Men’s Soccer Trains with Army Rangers

To kick off the New Year, Lipscomb men’s soccer decided to take training and team building to a new level. The team drove an hour north of Nashville up to Clarksville and got a taste of the training that our U.S. Army soldiers experience at Fort Campbell.

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After an up and down fall season for the men’s soccer team that ended on an encouraging upswing, the coaching staff decided that taking the opportunity to train with the Army Rangers at Fort Campbell would be beneficial for the future of the team.

“Bringing our group closer together, working on leadership, and really challenging ourselves to be tougher mentally and physically were the three big areas that we wanted to work on.” -Coach Peter Lowry

The team began their challenge at 5:30 a.m. in 15 degree temperatures. The day included a 15 mile course that consisted of 7 obstacles. Coach Lowry described it as “an incredibly impressive course,” put together by the Army Rangers at the base.  Even more impressively, the captain and his officers set up and ran the entire thing with the team. This was even more impactful, considering these soldiers, all around the same age as the players, have all seen and experienced combat overseas in some form or capacity.

When asked about their thoughts on the challenge, junior mid-fielder, Scout Monteith, and sophomore mid-fielder, Kyle Smith had similar outlooks:

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 1.58.35 PM Scout: “When we went there, the most interesting thing about the whole challenge is that the army rangers who were leading us throughout our obstacles were officers. We had the best of the best leading us through our challenge. I think our guys realized these leaders took time out of their day to serve and help us throughout our challenge. If we were on campus doing a challenge, it wold have been fun but I believe this was the reason we went up to Fort Campbell. We went and learned how their servant leadership model was displayed throughout their regimen. Hopefully we will be able to implement some of the things the rangers displayed to us throughout our own team.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 1.58.15 PM  Kyle: “I think the number one thing that I learned was that in a situation like we were in, or just life in general, you are lying to yourself if you think you can do it alone. Yes, this is a cliche saying, but there were a lot of times throughout the Shadow Recon Challenge where I found myself just being thankful for the strengths of the guys in my group and that I didn’t have to do it alone. There were times where I found myself thinking, “I could have done this faster/ better if I was alone.” but then there would be challenges such as carrying large, bulky supplies that would put a check on my pride because I NEEDED the help of the guys around me. There is nothing weak about saying that you need help, and I was really glad that I had the guys around me that I did.

We do this all the time in our normal day life and specifically with our walk with God. We think that we have everything under control until an unexpected event happens and life seemingly gets heavier. God offers to carry our load, but our pride gets in the way of letting him assist us until we hit our breaking point and then all we can say is, “God help!”

Through this challenge, I came away with a bigger sense of team bonding because that’s all that we had. We didn’t have the luxury of being in a comfortable location, nice weather, or even a dry change of clothes, but we had each other. We had to encourage one another and at some points physically carry each other to finish the challenge. On top of that, to get to see the men and women that serve and protect our country was something that helped me to keep pushing on throughout the 6 hour, 15 mile day. They risk their lives so that we may have safety, and that is something I am eternally grateful for, and not something that we would have gotten to experience on campus.”

Since the experience, Coach Lowry says,

“The mindset of our team is already in a lot better place in terms of how we approach work and how we work together as a team. We came to some realizations of things we can do better as teammates– things that make really tough challenges a little bit easier on us as individuals.”

Watch the video of the team training at Fort Campbell:



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Written by: Alex Newby of Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation Team

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5 Athletes of 4 Lipscomb Athletic Teams + 1 Coach


Recap of the Winter Domestic Mission Trip to Project 658

Domestic Mission trips are defined as going and serving within the domestic landscape of the country you reside in. As opposed to what most of us understand as mission trips, meaning you go abroad to another country and serve there (this is what an International Mission trip is).

One of the ways that Lipscomb Athletics has found a way to serve domestically is through partnering with people & ministries who are intentionally serving a need here in America.

Over Christmas break, a small group of athletes representing four different Lipscomb Athletic teams, traveled in a 15-passenger van to Charlotte, North Carolina to jump into the work being done at Project 658. Coach Tim Muller from Lipscomb Cross Country led the trip, athletes serving included Caleb Stubbs and Meredith Kilburn are from Lipscomb Men & Women’s Track & Cross Country, Lee Solomon and Kyle Kemp from Lipscomb Baseball, and Brittany Thomas from Lipscomb Volleyball.

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Primarily, the mission work done by the mission team was blending into the day-to-day activities and providing extra hands and encouragement to the team at 658 in whatever way they could. Some of these things included: childcare for refugee children, Bible lessons, vocation training, cleaning apartments for the apartment complex partner that houses refugees, eating and hanging out with families, participating in a community soccer outreach, and much more.

Coach Muller’s thoughts on the activities of the trip were,

“The coolest thing was to see the center and everything that they are doing. It helped me to gain an appreciation for the challenges that refugees face. Even though they face a lot of challenges, they’re still leading happy lives.”

Meredith Kilburn, a senior cross country runner on the trip said,

“It amazed me that such a great organization was so close to where I grew up, and I never realized Charlotte has such a huge population of refugees. It was awesome to learn about the ways in which Project 658 is improving the lives of members of the Charlotte community and aiding in refugees’ transition to American life.”

Brittany Thomas, a sophomore volleyball player, commented,

“I didn’t know what to think going into this trip. I had only heard great things, so I didn’t see what should hold me back from something new like this. When the time came to leave home a week early though, I did not want to go. I had to just get in the car and drive before I could change my mind. I trusted that God wanted me to go on this trip with this group of people for whatever reason, and it paid off so incredibly. Project 658 taught me first hand all about the refugees, their struggles, their homes, their English barriers, their children, and their lifestyles at home.

There were six of us on this mission team that went. I knew two of them very well and the other 4 were people I’d never met before. My leaving thought after the trip: how did I not know these extraordinary people? I was put to shame on how well I thought I knew my school and my athletic program. It was honestly one of my biggest take-aways: there are amazing people all around us. God is begging us to look up. I tried my very best to do that on this trip with my mission team and the refugees and I couldn’t be more thankful for what I got in return.”


Chris Klotz, shared this thought regarding a trip like this:

“One of the biggest things for me, is the awakening to our souls that we don’t have to leave this country in order to serve on God’s mission. It is an active way of life, and I think that what happens in this ministry in Charlotte is that we see a tangible work of God in this “missionary lifestyle.” This group of guys at Project 658, this is how they live their lives every single day, loving and serving these people that society would call marginalized. And so it shifts our thinking to, ‘I don’t have to get on a plane and go to a foreign country to live on mission.”


It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible.” –Katie Davis, author of Kisses From Katie

How will you live on mission where you are right here, right now?


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Written By: Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation Team Member, Alex Newby

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Lipscomb Track & Field Mission Trip Recap

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Being a part of the Lipscomb Track & Field and Cross Country (XC/TF) team (or any team, for that matter) is something really special. As a former member, I speak from true experience. Most of my former teammates are still my very best friends, even to this day. The bond that is formed between people who are working together whole-heartedly for a common goal, through the lowest hard times and the highest good times is one that is not quickly broken. The strength of this bond doubles when this is also true spiritually speaking.

Arguably, this truth is on display the most when teams go on mission together. The XC/TF team has done this annually over the past 8 years and this winter break was no exception. The day after New Year’s, the group of student-athletes and coaches left the comfort of their homes early to set off for the Dominican Republic. Over the span of 8 days, they partnered with Manna Global in the cities of Santiago and Bobita. This included work with the Manna graduates, serving together in the Santiago and Bobita communities. This is the same ministry that the team served alongside with last year, and it is a relationship that they hope to continue long-term, for the benefit of both parties.
To hear first hand from a couple of the athletes that went on this trip, I caught up with junior track members Katie Bianchini and Abby Newby to get a more in-depth look on their thoughts about the trip:

Question: What were your expectations going into the trip? In hindsight, how did God work in these expectations?

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.46.38 AM  Abby: When I first decided that this trip was something God wanted me to be a part of, my biggest concern was the language barrier. I don’t speak any Spanish which is the primary language in the Dominican. Luckily, the group of students that we were working with from Manna knew English very well. This only helped a little when connecting with people outside of the students, but over the course of the week it got easier, and I even started to pick up on some Spanish. I also was anticipating learning a lot culturally and spiritually from the people in the Dominican, which did occur, but what I wasn’t anticipating was the deep fellowship I experienced serving along side the students from the Dominican. It is the kind of fellowship only experienced when communing around Christ.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.45.42 AM Katie: I expected the trip to be very similar to last year even though that was kind of a ridiculous thought being that we went with a totally different team to do totally different activities.  I thought I would have the same overall feeling toward the trip, though.  When people think of mission trips, they often count “success” in the number of material tasks they can complete like painting houses, handing out care packages, and cleaning out old rooms.  While we did each of these activities on the trip–and each influence me in a different way–God’s real work in my life on the trip came when I was unable to do anything at all.  Throughout my life, God has spoken to me by forcing me to face my biggest worries.  My main concern on each of the three mission trips I’ve taken has been health.  Would I go far away from home, to a different country, and find myself extremely uncomfortable with some unknown illness?  Well, on this trip that’s exactly what happened.  Beach day quickly turned into bed day for me as I lay in the sand fighting stomach pain.  Soon, our trip leader, Glenn, took me back to camp down a bumpy-country-Dominican road.  Meanwhile, he spoke to my friend, Brooke, and I about the possibility of returning to intern in the DR this summer.  Staying in the DR for a longer period of time has been on my heart since last year when we went on the mission trip.  I listened as intently as I could as I combatted sharp pains with each pothole in the road.  The more I wanted to say “yes, of course I’ll come back here as an intern,” the more nauseated I felt.  Glenn asked if we had any questions and I could not speak or even open my eyes. I kept praying over and over, “God, give me peace, give me peace.”

I had been thinking at the beach that I just wanted to go home, but my attitude totally changed as I prayed those words.  I opened my eyes and saw the beautiful, green landscape with the sun peeking through the trees and an overwhelming peace washed over me.  I tried again: “I feel terrible right now…but that doesn’t change how I feel about serving here. I want to come back for sure.”  With that said, I doubled over in some type of spasm, completely unable to speak again.  After a few moments like that, I felt almost completely fine.  I sat up; I was able to talk normally; I had zero stomach pain; my eyes no longer felt heavy with exhaustion.  It was incredible. Although I did fall back into sickness that night, fighting a high fever, I felt peaceful the entire time.  I slept soundly and when I awakened, I was fully recovered!  I had never experienced spiritual warfare before but I believe that’s exactly what that illness was: satan trying to pull me away from loving God’s work in the DR by using my biggest fear.  But instead, I’m overflowing with joy, peace, and trust in the Lord, knowing that I want to return this summer for two weeks or more.

The next day I found Proverbs 16:9 in our devotional guide…

“In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”

which perfectly applies to the trip for me.  I went in never planning for sickness and hoping with all my heart against it, but God had a different plan in mind.  I would repeat that illness on every mission trip from here out if it meant all the other incredible experiences I and my team had could happen!

Question: How does going on a mission trip with your teammates affect your bond both on the track and off?

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.45.42 AM Katie: As a track team, we often see each other at our worst: sweaty, pain-faces on as we run, and tired.  However, traveling to another country for totally different activities as a team provides a really unique opportunity to learn and grow together beyond the way we usually see each other.

How does running for a team that seeks to serve and glorify God first affect your mentality towards the sport and training/racing in general?

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.46.38 AM  Abby: Going on these mission trips is always a good reminder of how little track means in the grand scheme of God’s plans. In my own athletic career, God has opened doors to be able to run at this level, but it is only worth participating in when it is being orchestrated by His will. It is easy to lose sight of this in an activity that is so competitive and often times self-glorifying. That is why I am grateful for a team that gives us opportunities to put God first in order to remind ourselves of what this life is really about, loving God and His people.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.45.42 AM Katie: I think Eric Liddell sums up running for the glory of God best when he says,

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast.  And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

God has used running to take me many places throughout my life—including here to Lipscomb a few years ago.  He’s also used running—or running injuries, rather—to teach me that life isn’t all about running.  What I mean by that is it’s easy to get too caught up in the sport when we spend so much time on it daily, but I know we are called to share His word and His light through this crazy sport we do.  As a team, we want conference, regional, and national successes—all things we can use to show His power in our lives.

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In Spiritual Formation, we believe that the platform of sports acts as a bridge to connect people, and once relationships are established, the love and grace of Jesus has the power to change lives.  Lipscomb XC/TF mission team spent 8 days in the DR serving people in need through helping re-hab their living spaces, and loving on children. God utilized the 8 days to re-hab hearts and perspective.  If you would like to read more about Manna Global and their mission, check out the website at Manna Global Ministries.  To learn more about Lipscomb Track & Field click to visit their website.


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Written By Alex Newby, Lipscomb Spiritual Formation Grad-Student, XC/TF alumni.

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