Joiner Joins for 2023 to Serve Nashville SC

Nov 11, 2022

TBH, when Billy Cerveny called and told me that he was going to need to move to Jacksonville, FL I was discouraged. It takes a tremendous amount of time, energy, and relational capital to discover, develop, and deploy a chaplain and the higher the level (especially within the elite, professional ranks) the more that seems to be at stake and the more things that could go wrong.

So, fighting back the tears and fears (yes, I believe God is sovereign), Billy and I began searching earlier this year for candidates that might be able to be a fit with Nashville SC. A short list of names cropped up.

“What about _______?” I asked.

“No, I don’t think that person will work because _________,” Billy might remark.

It seemed like our short list was no list after a few weeks of prayer and searching and researching. It’s helpful to have the longevity of a chaplain like Billy. It’s even more helpful to have depth of relationship with some of the people with Nashville SC as an organization, because we have a greater sense of personalities and needs around the club that someone on the outside may not have. But let me tell you, it felt a little dire when we had run through the initial list of names.

Then, Billy remembered a name: Greg Joiner.

“Let me reach out this guy, first,” he asked. “Before we get into a list of secondary folks that we don’t know as well.”

After months of conversations and interviews and parallel processes — it’s my pleasure to announce that Greg Joiner will serve as the next chaplain for Nashville SC of Major League Soccer. Becoming the second chaplain in the club’s history to do so.

So, a little bit about Greg. You can click through to his bio page here.

Beyond being able to rock a bow tie, Greg played soccer at probably the highest level of our current chaplain corps. As a midfielder for the University of Mobile Rams Greg played during his college years, completing a degree in Human Performance and Exercise Science. His post-collegiate work was with Centrifuge Camps where he was a Director and Program Specialist for a number of years before feeling called into pastoral ministry.

He went on to serve at Fellowship Bible Church in the areas of Young Adults and Student ministry for some 13 years before transitioning to his current work with Search: Nashville. Search: Nashville is about looking for meaningful stories and about creating space to having conversations about life and faith. There are many things about his work with Search that make Greg a good fit for consideration as chaplain.

 I love my role with SEARCH because it gives me the opportunity to show up for people in our Nashville business community  and help them navigate the spiritual journey.  The relational and conversational approach fits so well  with the role of chaplain.  I cannot wait to start coming along side players, staff, and coaches with the team.

Greg, on his role with Search and how it synthesizes with the work of a chaplain

Greg will begin his tenure as the volunteer chaplain with Nashville SC as the 2023 MLS seasons gets underway. With the MLS Cup Final happening this past Saturday (LAFC won 3-1), the season really begins now as there will be roster transitions and other moves with an eye toward next year. The teams get set to report back at the earliest time ever in the history of MLS (January 6/7 for most clubs).

2023 will be a year of building trust.  I am praying that God would allow me the opportunity to serve this club out of that foundation for many years to come!

Greg, on his hopes for serving Nashville SC in 2023 and beyond

Please Greg in your prayers as he learns the new rhythms and ways of serving and caring for the people that make up Nashville SC — from the athletes, coaches, staff, and executives as well as their families. Pray, too, as Greg begins to find community and support amongst Soccer Chaplains United — both leaning into the other chaplains and also contributing back into the larger group.

Greg and his family take grab a pre-match photo a few months ago

The addition of Greg to Soccer Chaplains United brings our chaplain group now to 20 strong. And he becomes the third “Greg” currently with the team. We will have to figure out a way to tell them all apart.

Remember, that chaplains with Soccer Chaplains United are ultimately guests and volunteers with the clubs and teams that we serve. Please pray for our work and consider supporting us in our efforts to grow and expand chaplaincy in the North American leagues and beyond.

Soccer Chaplains United is non-profit, 501(c)3 and depends upon the financial support of individual donors and church partners to carry out our work of chaplaincy service across all levels of soccer. Check out our donation page for different giving options and opportunities. Your gifts go to help discover, develop, and deploy chaplains like Greg and to also aid in our community outreach initiatives through our Community Projects program.

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