20 to Watch For in 2020

Dec 31, 2019

As we come to the close of 2019 and usher in a new year and a new decade, here are twenty stories that we at Soccer Chaplains United believe are worth watching for in the next year and in the years to come. Of course, some of the stories are part of a larger picture, but we’ve come up with 20 (so to speak) and they are not necessarily in any particular order or value.

20 – 14. Chaplains Corps up to 20

Currently, Soccer Chaplains United has 13 chaplains that are serving in different capacities from High School all the way to professional parts of the game. Part of our original vision was for the organization to be at 20 chaplains by 2020 across all levels and we are close to accomplishing that goal. Prayer: for chaplain placements and opportunities in 2020 to go smoothly.

13. Counseling Documentary

Soccer Chaplains United’s counseling division is anticipating the work of a special feature counseling documentary that will highlight the need for counseling and chaplaincy work in and amongst soccer. We are praying and discerning the best course of action with some of the stories and information that we have compiled and are planning the creation of a high-level story. Prayer: for the funding of the project (approx. $10k) and for the subject sensitivity and treatment to be honoring and compelling.

12. Counseling Network Growth

Continuing to grow the Counseling Network for Soccer Chaplains United will be a story to watch for 2020 — as the awareness of more need arises, having the capacity to serve people, even after they have moved on from a particular, club, team, or city will be vital. The goal is to create continuity of care that goes beyond one’s playing days and time in a particular city. Prayer: for the right counselors in the right cities to join Soccer Chaplains United’s efforts.

11. Virtual Chaplaincy

A growing need is for pastoral and spiritual care that is borderless. Especially with the global nature of soccer/football, there are many athletes, coaches, staff, and families that move for the game but lack the necessary chaplaincy and faith support at other parts and points in the world. Developing out forms of virtual chaplaincy support will be vital for the future. Prayer: Creative problem solving and appropriate technology uses and abilities for supporting those who feel “afar.”

10. Chaplaincy Training

While global sports chaplaincy training is beginning to grow and emerge, there is still a lack of resources and soccer-specific training for chaplaincy needs both in the United States and beyond. Soccer Chaplains United is beginning to be involved in developing and creating resources and education for training chaplains today and for the future. Prayer: for the training and resource development to be complementary and cohesive with existing resources and still fill the needs.

9. Travel and Opportunities

2020 alone will have several significant opportunities to travel and teach, learn, and coach. An invitation to teach in India, conference and meetings in the UK, a possible trip to Liberia, and other opportunities are beginning to emerge for Soccer Chaplains United. Prayer: for discernment for stewarding time and resources for the right opportunities.

8 – 6. Multiplication

In terms of fundraising, development, and chaplaincy we can only go and grow as far as the team that we currently have. One of the “in process” prayer and discernment pieces for Soccer Chaplains United as we move into the future will be the multiplication of our efforts across different time zones and regions. Likely, this will look like growing a number of people similar to me (Brad) in my role and focused time and energy. Prayer: for the who, what’s, and wherefore’s of growing the vision and mission of Soccer Chaplains United amongst other like-minded people.

5. Counseling Internship

New for 2020, Soccer Chaplains United is piloting a counseling internship program. We will have a 6 month trial before launching out with all the details, but suffice it to say that our work with soccer and counseling is a unique part of our endeavors and work and has the potential to powerfully help the athletes that we have been called to serve. Prayer: for our first counseling intern and internship program. That the program would work well and we would be able to respond and anticipate needs and adapt to changes and flexibility to push the envelope.

4. New Community Partners and Places

For 2020 and beyond, we are excited to partner with some new churches, organizations and projects that are going to new places in and throughout the United States and around the world. Currently, our Community Projects have touched down in 26 different states and countries around the world. We are looking forward to seeing new places touched with our current partners and with new ones as well. Prayer: for continued gifting and granting of equipment from the organizations that we serve which allows us to partner well with our church and other non-profit partners.

3. 2020 Vision for 2026 World Cup

Now is the time to begin envisioning the future. With the United States, Canada, and Mexico co-hosting the 2026 World Cup there are some exciting opportunities for Soccer Chaplains United to serve in unique, large-event chaplain and counseling capacities whereby the world is coming to our door step. The 2026 version of the World Cup will feature an expanded format for the tournament and likely see teams from countries who have never played on the world’s largest stage. Prayer: that Soccer Chaplains United discerns its particular role and ways to serve as the World Cup comes into the national scene in 2026.

2. Growing Sustainability

As with any non-profit organization, sustainability is key. Changing trends in generosity, charitable giving, generational values and norms, volunteerism, and other cultural nuances are all part of the landscape that Soccer Chaplains United must constantly navigate and negotiate. While some in the space are compromising particular aspects of ministry, Soccer Chaplains United continues to look forward at serving in a shifting landscape and become more sustainable and resilient. Prayer: for trusting in God for the future — His provision for His work; not our own.

1. Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

Well, we started out saying that there wasn’t a particular order or value, but it is critical for Soccer Chaplains United to keep on point for the next decade in front of us. While different opportunities and challenges will arise, key to continuing will be for the organization to be careful to not have “mission drift.” Prayer: that Soccer Chaplains United (as it is today and as it will be tomorrow) would continue to pray much, listen well, obey fully, and exercise faith in serving and loving the people that God calls us to serve and love.

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