return home. We had a very good heart to heart talk on the quiet bus in the late evening. We anticipated accurately and I was very glad to have had that talk with the coach.
· I remember boarding the chartered plane after our football team had just lost its first game of the season. We had entered the game 10 and 0 and had a lead in the fourth quarter, but came up short. I sat down and the head coach asked me if I was okay. I said, “Coach, I forgot what it felt like to lose.” It was a bitter flight home.
· I remember a whole college football team traveling to Tampa, Florida on commercial flights. This was before 9/11/01 and security was a little easier. Still, trying to get a traveling party of 85 through two international airports was a logistical nightmare for our office manager.
· I remember a friend who played college football for our team and went on to play in the Arena 2 League for 4 years. His team had a sweet, tricked out bus in which to travel. It included beds, big screen televisions, video games and more. I asked him once about what he would miss about football, “Road trips,” was his answer. He loved everything about being with his teammates, the bus, the hotels, the meals and all the camaraderie which we who play our hearts out enjoy in sport. 

Whether you ride in a rattling yellow school bus, a shiny motor coach, a Boeing 737, or even a private jet, find the joy of travel with your team in the rich relationships to be cultivated in every mile of the journey.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Report from Sports Chaplaincy UK annual conference

It was a unique privilege to be invited by Sports Chaplaincy United Kingdom CEO, Warren Evans, to speak at their annual conference in Bradford, England earlier this summer.  On Wednesday 13 June I traveled from my home to St. Louis, Missouri (USA), boarded a plane to Washington, DC, and then flew to Manchester, UK. On Thursday, after a 90 minute ride to Bradford, I joined the Sports Chaplaincy UK team as they were well into their day of induction at Life Church. I sat in on the remaining sessions of their excellent training for new sports chaplains, checked into my hotel room, and went to dinner with colleagues and friends from across the UK and Ross Georgiou from New Zealand, now living in Germany.

On Friday the 15th I delivered the three talks I had prepared for the conference. I talked with the gathered men and women about what it is to inspire and to be inspired. I then spoke with them about how we challenge and receive challenges. Lastly, I spoke with them about how sports chaplains must stretch and be stretched to serve effectively. The conference, continuing through Saturday, also included some excellent and practical training in various dimensions of serving in sports chaplaincy with excellence. Like most sports chaplaincy conference, some of the most valuable exchange of information and ideas took place during the breaks, over coffee, across the lunch table, and in casual conversation. Throughout the conference the attendees were challenged to “Raise their Game.” Warren and his team were excellent hosts for the conference with every detail handled very well.

On Sunday we attended church with the Evans family at Life Church. After a brief visit to the river locks near Bradford, and a wonderful family dinner we had a restful evening watching England’s opening round World Cup victory.

Monday included an outstanding meeting at the home ground for the Bradford Bulls Rugby club with Warren, Ross, Richard Gamble, and me. We discussed many facets of the global growth of sports chaplaincy. As the meeting adjourned we took Ross to the train station so he could catch his flight home. The balance of the day was spent with Warren and his lovely family, in relaxation and comfort.

On Tuesday morning we began an extraordinary day of travel including a traffic jam due to an accident on the motorway, running with my bags to the check in counter (arriving with about 30 seconds to spare), hassles at security, a good flight across the pond, delays in Chicago that had me sleeping on the floor of the airport overnight, and the eventual return to St. Louis, my car, and the two hour drive home. International travel is only glamorous to those who don’t do it.

To be included in relationship with such highly committed, loving, bright, and visionary people as Warren Evans, Ross Georgiou, Richard Gamble, and the board and chaplains of Sports Chaplaincy UK, is an immense pleasure and privilege. I am very thankful for these teammates and their faithful service of our Lord.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Report from Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine.

During the two weeks of 22 May through 4 June, 2018 I traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania; Moscow, Russia; and then to Kiev, Ukraine in service of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I worked with FCA’s Eurasian Global Region Coordinator, Andriy Kravstov, to make connections with people who are serving in sports ministries in the Baltics, in Russia, and then for a Sports Chaplains School in Kiev.

While in Moscow, we were hosted by our colleagues of Athletes in Action and others of the sports movement in Eurasia. In particular, our friend and Eurasian sports ministry pioneer, Carl Dambman of Athletes in Action, was a gracious host and connector of people.

360 Coaches meeting in the Sports Palace – Kiev, Ukraine

During the Sports Chaplains School, Carl and I shared the days of instruction. We included lots of group discussions, role play, and other methods to help our new colleagues integrate all they were learning into their service of Ukrainian sportspeople. We were thrilled at the nature of the group that FCA Ukraine and our friend, Ruslan Muts, had gathered for the training. Many were already serving various clubs and others were preparing to engage soon.

Attendees of the Sports Chaplains School - Kiev, Ukraine

This was the fourth year in succession for this Sports Chaplains School in Kiev. We are very proud of our friends and their faithful service. I am most thankful to have the faithful and excellent partnership of Carl Dambman of Athletes in Action.

Roger Lipe – FCA and Carl Dambman - AIA

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sports Chaplains Conference Call - Performance Based Identity

Please click on the link below to access the recording of the August 7, 2018 Sports Chaplains Conference Call re: Performance Based Identity. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Global Registry for Sports Chaplains - register today!

Even if you have registered in the past, please log on and register for this global network of sports chaplains. 

Simply click the gold SIGN UP box below to register.

Thanks very much!

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CEDE Network 2.0!

The new Worldwide Sports Chaplains Registry is here! Now it’s easier than ever to connect with thousands of other isolated sports chaplains similar to you.


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Get started with version 2.0 of our global registry today! Create a profile and discover how you can connect, share and learn with chaplains worldwide.


"I am so excited to witness the launch of the worldwide sports chaplains registry!
It will be so helpful and bring unity to the community of sports chaplains learning, growing, encouraging, networking and supporting each other. This is really a Kingdom approach to walk together for His glory."
Jung Ho Jung - Sports Chaplaincy Hong Kong

“Cede Sports have produced a great product called the Registry (CEDE NETWORK 2.0) to help support and signpost chaplains across the globe and we, Sports Chaplaincy UK are proud to support and partner with them.”
Warren Evans - Sports Chaplaincy United Kingdom

“The global sports chaplains register will be an amazing tool for connection, encouragement, and information available to chaplains everywhere. Some of us are privileged to be involved in national sports chaplaincy organisations which already allow us those opportunities, and the register will build on that. But for those chaplains serving in more isolated contexts – or serving sports people who compete internationally – the register can only be seen as a blessing from God to enhance their ministry, and offer them a sense of community within a global and growing movement.”
Steve Stubbings – Sports Chaplaincy Australia

“Cede Sports has done a wonderful service for the global body of sports chaplaincy by connecting us through this newest resource (Cede Network 2.0). We plan to utilize this resource heavily to discover new candidates to serve with Soccer Chaplains United and to resource our current chaplains as we see God growing our work in soccer throughout North America and beyond.”
Rev Brad Kenney - Soccer Chaplains United
“I’m very excited about the recent launch of the Global Sports Chaplain Registry. I’ve just begun to work with it and it’s so smooth and manageable. It can be a great resource for anyone working in the world of sport chaplaincy. I’m praying that God will use this tool to help accelerate the movement of chaplains who are helping to meet the spiritual needs of the athletes of our world. Check it out and I really believe you’ll be greatly blessed in your future ministry.” 
Reid Lamphere  -  Athletes in Action

“Cede Sports has been working in partnership with us to help see the GSCA purpose of all sports people from all nations to have access to a Christian Sports Chaplain. The Cede Network 2.0 Registry has taken a huge step in helping us all work to fulfilling that purpose as we look to demonstrate and share the love and mercy of Christ to the sports world!”
Ross Georgiou – Global Sports Chaplaincy Association

"The Cede Network global sports chaplain registry is a dream come true for many of us. For decades we have had to rely on our own personal networks to connect players or coaches who were transferring from place to place, from club to club, or from nation to nation with our sports chaplaincy colleagues. The global sports chaplaincy registry will make this process much smoother, quicker, and with solid security."
Roger Lipe - FCA

"What a superb tool to unite, connect and resource a movement across the globe. I believe that this registry will be a catalyst for growth enabling the global family of Sports Chaplaincy movements to serve more sports communities with excellent care and mentoring. Sports Chaplaincy South Africa is privileged to partner with CEDE in making this possible."
Bruce Nadin - National Director Sports Chaplaincy South Africa

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