The Power of Athletic Missions

Sports are the predominate religion of the world.

As a kid, I worshipped the God of soccer; all of my time, energy and emotions were consumed by the sport. I knew that the Lord had given me the passion and ability to play soccer, but unfortunately, I thought that gift was only for me to enjoy.

Through the years, I’ve come to realize that when we acknowledge that everything was created through Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1:15-16), we are able to recognize sport as more than simply winning and losing games, but rather a metaphorical bridge to instantly connect people and foreign cultures. And once these relationships are established, the love and grace of Jesus have the power to change lives.

Using sports as a vehicle of ministry helps take the focus off oneself and place it where it belongs: Jesus.

Within Lipscomb Athletics, we believe athletics is incomplete without nurturing the spiritual development of each athlete and person involved. When an athlete realizes that the pursuit of earthly glory never fully satisfies; yet the Glory of God is ultimately fulfilling and ever increasing (2 Corinthians 3:18), the God-given potential in that athlete will begin to emerge and sports take their appropriate place in one’s life.

For many athletes, because of their unwavering commitment to their sport, they have never had the opportunity to combine their passion and gifting beyond themselves. The idea of an athlete using their sport for the glory of God, and to positively influence others is revolutionary; and our initiative within Lipscomb Athletic Missions allows this dream to fully come alive. What started as nine student-athletes serving in Honduras in 2012 has exploded into a pillar for Lipscomb Athletics. Over the past five years, Athletic Missions has mobilized 37 teams and 587 student-athletes and coaches on the mission field. Having personally been involved in athletic mission trips for over 12 years, I am convinced that the youth of today will discover Jesus through sports ministry.

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Host Partnerships are Key

The first step to everything we do is to pray. As we pray, the key focus we bring to the Lord is to establish the right host partnership for each trip.

Once we come alongside a host partner, our goal and desire within Lipscomb Athletic Missions is to stay actively connected to that ministry; continuing to build on those relationships year-after-year. We feel that the greatest impact for the Kingdom will be when we pour into the same communities and people, and allow those relationships to grow in depth. Lipscomb Athletic Missions work with nine host partners domestically and internationally.

These strategic partnerships allow short-term teams to return to the same communities and invest in the same people, and as a result, create long-term relationships and eternal impact.

One example of this is our partnership with Marte Missions, a ministry working to love people and develop future leaders in Jesus’ name in the Dominican Republic. In July 2014, the Lipscomb women’s basketball team had the opportunity to help Marte Missions build a basketball court and work alongside a local church. In December 2014, the baseball team returned to this same community to help build a baseball field and invest deeper in the lives of the locals. In August 2016, the men’s basketball team also helped Marte Missions build a playground and share the love of Jesus with the children and families throughout the community.

“These young people who consistently come and invest in these kids makes a huge impact; the children feel like someone cares for them and loves them,” said Kassie Marte, missionary and host partner. “To have that level of investment, to let them know that someone loves them – we can translate that into God loves you, you are worth something and you have value.”

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Shift in Culture

Within Athletic Missions we work to provide opportunities for our athletes and coaches to participate in the Kingdom of God, living in the unforced rhythms of grace. This way, they see their lives in light of a greater story and become fully alive in the purposes of God. Every person has a significant place in the story.

We believe by embodying the character of Jesus, and participating in the story of God, each person has the ability to flourish.

This is exactly what we have witnessed in Lipscomb Athletic Missions as a result of these opportunities. Not only have the number of trips and participants grown exponentially each year, but the entire culture of athletics has been affected.

“I’ve always heard people saying how they see God working through something or someone, but in those moments it often doesn’t even cross my mind that God is present,” said Cam Miller, a member of the Lipscomb men’s basketball team. “After experiencing a week in the Dominican Republic, and building relationships with the community and with my teammates, I can say with full-confidence that I was able to see God working in their community, in my life and in this team. I have been able to recognize His presence, which has reminded me to fully trust God with my life.”

Our student-athletes and coaches are becoming more aware of God through these opportunities, and as a result, lives are being changed.

We have seen this play out as our cross-country and track program have been serving together for the past seven years in a row, and our women’s soccer program has returned to El Salvador the last five consecutive years. As prospective players are being recruited into the program, having the opportunity to serve on these mission trips with teammates and coaches is a reason they are choosing to attend Lipscomb University over other schools.

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Heartbeat of Lipscomb Athletic Missions

These opportunities reveal how our story is not the only story. The people we meet, the things that happen, the moments we experience; God uses everything to show us how our lives are part of a greater story; His story.

The heartbeat of serving on an athletic mission trip is to know Jesus and make Jesus known.

Since the inception of Lipscomb Athletic Missions, an extraordinary amount of athletes have given their lives to Christ in baptism, many of whom have chosen to do so in direct response to an experience on a mission trip. Our hope is that athletic mission trips will not simply provide a “great experience” for our athletic teams, host partners and people in the designated location, but rather that hope would be restored and Jesus would change lives.

After serving with host partner Project 658 in Charlotte, North Carolina, former cross-country runner Alex Tate comments, “When our trip had come to an end and we arrived back at Lipscomb, we came together to reflect and pray. Klotzy left us with some great last words. He said, ‘The way you feel right now, the way we have been living this past weekend, is how God intended it to be.’ I love these words. This is the only explanation why, after a whole weekend of early mornings, exhausting work, and busy days, we, as a team, felt so fulfilled. Our hearts were full because we spent a weekend living how God intended us to live: loving and serving others. I can’t help but ask myself how euphoric it would feel to commit myself to living my entire life like this. What a perfect note to end on.”

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Christopher Klotz, Director of Spiritual Formation within Athletics

Athletic Missions Summer 2017 Photo Recap

This summer, Athletic Missions sent out 3 teams to serve all over the globe. The volleyball team worked in Malawi, Africa partnered with the Sarah Walker Foundation as well as the Chikondi Heath Foundation. They worked predominately caring for children at the Mtendere Orphange. The women’s golf team experienced their first team mission trip as they partnered with Hope Road in Nicaragua. They were involved in various activities in the community including sports, art, construction, and church programs. The last team sent out was the softball team as they returned to Mexico for the third year in a row. Working alongside Baja Missions, the girls continued to invest deeper into a place they already call home away from home.

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porch malawiAbove: Women’s Volleyball serving in Malawi, Africa.

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IMG_1980FullSizeRenderAbove: Women’s Golf serving in Managua, Nicaragua.

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IMG_1119Above: Softball serving in Baja, Mexico.

Thank you for joining each trip through prayer, generosity, and overall support. We are thankful for YOU!! To learn more about upcoming mission trips, and local outreach opportunities, please contact Chris Klotz at cpklotz@lipscomb.edu

What did you do this summer? (Olivia Doak, Women’s Soccer)

The highlight of my summer was the trip we took to Trinidad and Tobago.

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This summer I’ve had the privilege to live in North Carolina and play for the Charlotte Lady Eagles. The Eagles are a sports ministry that use soccer has a platform to share the Gospel in Charlotte and also around the world. The coaches bring in college aged girls from different universities who are desiring to excel in soccer as well as in their faith. We train six days a week in an academy style environment and play 9 matches throughout the summer. The ministry provides many opportunities for the players to not only  play soccer, but also to transform the way you play and utilize your skills to witness to others about Jesus. They aspire to be a group of Christians who happen to play soccer and not soccer players who happen to be Christians.

Over the course of my time here, I have experienced SMT (sports ministry training), ran countless soccer clinics for kids, help at eagles youth camp, go on tour to Trinidad and Tobago, build incredible friendships, and so much more.

The highlight of my summer was the trip we took to Trinidad and Tobago. Over the course of our ten days on the island, we were able to play and remain undefeated throughout 4 games, including against their country’s U20 and full senior national teams. After the games, we always circled up, gave them a gift, shared about our purpose as a team, and one of our players would share a part of their testimony. We ran around a dozen clinics for kids in soccer academies, schools and orphanages around the area; the kids we met on the island were so full of joy and gratitude. I was able to experience so many inheritances of God’s love for us through the people, my teammates and by the island’s beauty.

I have never experienced the fulfillment you receive from the Lord when you relentlessly seek Him until this summer. I learned so much about who God is and what walking with Him actually looks like.

Many people have asked me to describe my summer, and the best I can do is sum it up to an analogy. In El Salvador over spring break with my Lipscomb team, I accepted Jesus into my heart and got baptized; I feel like I met the contractor (Jesus), decided to build a house (my life), and we made a blueprint. With my time with the Eagles, I feel like I built a strong foundation; a fountain built upon truth that I can continually build on.

I have absolutely loved my summer and time spent with the Eagles. I feel equipped to step back into my team at Lipscomb with a new sense of freedom, confidence and desire to be a better player, teammate, and daughter of God.

 

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Follow Lipscomb Women’s Soccer @Lipscombwsoc on social media
To learn more about the Charlotte Eagles, visit: http://www.charlotteeagles.com/

Summer Mission Trip Recap 2017

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Our mission is to empower the Lipscomb Athletics community to know Jesus and make Jesus known through the environment of sport and utilizing the gifts, talents, and passions the Lord has given our athletes. Thank you for joining us in what God is doing in and through these student-athletes!

Print this as a PDF: SUMMER SF UPDATE 2017_FINAL_

Follow Us: @LipscombFCA (Twitter), @LipscombSFBisons (Instagram), http://www.lipscombsports/spiritualformation

 

Staying is the New Going… Fall Break Mission Trip 2017!

Mission Trip Digital Flyer_Nashville 2017

Join us this Fall Break in Nashville! We will be serving Edgehill Community and Refugees at Fall Festival amongst other cool things! The mission trip is domestic and the total cost $100 which will cover your housing and meals!

When:Oct. 12-15
Where: Mission Trip in Nashville
How: Must register online by Sept. 12th – www.lipscomb.edu/missions and pay a $20 deposit.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU STAY AND SERVE US THIS FALL BREAK!!!!!

QUESTIONS? Email Chris Klotz at cpklotz@lipscomb.edu

 

This is My Calling: Alex Banks, Women’s Basketball

“My heart started to race… this is awesome.” Hear Alex’s story in full, click on the video link below:

Women’s basektball’s recently graduated Alex Banks grew up never wanting to travel out of the U.S. for mission work. The thought of sleeping on dirt in a hut in the middle of nowhere while spreading the Gospel was not on her radar.

After getting to Lipscomb and experiencing mission work abroad firsthand, Banks felt the call to not only continue that work, but to spend a year of her life traveling the world spreading the Good News.

Banks will leave on August 4th to begin an 11-month journey to 11 different countries called the “World Race.”

This is My Calling: Daniel Vieira, Men’s Soccer

 

I was reading The Purpose Driven Life, and as I read “your life is in His hands…” I was immediately at peace. Watch the rest of Daniel’s story here:

NASHVILLE – “My plan was always to go to Europe to play professional soccer or stay at home to play professional soccer. America was never really on my radar. I never thought about it at all.”

Daniel Vieira, a graduated senior midfielder, shares about coming to Lipscomb from South Africa and the injury and financial struggles that followed. Watch and learn about how God stepped in Daniel’s life and led him to find success on and off the field.

Follow Lipscomb Men’s Soccer: http://www.lipscombsports.com/msoccer/

 

Summer Update with Men’s Cross Country Runner Brent Leber

Well, my summer got off to a rough start when I found out that I had been fighting a stress fracture in my lower back for the last 3 weeks of the season. I was down in Nashville when I felt something wrong. I came home and visited an orthopedic specialist who sent me to get an MRI. The scan revealed a grade 4 fracture (the most severe) in my sacrum, which connects the vertebrae in the back to the pelvis. I have not been able to run all summer, but have been able to cross train doing non-impact activities just to keep me sane. I’ve also been working at a local gym part-time as an intern doing any jobs needed of me. This may include putting away equipment, cleaning weight machines, and greeting daily customers with a smile on my face. Other than working and cross training my summer has been pretty low-key.

Through all of my experiences this summer I think the biggest thing God has taught me is contentment.

I just read a verse this morning from Philippians 4:11 when Paul writes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever the circumstances.” Obviously I didn’t ask to be sidelined all summer with a stress fracture. I didn’t ask to be in pain and struggling as I competed at the ASUN championships in Jacksonville.

However, God’s plan is greater than anything I could ever dream for my own life.

As difficult as it is, I have been trying to be content with my situation, knowing that God is leading me through this trial for a reason so much bigger than myself. I’m thankful everyday to have a loving father that cares for his children and hope to continue to try to be a positive person in the lives of so many other people who are struggling far worse than I am. I pray that God can help use me for his kingdom. This pain is temporary, but God’s love and guidance lasts forever.

Brent Leber

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Summer Update with Lipscomb Student-Athletes.

This summer, I had the opportunity to go to Malawi, Africa on a two-week mission trip with the volleyball team. I worked in Blessings Hospital with Jenni Whitefield at the pediatric clinic, along with helping out the surgical team in post-op recovery care on the first day of their trip. From the beautiful sunrises over the horizon, to the smiling faces of the children in Mtendere Village, God was very real and alive during my trip in Malawi.

One thing this trip and God taught me during my time in Africa is that happiness can only be fulfilled through Him.

Worldly possessions will never be enough to live a truly meaningful life, but instead looking to God and knowing He is enough is what will bring fulfillment.

Jenny Phelan

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My summer has been pretty busy. We just had our last summer basketball workout on Tuesday and now I’m at the beach for a week! I’ve spent most of my summer playing basketball and fishing. I have had a whole lot of fun with just hanging out with all the guys! We have some really great guys on our team!

One thing that God has shown me this summer is that He can be seen anywhere.

It does not matter where you are, God will make himself present in your life! I think it is really easy to see the power of God while sitting at the beach! There are so many things about the scenery and the fish that swim in the ocean that just show you how incredible God is. I see God the best when I’m sitting on the beach with a line in the water.  It’s so cool to watch how God paints the sky with all sorts of different colors at sunset here. It has been clearer this summer that God is everywhere!

John Matt Merritt

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Summer Update with Women’s Basketball Player Carleigh Short.

Since leaving school at the end of June I have been working and taking a CNA class at NHC Sumner in Gallatin, TN. I am working as a nurse assistant in the long-term care part of the facility. As cliché as it may sound, after working at this place and meeting so many wonderful people, God is teaching me not to take a moment for granted. We go through life saying, “I can’t wait to…” fill in the blank with anything. In elementary school we couldn’t wait to get to middle school, in middle school we couldn’t wait to get to high school. In high school if we could just graduate everything would be good again, you get to college and find yourself looking forward to when you can just work and settle with a family. One day you’ll look back and you’re in one of these facilities having to be fed by someone else. God has every single moment perfectly planned for our lives and often times we just want to fast forward. Enjoy the moments God has planned for you because I promise you they are so much better than anything you could ever imagine doing on your own. God is teaching me to live in the moment, and puts love unconditionally in my heart for those around me each and every day, and for that I am forever thankful.

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Spring Semester Recap: Spiritual Formation in Lipscomb Athletics

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What a semester and year it has been! We have continued our partnership with Carter Lawrence Elementary after-school sports program with our Lipscomb Athletic teams; we have gone on multiple mission trips; we have grown in community through FCA, Bible studies, and mentoring; and we have seen over 7 student-athletes baptized this spring! Praise Jesus – we are thankful He is about a transformational relationship and uniquely meeting us each where we are!

Click on the link to see our Athletics Spiritual Formation Spring Semester Recap in full:  SF SPRING 2017 recap

 

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This summer we are sending multiple teams on mission trips, if you would like to be part of the ‘sending’ team, please join us in praying! Additionally, if you would like to give a financial donation, please click this link: https://www.lipscomb.edu/giving/loose-giving-forms/student-mission-gifts  (please note what team, or student-athlete you are desiring to gift).

Lipscomb Teams Going:
Volleyball – Malawi Africa
Women’s Golf- Nicaragua
Softball – Baja City of Children

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If you would like to contribute a gift to Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation, that can also be done, and is greatly appreciated! Our entire Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation budget and salaries are fundraised; if you would like to give a gift to this program, please click this link: https://www.lipscomb.edu/gift  (select area ‘Athletics-University’ and then designate ‘Athletics Spiritual Formation’).

In advance, THANK YOU!! We are so grateful for the opportunity to share with you the stories that God is writing in and through Lipscomb Athletics. Thank you for partnering with us in prayer, gifts, and support … You are giving to the Lord, and He is changing lives!!! Praise Jesus! 

Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation Directors,
Chris Klotz & Shannon O’Brien

Website: lipscombsports.com/spiritual formation
Twitter: @LipscombFCA
Instagram: @LipscombBisonsSF