Category Archives: Leadership

How to Take Dominion

By Bill Buckley

Definition of dominion—the power to control a territory.

Deuteronomy 15:6—”For the LORD your God will bless you as He

has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will

not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not

rule over you.”

1. Infiltrate—To penetrate enemy lines with precision. (Numbers 33:53)

2. Dominate—To control completely and rule over. (Proverb 12:24)

3. Consecrate—To dedicate for a purpose. (Jeremiah 51:28)

4. Populate—To occupy and prosper. (Psalm 37:3)

5. Celebrate—To praise and enjoy. (Jeremiah 30:19)

“Both riches and honor come from You O Lord, and You rule over all, and in Your hand

is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen us all.”—

I Chronicles 29:12

Resources on Leadership

Please click on a title or media type to be directed to the resource’s purchasing page!

Title Author Available Media Type(s)
Leading with a Limp Dan B. Allender Ph.D. Book
The Heart of a Servant Leader C. John Miller Book
Spiritual Leadership J. Oswald Sanders Book
David’s Mighty Men Bill Buckley Article
Self Leadership Manual Bill Buckley Manual
The Right to Lead Bill Buckley Manual
Achiever’s Manual Bill Buckley Manual


Christianity: Before, During or After the Game

100 Division III athletes, all who identified themselves as Christians, were asked a series of questions that probed into the impact of their Christianity on their sports involvement.  While the questions weren’t asked in exactly these three categories – BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the Game – the answers broke down into these three.

The good news – 100 of these athletes said their Christianity affected them BEFORE and AFTER the game.  They prayed, they read something, they talked to someone specifically.

The bad news is how many of them said their Christianity affected them DURING the Game.  How many do you think?

By the fact that I call it bad news, the number is low.  Just how low is it?     Zero.

That’s right.  None of the players saw their Christianity as affecting them during their time on the court, in the field. This seems rather depressing and almost too difficult to believe. Here are two supporting stories for you skeptics:

1)  I shared this research recently at a Coaches Training.  Afterwards, a young, tall woman approached me.  Here is what she said:

I played D2 Volleyball at a “Methodist” school.  We would ALWAYS say the Lord’s Prayer before the game as a team, I personally would pray for strength and safety as well before the game. If we won we would thank the Lord for the win—— But never once did we pray DURING the game. I found that every interesting and actually had never realized it until Bob made me think about it! There is no reason why we shouldn’t ask God for strength and endurance DURING a game! We should also give him thanks after a game (even if we lost) for him giving us the strength to do our best! Glory should be given to God before, during, and after all games win or lose!

2)  In a Sports Illustrated article in February 2013, one collegiate athlete identified as being involved in a Christian Sports Ministry Group said in response to the researcher, Sharon Stoll of the University of Idaho, when she asked about the role of intimidation in sports:

“Ma’am, my job is to kick them in the head, knee them in the groin, stand over them and tell them never to get up.”  Stoll then asked how the linebacker would play against Jesus. “And the guy looked at me and said, ‘Ma’am, I’m as Christian as the next guy, but if I’m playing Jesus the Christ, I play the same way. I leave God on the bench.”

“I leave God on the bench.”

What we are saying in all this is that God belongs outside the lines of the fields or courts, not inside.  Once a player steps across that line and onto the field or court, we leave our Christianity behind.

However, that perspective is not the way God sees it!

“Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink (or play football or volleyball) do it all for the glory of God.”  1Corinthians 10:31 (with the parenthetical comments added)

God sees the largest to the smallest aspect of everything we do, including our sports, as connected with his glory. This is the way he designed all of life.  This is why Paul calls us to this connection, in recognition of the difference between God’s and our perspective. Yet, we shouldn’t point only to athletes in discussing this problem.  The compartmentalized view of life with its secular/sacred dichotomy is alive and well all around today’s Christianity. If you don’t believe me, look at the stats on how we treat money and what we give or how we treat marriage, or how we conduct business.  God is often left out in these arenas and considered irrelevant just as he is on the athletic fields and courts.  George Barna has done a great job of providing the stats to fully back up this assertion.

If you are troubled by all this, great.  Honestly, I share it with you for that very purpose.

We need a cry for a different reality.  We need a cry for a different paradigm – one where Christianity and the gospel aren’t segregated from or injected into sports but rather integrated with sports.

Change begins when we are troubled, burdened by reality.

This burden, this longing for change is something at the heart of CSO.  We are committed to providing this new paradigm while developing tools to build it.  Besides the subjects of this blog, here are a couple of others:

- The Ultimate Question video that provides the compelling concept that unifies all our sports activities

- 3D Devotionals that teach athletes and coaches how to integrate sports, life, and biblical truth

For the Love of the Game video that is coming soon and teaches how the gospel and sports integrate together in order to redeem sports. These are just a few God has led us to develop out of our cry.

There is a need for many others.  Will you pray with us about their development and even join in the efforts to provide them?

The Sport Chaplains’ Dirty Little Secret

By Roger Life, Sports Chaplain at Southern Illinois

After many years of serving coaches and competitors in various sports and almost as many years of networking with sports chaplains and sport mentors around the USA and the world, I’ve become convinced that our dirty little secret is that many, if not most, of us are just as performance based in our sense of personal worth as those whom we serve in the world of sport.

We can all see how driven by their last performance our charges are in how they perceive their personal identity, even those who claim a relationship with Christ Jesus.  We all hear players say things like, “I’m 7 and 5.”  That is a direct statement of worth based on wins and losses.  They might protest when asked about that, but it’s still an indicator of what’s really important to them.  If we ask, “How are you doing?” many will reply by stating their team’s record or their personal statistics rather than anything deeper than their most recent results.  I usually get the same sorts of replies from coaches, administrators, fans and even sports chaplains.

For sports chaplains, we usually point to more “spiritual” results.  “85 players came to chapel today.”  “15 players committed their lives to Christ last week.”  “Our team has 80% of the players attending Bible study each week.”  “10 of the 12 coaches are in our weekly Coaches Bible studies.”  Honorable results all, but they must not become the basis for our identity or the defining marks of the validity of our ministries.  Would I be less valuable to God if 5 players attended chapel instead of 50?  Would Christ be less pleased with me if this year no one committed his life to Christ through my ministry?  Am I a failure if no one wants to start a Coaches Bible Study?  Is my identity tied directly to my performance of “spiritual tasks?”

Why is this important?  If I find my worth and identity in my performance, I will do whatever it takes to get to the desired results.  I’ll manipulate people to acquire the decisions which validate my ministry.  I’ll be sure to report the numbers which satisfy those who finance my ministry, even if they’re a little exaggerated.  I’ll choose programs over people, methods over relationships and masses over individuals because they provide the results which define my success and my worth.

If we are to have any hope of being agents of Christ’s transforming power in the lives of the people of sport, we must find our worth in our relationship with Him.  At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, as He is being baptized by John in the Jordan River, He comes up from the water and hears a voice saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)  To this point, Jesus had zero followers.  He had performed zero miracles.  He had healed zero people.  He had raised zero people from the dead.  He had accomplished nothing to earn His Father’s love and approval.  He is pleasing to God the Father because Jesus is His Son.  That’s all.  The relationship was the basis for God’s pleasure and approval.  Jesus was identified by His relationship with His Father, period.  That continued throughout His life on the earth and beyond.

This is pretty easy for me to see because it’s very easy for me to fall prey to such a performance based mentality.  It is a constant battle to check my attitudes, my values, my priorities, my methods and my relationships to see if they are reflective of a heart which finds its worth in relationship with Christ or if it seems driven by performance and easily defined results.  It’s very easy to find my emotions and perspective directly reflective of the most recent results of the teams I serve.  It is also very easy to find my sense of identity being tied directly to the success or failure of our ministry’s most recent events.  If you were honest, you’d probably confess the same.

So what shall we do?  Let’s regularly evaluate our ministries to see how clearly we communicate each one’s intrinsic worth to our loving Father.  Let’s be sure to lead others in ways which value relationships over results.  Let’s honor faithfulness over success.  Let’s guard our hearts from the insidious cancer of performance based worth and prefer to live in the freedom and security of knowing we’re well pleasing to God through our relationship with Christ Jesus.  Having such a secure basis for our own worth will leave us free to serve selflessly and to help others find their own freedom from the burdensome yoke of slavery to performance.

Submitted by Ken Cross

Kentucky is Calling…

Organization:           Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy
Job Title:                   Associate Chaplain

Location:                  Louisville, Kentucky

Reports To:              Chaplain

Main Purpose/General Responsibilities:

This is a full-time position reporting directly to the Senior Chaplain. Working with the Senior Chaplain for Churchill Downs and the Council for the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy, the Associate Chaplain provides spiritual counsel and support to the workers on the Backside; conducts prayer services for the Spanish-speaking members as scheduled; maintains availability with workers by walking the barns on a daily basis and providing a spiritual presence on the Backside; participates in organizing and conducting activities, such as the annual Christmas party, Easter Egg hunt, and no-sale-yard sales; liaises with the Spanish-speaking community at large; participates in Council meetings, providing reports of activities; and performs other duties as requested.

Main Responsibilities/principal objectives/key results areas:

-Preaches and teaches at the weekly services in Spanish to the Spanish-speaking workers and family members on the Backside, generally at the same time the head chaplain is preaching to the English-speaking members.
-Establishes and maintains a spiritual presence for the workers and their family members by participating in their church-related activities, walking the barns while they are at work, and visiting with them on a formal and informal basis as needed.
-Co-celebrates at sacred events such as baptism, marriage, funerals, and the blessing of the sick.
-Visits sick members who are in the hospital as well as home-bound members of the Backside community.
-Plans services with the head chaplain, including music, activities, and entertainment for the appreciation and spiritual enrichment of the workers and their families and participates as appropriate.
-Attends conferences and workshops aimed at furthering the experience and pastoral knowledge of the associate chaplain.
-Liaises with the larger Hispanic community to enhance their understanding of the needs of the Backside community and to draw them closer in support, involvement, and solidarity with the workers and their families.
-Working with the chaplain, participates in and oversees the Christian education of all ages. This includes children’s classes, youth, and adult education, while delegating many responsibilities to Backside volunteers.
-Provides short-term counseling as needed. Is available and response to crisis situations, providing pastoral care through the most effective means possible.
-Demonstrates great flexibility in time schedule, being available for evening activities as well as daytime duties.
-Stands in witness to the love and teachings of a compassionate Lord Christ Jesus.


Tour Stars on Golf and God

With the U.S. Open this week, I thought you might find this video from CNN interesting. It includes 2012 U.S.Open Champion, Webb Simpson, 2009 British Open Champion, Stewart Cink, and fellow PGA Tour players Keven Streelman, Ben Crane, and Aaron Baddeley speak about how their faith in Christ impacts them as professional golfers.

I especially like what Ben Crane said – “It is not like a Jedi mind trick that if I act like ‘Hey this (my golf game) is for God.’ then I will play better, but in actuality if my heart is right I am more at peace and life certainly works better from there.”

He makes it clear that what is important is the status of my heart in answer to the question – “Am I here to bring glory to me or to God?”


How to Show Humility as an Athlete

This wisdom comes from CJ Mahaney. You can listen to this short explanation here from the 11:40 mark to the 13:15 mark.

What does humility look like during and after the game?

1. Welcome the critique of coaches and teammates

2. Recognize your gifting and thank God

3. Recognize your limitations and acknowledge them

4. Be gracious in defeat and modest in victory expressing your gratefulness to the coach and referees.


Sports & Theology: Brian Urlacher

Let’s set the scene: Sunday night, the Houston Texans played the Chicago Bears. In a closely contested game, Texans’ cornerback Danieal Manning (a former Bear) intercepted a pass from Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. As Danieal Manning was leaving the field, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher walked on the field and congratulated his former teammate on a great play. You can watch the video here.

All of this comes to the dismay of Bears’ fans. Urlacher has been highly criticized for the show of sportsmanship. This was his response:

“That was a nice play. I could give a crap about what people think on the street. Get mad at me all you want, I could give … I could give a crap about what people say. Danieal Manning is a friend of mine, he was a teammate for five or six years, and that’s the way it is. He made a catch and was running toward the sideline to say something to Coach, so I walked out there.

“The guy had a good game, he caused a fumble, had a pick. He’s my friend. I wish he wouldn’t have caught it, but he did, so nice play to you. I don’t give a crap about what fans or people say, they can kiss my butt. I don’t care.

Aside from the “kiss my butt” comment (I’m being picky, I know. I’m not offended but he could have gone without it.), I thought this was a great testimony to the power of friendship. It’s a totally different response than what Kevin Garnett had for Ray Allen.

I appreciate Urlacher acknowledging the great play of his friend Manning. Congratulating an opponent during a game is an extremely rare occurrence. Perhaps this is what it’s so startling to Bears’ fans. After a game is over, you’ll see congratulatory hugs and hand shakes all over the field but rarely during. It seemed out of place, it was foreign.

Should it seem foreign though? I don’t think so. As I’ve said before, your opponent is not your enemy:

This begs the question, what would the Christian framework be for looking at teammates and opponents? To answer this question, you have to go back to the beginning, back to the Garden. What if we saw sports as just another place in this world to unearth treasure? Not only in ourselves or our teammates but also in our opponents? And what if saw unearthing treasure in competition for the glory of God as the ultimate goal? There would no lines in the sand. No enemy. No bad guy. Only partners in the dance to glorify God.

Can you imagine if the glory of God was the ultimate goal in competition? Can you imagine what would happen if you deeply desired to compete well as to unearth treasure in your opponent and unearth all of the God-given talent he/she has? If this was everyone’s posture then I think you would see congratulations and thanksgiving all over the field. There would be handshakes, words of affirmation, clapping, and celebratory cheer all over the field not only for your teammates but equally for your opponent.

I can imagine that doesn’t sit comfortably. The idea that our opponent is our enemy is so engrained in us. If you want to be more uncomfortable, here’s a challenge: Work on seeing your opponent (whether you are a player, parent, coach, or fan) not as an enemy but a co-competitor. Affirm them, celebrate their success, genuinely desire them to perform well as to bring out the best in your team. It will be hard. It will hurt. But, if you practice this for a while, I can testify that it will change you. It will transform the way you spectate, coach, and play sports.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).”


A Lesson in Selflessness from Coach John Wooden

I recently read this on the Great Leaders Serve blog about a meeting that took place with John Wooden in his home:

We met at a condo the coach and his wife, Nell, had purchased in the 1970’s. The place was decorated just as you would expect of a modest home in the 70’s. The décor had not been updated. However, there had been some additions over the years. The two-bedroom home was now full of books. Everywhere you looked – books. It was clear Wooden was still a learner!

The other thing you might notice in this unassuming place were the plaques and trophies. Not displayed as you might expect, but randomly placed here and there. Their lack of prominence was indicative of the priority Wooden placed on them. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was not in a frame hanging over the mantle, it was draped across an object on a random piece of furniture the way a 3rd grader would display a 4th place track & field ribbon. No pretense.

This lack of pretense continued as we began our conversation with the coach. He was focused, interested and inquisitive about our organization. We were there to brief him, and we did, but we got in a few questions along the way. One was about his relationship with his players. He told us about the number of players that had chosen to stay in touch. Some called him virtually every day! Forty years after he coached them – they still called.

What was it that created such loyalty, respect and love? Entire books have been written on Coach Wooden; many of them shed light on the answer to that question. But for me, I’m guessing, having spent only a few hours with the man, the answer is rooted in his selflessness.

It’s easy to see the radical affect selflessness in sports will cause. It’s so counter-intuitive to the sporting world that when it’s displayed, it attracts people.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)


Baby Pierce

Today in our blog I want to share with you a post from a good friend, Baby Pierce. His Mom, Lindsay, and I are good friends and I had the privilege of being their pastor during his birth. She helped Pierce a bit with this! Read and enjoy – then pray for both heroes’.

Letter to a football player

If you follow college football, you probably know by now that the Universityof South Carolinasuffered a terrible tragedy yesterday. If you were watching the game, you couldn’t help but be heartbroken as we saw a talented, young football player, one of the best in the nation, Marcus Lattimore take a nasty hit to the knee. Now this injury would be tragic regardless, but the fact that Lattimore had fought his way back from a similar injury last year only to have another major setback. This wasn’t just a set back. Everyone watching knew that this could very well be a career ending injury. We watched as the crowd grew unified in their cheers. Players from both teams flooded the field – all waiting for their hero to arise. And we watched, as Marcus was carted off the field. Across team lines, folks were flooding the internet with support, their hearts broken, for a young man whose hard work and talent seemed lost in an instant.

As you know, we’re not strangers to having our dreams turned upside down in an instant. And so, today, Pierce and I set out to do our part in encouraging Marcus. It’s funny, because it’s probably the last thing I thought I’d ever do- spend time writing a fan letter to a well-known athlete. But I remembered the messages that flooded in when Pierce was so sick. I remembered how much they touched us. And the ones we received from strangers… they were oftentimes the ones that humbled us the most. 

So here it is – our letter to Marcus, from one hero to another. 

Dear Marcus,

You and I are very different and yet so much alike. I’m only 18 months old, but to so many, I’ve become their hero. And yesterday, you became a hero in so many hearts.

When I was born 4 months early, doctors didn’t predict I’d go far. In fact, they only gave me a 5% chance of survival. And then, when I suffered a devastating brain bleed, their predictions for me grew even dimmer. But during my 4.5 month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, one thing became obvious: I am a fighter. And another thing is obvious: you are too.

You see you are a hero, whether you ever make another football play. I’ve found that what defines a hero lies not in his ability to do something. No, a hero is instead found when his character shines greater than his inability to do something. What makes us heroes is not our abilities. What makes us heroes is our strength to rise above the circumstances handed to us, our ability to say “Jesus is enough. He is good and He will give me the strength I need to make it through this trial.” If we do this, we will demonstrate to the world the courage that it takes to face tragedy head on. We will show them that a true hero gives it his all, even if it means he only gains a small amount of progress. Even if it means his goal takes years to accomplish.

Every day I work hard to accomplish goals that come so easily to healthy children. I spend hours in therapy just so I can learn to reach my favorite toy. I have to struggle to get my left hand to work the way I want it. Sometimes I wonder why? Why did this happen to me and why can’t God just heal me and take away this struggle?

But I know that God is using my pain for good. And He will use yours for good as well.

He has given me a new path, one that’s reached so many people that would not have been impacted had I been a healthy baby.

Please don’t let self pity rob you of an opportunity to demonstrate to the world your heroic capabilities. And don’t let it steal your joy. But when you do start to feel that dreaded pity (and it will come), remind yourself that God is Sovereign – that seemingly coincidental and accidental play that was ordained by Him. Just like my seemingly accidental and premature birth was also ordained by Him. And as mad and frustrated as that makes you, know that there is purpose. There is purpose in your pain. There is purpose in my pain.

Maybe one of the purposes for my pain is to encourage you?

As you go forward, remember that people will be watching. They’ll be watching to see how you handle this. Does it end your career? More importantly, does it end your faith? Does it end your joy? Or does it do the opposite- increase your joy, increase your ability to show your strength and make you more than just a football star? What if this injury is the start of a bigger and better purpose for your life?

One last thing: give your mom a hug. My mom is my biggest fan and I know yours is too. And know that in many ways, the pain she feels is far greater than yours. All of her dreams and desires for you, they’ve been devastated and destroyed in the same instant you were injured. But she will be rooting for you. She’ll likely be the one standing beside you, telling you that you can do ANYTHING, go ANYWHERE from here. (We’re all praying that we will be able to see you make more football plays!)

And you can. You can because you and I must cling to the promise that “With God all things are possible” and trust that He is at work in the midst of our pain and suffering.

From one hero to another,