Here in the USA schools are starting after the summer vacation and fall sports are gearing up as well. Soccer (football), American football, volleyball, golf, tennis, and even some baseball is played in the months of August through November. This time of year is always exciting because it’s full of anticipation and hope for success.
For sports chaplains and character coaches, this season of the year also presents some unique opportunities for effective ministry. Below is a brief, certainly not exhaustive, list of opportunities and ideas for your ministry with teams or individuals in this new season.
Prior to the season’s beginning, visit practices. Obtain a roster and memorize names, uniform numbers, and other details that seem helpful.
At preseason practices, speak with the coaching staff, support staff, and players as you can. Build relationships, they are central to everything we do.
Look for opportunities to assist the coaching staff in any way possible. Serve, serve, serve, and serve some more.
If you are able, attend team meetings and observe the team’s culture, their interaction, the tone of the coaching staff, their expectations, their goals, etc…
Look ahead at the schedule to see where ministry opportunities may be for yourself and for others.
Speak with the head coach about the possibilities of team chapels, Bible studies, team dinners, a study for the coaches, or other opportunities for ministry. Plan and execute them well.
Be sure, if you are serving in a university, to meet with the NCAA compliance officer and make him/her your friend. This person makes a better ally than an enemy. Build a relationship of trust with him or her and it will make your service easier and you won’t have to look over your shoulder constantly worrying about violating a rule.
Consider writing a journal of all your interactions with the team. It will sometimes feel rather mundane, but when a whole season’s story is told, it can be quite insightful for yourself and whoever else you allow to read it. I often do this and give it to the head coach after the season so he can see the season from my perspective.
Pray, seek favor, pray, build relationships, pray, memorize names, pray, watch your attitude, pray, serve selflessly, pray, and love extravagantly.
Have a wonderful season. God bless, Psalm 90:12-17
Submitted By Roger Lipe, Sport Chaplain / Character Coach / Sport Mentor
Southern Illinois FCA