Friday, May 31, 2019

Sports Chaplains and the Local Church

During the days of 13-14 May, I was in Kiev, Ukraine for their annual FCA Sports Chaplains School. The gathered men and women were bright, hungry to learn, and responsive. This made for a great couple of days in which I delivered six presentations. I had asked them to outline the issues or topics they wanted me to address, and that was key to our effectiveness. The outline of one of the presentations is below. (By sending it ahead of time, they were able to translate it into Russian to better serve the attendees.)

You may have noticed that the bulk of these slides are questions. That is purposeful as I don’t live where they do. I don’t know the local churches as they do. I don’t necessarily see the same opportunities that they do. I believe that by asking good questions, I can help them discover the opportunities that may be at their hands. I was able to point to examples of effective sports chaplain and church partnerships in various parts of the world, mostly to help catalyze their imaginations.

I hope your imagination is catalyzed toward effective, Christ-honoring partnership with the local churches in your area.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Serving Millennials and Gen Z Sportspeople

For many character coaches and sports chaplains of my generation (Baby Boomers – I’m about to turn 63) we find it difficult to connect with those we seek to serve that are among the Millennials and Generation Z. Brief descriptions of various generations are below. Much of our disconnect  is due to failing assumptions, misaligned values, and differences in communication styles. Some characteristics of these differences and some thoughts about how to better connect are below. Some of the characteristics that can present opportunities for those serving Millennials and Gen Z sportspeople are bolded.

Baby Boomers - born 1945-1964 (76 million in USA)
·        Anti-war
·        Anti-government
·        Anything is possible
·        Equal rights
·        Equal opportunities
·        Extremely loyal to their children
·        Involvement Optimism
·        Personal Gratification
·        Personal Growth
·        Question Everything
·        Spend now, worry later
·        Team Oriented
·        Transformational
·        Trust no one over 30
·        Youth
·        Work
·        Want to “make a difference.”

Generation X - born 1965-1979 (83 million in USA)
·        Balance
·        Diversity
·        Entrepreneurial
·        Fun
·        Highly Educated
·        High job expectations
·        Independent
·        Informality
·        Lack of organizational loyalty
·        Pragmatism
·        Seek life balance
·        Self-reliance
·        Skepticism/Cynical
·        Suspicious of Boomer values
·        Think Globally
·        Techno literacy

Millennials - born 1980-1994 (73 million in USA)
·        Achievement
·        Avid consumers
·        Civic Duty
·        Confidence
·        Diversity
·        Extreme fun Fun!
·        High morals
·        Highly tolerant
·        Hotly competitive
·        Like personal attention
·        Self-confident
·        Sociability
·        Members of global community
·        Most educated generation
·        Extremely techno savvy
·        Extremely spiritual
·        Now!
·        Optimism
·        Realism
·        Street smarts

Generation Z - born 1995-2015 (4-24 years of age)
• Just under 74 million in the USA
Digital natives (They grew up with smartphones.)
Career driven from early on
• Post-Christian social context
Looking for mentors (As are Millennials.)

During the recent FCA Collegiate Ministries Conference we heard a talk by Jonathan, JP, Pokluda about ministry with Millenials and Generation Z. Below are his three primary points of emphasis.

1. Engage them with a BIG ASK and authenticity. (This will be the hardest thing you've ever done, but it will be worth it.)

2. Equip them for real life with the Bible. I Timothy 3:16-17

3. Empower them to engage and equip others. (How will you make a difference in the lives of your teammates and friends?)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Burnout Indicator Lights

During the recent Fellowship of Christian Athletes Collegiate Ministries Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas (USA), the 100+ attendees received a presentation from Licensed Professional Counselor, Kim DeRamus Lareau, related to burnout. At whatever level of sport we serve, this is certainly a possibility for sports chaplains and character coaches. Our service can be quite consuming, involve many hours, and a good deal of stress. Kim offered the points below as dashboard indicator lights. My outline of notes taken are below. Thank you, Kim.

As you are driving along in your service of sportspeople, teams, and clubs, please keep watch for these warning lights. If they’re flashing at you, please take appropriate action. We need you to be at your best to serve well.

Burnout Indicator Lights-
o   Emotional reactions don't fit the related issue. (Greater or lesser)
o   Stress related physical symptoms. (Headaches, nausea, etc.)
o   Anxiety.
o   Depression. (despair & hopelessness)
o   Cynicism. (more often in men)
o   Difficulty in letting go of perfection.
o   Decreased ability to rest or recharge.
o   Impacts upon relationships. (Self, friends, God)
o   Difficulty setting boundaries.
o   Addictive behaviors.
o   Secondary trauma. (Second hand)
o   Compassion fatigue. (Out of empathy)


• Ask someone for accountability. 
• Make time for deep friendships. 
• Be mindful of fitness. 
• Practice faith disciplines.
• Recharge your passion.
• Recognize we have limited capacity. 
• Seek counseling.
• Make time for a hobby or creativity. 


Boundaries - When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Healthy Emotional Spirituality: Unleashing the Power of Authentic Life in Christ by Peter Scazzero

Soul Rest by Curtis Zackery

Didn't See It Coming by Carey Nieuwhof

Friday, May 3, 2019

Surviving or Thriving?

A few weeks ago I was privileged to participate in the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Collegiate Ministries Conference in Fort Worth, TX. Among the excellent presentations, panel discussions, and hours of conversation, was the presentation outlined below by Sarah Gackle of FCA at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama (USA).

One of the challenges common to sports ministries is staff turnover. This is true for FCA and it’s even more an issue among young women. Sarah shared this set of areas of life into which one should sow to not just survive, but to thrive. A number of my colleagues said this was most immediately applicable and useful to their service. Thanks, Sarah.

What is surviving? What is thriving?

Thriving is sowing seed (time, attention, resources) in 6 areas of life:
• Fitness (sleep, nutrition, exercise)
• Faith
• Family
• Finance (home & ministry)
• Friends 
• Focus

Self-evaluation tool:

Rate each area with this scale:
1 - poor
2 - below average 
3 - above average 
4 – excellent

In which areas should you be sowing more?