Earlier this year, Fellowship of Christian Athletes rolled out some new language regarding our strategies for ministry. Whereas we had before talked about ministry with nouns – Coaches, Camps, Campus, and Community, we have now begun to talk about it in verbs – Engage, Equip, and Empower. Being an active person, I like verbs far better than nouns and was excited to see what would result from this shift. Those details are being worked out at every level of the ministry, from the board room in Kansas City to the most remote posts of our service, even Carbondale, Illinois (USA).
As the weeks and months progressed, several discussions with colleagues had me thinking about the dynamics of how this works in my network of coaches and sports chaplains. As we talked I could envision a funnel.
At the top end of the funnel it is quite broad, but at the bottom end it is very narrow. I drew the illustration on a piece of paper and continued to think about it. I analyzed my approach to ministry and it is quite broad as I seek to engage people from a very wide radius. As many of these are first meetings we have little depth of relationship. This is what it is to Engage and we do it broadly.
In the middle of the process, the funnel’s center section, it is narrower than the top, but still broader than at the bottom end. The relationships I have with coaches who seem hungry for more, I Equip. I give them a book, recommend a website, a blog, a podcast, an app, invite the coach to an event, or some other way to facilitate their growth. The number we Equip is properly smaller than those we engage. We Equip strategically.
At the bottom end, the outlet of the funnel, it is quite narrow. The number of coaches we Empower is vastly smaller than those we Engage, and even smaller than those we Equip. This development process continues as we provide these coaches with the authority, resources, encouragement, and investment to lead various portions of our ministry. These are the coaches who lead team huddles, multi-sport huddles, coaches huddles, and more. We Empower intensively. Many of our sports chaplains and character coaches have progressed through the same Engage, Equip, and Empower process.
Further, I surmised that the commodities that push one through the process are spiritual hunger and depth of relationship. The hungry coach, just engaged will express the desire to be equipped (if we are listening), and we invest more time in him or her. Once equipped and still hungry, we can approach the coach about being empowered to serve his colleagues, team, families, and community. Our job is to perceive hunger and offer to feed it with time, energy, and resources.
My colleague and friend, Bob Pankey, took my crude illustration and improved it significantly. It is below and attached. It very well graphically describes the process and the factors that animate it. Thanks, Bob, for your contribution to the development of this concept. Please give this some thought and let me know what you think. Thanks.