Last week we completed our second Global Sports Chaplaincy Summit where we gathered together key leaders of sports chaplaincy agencies from across the globe. Our aim was to discuss how to develop sports chaplaincy worldwide and we had representatives from Africa, Spain, Portugal, Eurasia, Australia, New Zealand, UK and USA. There were two huge encouragements for me.
Firstly, we began the summit with continent wide feedback on the development of sports chaplaincy. It has often been said that the concept of chaplaincy would only prosper in English speaking countries, commonwealth countries or countries with a protestant background. Well our first session put paid to that argument as we heard of developments in Latin America, chaplaincy developing in African nations, and green shoots of growth in areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.
But perhaps the most rewarding time and discussions came at the point where we hit most tension. We hit a brick wall, a point of no compromise, a point where between us we could see no way forward and I thought the dream of working together to serve the sports world was about to crumble. At this heated moment we could have argued, stuck in entrenched thought patterns and defended our point of view. However I saw the complete opposite – brothers caringly listening to each others point of view, submitting to each other, wiling to lay down their point of view for the greater cause. In many years of ministry I don’t think I have ever experienced such a sacrificial, humble response to conflict, and the result?……..We found a way through.
It causes me great excitement that there is a unity together to lay aside egos so that we can see sports chaplaincy expand globally and the world of sport served through the compassion and love of Christ. Lets see what happens…