What's In a Name?
I recently shared with some friends the evolution of Soccer Chaplains United. When I was getting started with the volunteer chaplaincy withe the Colorado Rapids in 2002, I wanted to have something that would help craft vision and mission guide and guardrails. I was reading I Timothy 4:8 — Physical training is of some value, but godliness (or spiritual training) has value for this life and the life to come. That’s it! I declared. We need to be cross-trained. We need to have physical and spiritual training balance.
For me, when I looked at the athletes and others I was working with in soccer, I could see an imbalance — the physical was accentuated and had all the time and attention. The spiritual parts of a person were often left, minimally, underdeveloped. So, with I Timothy 4:8 as a scriptural foundation and the concept of crosstraining (at the time a fairly modern concept of training different aspects and parts of the body to achieve better overall fitness and health) became the ministry name and moniker — CrossTraining.
In 2005, we filed our first non-profit documents with the State of Colorado. We were on our way!
And it worked, for a while.
In 2012, we applied for our 501(c)3. The IRS messed up the way that we spelled and put the word together (but that was ok, to be honest). Cross Training Ministries. We formalized a board, and after the non-profit scandals of 2012/2013 delayed our filing by some 8 months or so we finally received that letter that so many non-profits cherish — we were a bonafide 501(c)3.
Soon after achieving our non-profit status, there was a shift. I am not sure where or how exactly, but things started changing. As an organization we were having a lot of talks — we wanted to be transparent and relevant and connect with the people we were trying to serve. In 2014, friend and chaplain, Ben Dudley shared how the CrossTraining name was confusing and didn’t fit culturally within the context he was working to serve in. The next few years, there was a continuing, growing edge to explaining “CrossTraining is actually a chaplaincy ministry to soccer.”
Things came to a head in 2016. I was sitting with friend and then-chaplain for Queens Park Rangers, Rev. Bob Mayo, atop the castle wall in York, England having a coffee. We had known each other for several years and I was sharing with him about the recent growth with CrossTraining.
So CrossTraining, is this like a Christian CrossFit group?Rev Bob Mayo, 2016 in York, England
The little Ben Dudley who sometimes resides on my shoulder was whispering, “See?” I rolled my eyes and tried explaining once more what CrossTraining was. But now with the craze of CrossFit sweeping the globe, it was a lost cause.
Back in my room at York St John University where the Inaugural Global Congress on Sport and Christianity was being hosted (and I was leading a session), I prayed, Lord, I think it’s time for a name change. To be honest, I think He had been trying to tell me this for sometime — but it was in that August of 2016 that the wheels started to turn.
The reminder of 2016 was a couple of meetings with a branding consultant and talking with our chaplains at the time. We knew that Soccer and Chaplain needed to be in the name. One of our chaplains, Kurt Trempert, advised that we have a three part name. What would be our last puzzle piece? Well, we did what any good group does, we surveyed a select group of folks — from donors, to athletes, to chaplains, and others.
Federation? Association? Consolidation? Consortium? Corporation? No joke — we put a lot out on the table.
In the original survey that went out to folks united came in a stealthy 3rd place. But the more we talked about other options — they seemed sterile, distant, uninspiring.
Being a Manchester United fan, I didn’t want to default or look like a bandwagoning, brand/identity thief. But United was emerging as the truly the last piece to the puzzle.
United: because we all come from different Christian faith traditions.
United: because we all had various experiences with soccer.
United: because we all agreed that chaplaincy ought to be done a certain way — with certain integrity and methods of caring and serving.
And so, in 2017, we rebranded as Soccer Chaplains United.
The decision of myself and the board at the time was to simply change the name in a Doing Business As (DBA) format. We still kept getting offers, inquires, and opportunities from time to time for different types of chaplaincy (different sports) and we thought that maybe keeping CrossTraining as the umbrella might be prudent. But as time has gone on, we have become more and more laser focused. Soccer is who and what we are about.
And so, today, in a filing with the Secretary of State of Colorado. We finally say goodbye to CrossTraining Ministries and move forward into a new time forward with Soccer Chaplains United.
We are thankful to God and the many gracious donors who have journeyed with us along the way!
Soccer Chaplains United is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies on the generous support of individual donors and church partners to carry out its work of chaplaincy and counseling in soccer.
You can give a safe, secure, electronic, tax-deductible gift via PushPay by clicking the button below or by texting soccerchaplains to 77977. You can also mail a donation to Soccer Chaplains United, PO Box 102081, Denver, CO 80250.