This week our Chaplain’s Corner is written by Allen Schroeder. Allen is our Boy’s Lacrosse Chaplain and our Head Athletic Trainer. Thank you so much Allen for how much you care for and encourage our student-athletes!
How we can lead our students spiritually
As chaplains and coaches for our teams, I feel as though we have a very specific responsibility of leading our students spiritually. So what does this mean, or better yet what does this look like. Here is my take on what it means to me.
First we must make it personal.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorf rames of your houses and on your gates.”
To me this stands out because we must be very intentional with the way we are. We must be living our lives worthy of our athletes imitation. If we, as chaplains and coaches, want our athletes to act or be a certain way, we must be willing to act or be that same way. We are helping to write the athletes story that they will tell someday. These four years are just chapters in their book, but I hope our time with the athletes can be an important part of their story.
Second we must create a safe place where we can let our athletes question, talk and even doubt.
I think this is probably the most important piece to our chaplaincy. The athletes want to see us as real people and not just someone who speaks at them. I approach my chaplaincy as living life with the athletes and coaches. This creates an environment where they will feel comfortable and will really allow us to get to know our teams.
Finally we need to move them out.
We need to move them outside of their comfort zones and push them to be different. We must help prepare them for a time in their life when they don’t have the life vest of Valor around them. At Valor we talk a lot about grace, but the piece that I like the most that goes along with that is truth. We can show them grace but we also need to show them the truth so when they get out of Valor they understand how to react to situations that may not always go the way that they had planned.
I think there are a lot of ways to lead spiritually but these three are the way that I try to approach my time with my athletes. We may not always do it right but if we can get them to understand God has a purpose for their life we are setting them up for success both in their personal and athletic lives.