On the Road Again
February was a heavy travel month — as there is a preseason in sports, there is a preseason in sports chaplaincy as well.
Feb 7-8: Leoti, KS
To begin, a 400-mile road trip out to Leoti, KS for presbytery meetings. As an ordained minister in the EPC (Evangelical Presbyterian Church), it is important to work to attend a number of our quarterly meetings if at all possible. The added benefit for this trip was two fold: a) I got to spend an unexpected amount of time with our new chaplain in Memphis, Greg Aydt. His re-routed and re-directed flight put him into Denver and I had an extra seat. It was a God-thing to get the additional 4 hours on the drive to talk and work through some of the chaplaincy needs of the preseason. b) Soccer Chaplains United was able to have our new introductory video played at presbytery. The video highlights our chaplaincy, counseling and community work and many in attendance commented on the quality of the video and how it conveyed a new sense of the scope of work being done with Soccer Chaplains United.
Feb 19-21: Nashville, TN
I had the wonderful privilege of spending time with one of our newest chaplains, Rev Ryan Doyle. Ryan is getting started with providing chaplaincy for Christ Presbyterian Academy Boys Soccer for the upcoming spring season. We enjoyed a coffee and catch up in the historic Franklin downtown. We shared for a couple of hours on different ideas for the chaplaincy.
While in Nashville, I also got a chance to spend time with our Nashville SC chaplain, Billy Cerveny. We spent time together talking about the chaplaincy issues that will likely be faced this year as the team makes the transition from United Soccer League – Championship to Major League Soccer. Some Martin’s BBQ made for a full day as we also took in the announcement for Nashville’s new logo when they begin play in MLS.
My trip also include some time spent with Nashville Head Coach Gary Smith and his family and an old friend, Pastor Don Diehl. Don was my youth pastor for a couple of years back in high school and early college. We were able to grab a quick breakfast and catch up with each other, before heading off to my final February destination.
Feb 21-26: Charlotte, NC
The longer part of my trip was to take part in the 3rd Summit on Global Sports Chaplaincy. Here, with leaders from around the globe, we worked through the continuing development of sports chaplaincy at a global level. How do we develop chaplaincy in developing countries? How do we equip and support chaplaincy leaders that lack resources? To what level do we try to formalize partnerships and relationships? These were some of the questions and tasks that everyone around the table worked to tackle.
For Soccer Chaplains United, the aims of this group is much broader than our own; however, the global nature of soccer and the relationships that God has afforded me to make over the years has meant that this is a significant conversation to continue to be involved in and contribute to.
I was excited, too, to learn that my hosts were connected to the most recent candidate to emerge for the Charlotte Independence vacancy. I had a dinner meeting with someone from the club during one of the nights where we had some time off from the meetings and then a breakfast the next day to meet with the candidate and speak more about what the chaplaincy with the team looks like.
All in all a full February and many ways in which I was able to see God’s faithfulness in so many ways. Thankful for the many miles travelled and the safety and provision of God.