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


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



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


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.


Spring Semester Recap: Spiritual Formation in Lipscomb Athletics


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



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:  (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


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:  (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: formation
Twitter: @LipscombFCA
Instagram: @LipscombBisonsSF

#ManTime: As Iron Sharpens Iron

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“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”
Psalm 133:1

Man Time this semester at Lipscomb Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) was a night that consisted of half court basketball, chips and queso, and a sincere heart willing to share about a topic that is often hard to discuss. This was a special time where we as college men, got the chance to get to know each other, and hear what it means to be a man of Jesus in our culture, regardless what the world throws at us. As men we must be there for each other to “sharpen” one another, hold each other accountable in the midst of temptation, and love each other as the Lord has loved us.

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We had the opportunity to hear from Evan Loechelt, a fellow Lipscomb Student and a “Lipscomb Lifer” who shared his story about his struggles with pornography growing up. To talk about this with a room full of college men takes a lot of boldness and courage, and I am certain the Lord spoke through him and guided every word out of his mouth. It was such a powerful story of something most men can connect with.


Evan was extremely vulnerable as he shared his story of victory over sexual sin. His life and encouragement was truly inspiring. It gave us hope that we don’t need to wallow in shame because The Lord redeems and forgives. Even though this might be unpopular or hard to talk about, it was an awesome night that each guy learned something valuable from his story.

“I thought it was an awesome night where we just got to spend time together as guys. Sometimes you just need time together hanging out, eating, and playing some games. I know that Evan’s story was exactly what God had planned for that night, and it was really cool to see Evan allowing God to use him in such a powerful way.”
–Chase Hampton, Men’s Cross Country

“What stuck out to me was Evan’s boldness standing up and talking about something we struggle to talk about as men. Making himself vulnerable, he reminded us just how much the Lord redeems.” –Trevor Gold, Men’s Golf

Hebrews 10:23
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who is promised is faithful.”



Written By: Johnny Fredericks, Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation G.A.

#Adulting: Trust the Process

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Despite classes, exams and the seemingly endless opportunities for connections and new information provided on a college campus, an overwhelming reality that hits you as an upperclassmen – and especially a second semester senior, is how unprepared you start to feel for your life beyond undergrad. In my own personal experience as a Molecular Biology major preparing for a career in research, I have found myself expressing the comical frustration of a dichotomy of knowing how to sequence DNA and clone genes but being inept at apartment hunting or creating a grocery budget…

Filing into Ezell chapel on a Tuesday evening with many other ladies in a similar realization, I was excited for a new type of ‘class’ on a very pertinent stage of my life – ‘adulting’ and how to be obedient and receptive to the Lord as life starts a new chapter.


Sarah Hale and Alicia Dalee came to us willing to share their stories and answer many of the questions at the forefront of our concerns. It was inspiring to listen to Sarah share her story of unexpected direction from the Lord, taking a major shift in her career after being a talented prospective and successful manager in the music industry immediately after finishing her undergrad at Belmont University. While the music industry had been her original sole intention, God cleverly integrated opportunities for her to pursue a newfound passion in nonprofit work geared toward ending Human Sex Trafficking, leading her to a new job after her first job fell through suddenly.

While God redeemed what to her felt like a shattered career, she highlighted that the struggle she endured was necessary to fully realize the woman God intended her to be – and where her identity came from.


Alicia offered her experience as well in finding her identity post-graduation, also finding quick success after taking a leap of faith to move to Nashville, a city she had no community in. But throughout the last few years she’s also been learning about herself and who she is in God’s eyes. By letting go of her plan and expectations she is realizing how to operate in peace and trust even when she doesn’t know where she’s headed next.

Amidst their stories there was an almost tangible sigh of relief let out by the girls throughout the room. Relieved at the comfort provided by women a little farther down the road who were not perfect, who had “failed,” but who had still made it and were even stronger than they imagined. There is comfort in knowing you can have wiggle room and success.

Questions from the audience echoed familiar worries experienced in my own recent ponderings:

How do you find a solid, God-centered community after college?

How can you know your dreams/goals are aligning with God’s plan?

How do you budget for groceries???

And amidst practical advice about seeking out financial advising and being sure to live within your means, the conversation echoed three main ideas:

Be vulnerable and prayerful, find your identity in Truths straight from God, and TRUST the plan He has for you.

Both ladies encouraged us to get plugged in with a local church wherever we find ourselves planted post-graduation and to be vulnerable to build new relationships – remaining prayerful that God will open the doors for the right people to walk into our life. Since we are creatures made for community it is so important to find people who can uplift and hold you accountable as new seasons of life are presented.


In both of their stories, Sarah and Alicia both shared how as young adults they had to re-realize where their identity came from. This involved painfully and dutifully relinquishing control over every aspect of their life and ultimately giving up striving for perfectionism.

While the world will tell you that success is worth, as Christians we must seek truth from the Lord for our identity and empty our lives of what we try to control so that we can be refilled by Him alone.

Trust the process. A more than appropriate title for the event as it was a common theme in both our questions and their responses. Understanding that failure is not condemnation and remaining faithful when the answers aren’t clear was iterated not just as circumstantial advice but as inevitable realizations for women transitioning into a new independence. Lipscomb Women’s Athletic Spiritual Formation Director Shannon O’Brien referenced the story of Elisha in 1 Kings who continued the grueling work of plowing a dry field – trusting that God would eventually bring forth His promises; this, encouraging ladies to remain faithful to the Lord and to be diligent in the work the Lord provides, as He too is working out His promises in our own lives, in His own timing.

I personally came away from the event feeling peace and relief – taking seriously their advice to “give myself some freaking grace” because God is simply, “preparing me in my 20s for what He’ll be doing in my 30s,” and I don’t have to have everything figured out yet. I learned to focus on “the Gifter, not the gift” as new opportunities and tasks come into my life and to let go of my control on the plan – to “put down the pen” and enjoy the story God is writing for me.

Ultimately I realized that learning how to #adult isn’t finished after a seminar; it’s not really ever “finished” at all.

It’s a daily decision to be faithful everyday throughout changing circumstances.

Because unique fulfillment and ‘success’ will only come through trusting Him – it’s how we’re designed (in our genes so to speak).


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Written By: Brianne Hoglin , Senior, Women’s Track Student-Athlete


Why I Coach Softball: Megan Smith


Why I Coach Softball:

After my second year coaching, I vividly remember sitting myself down to find the answer to this question. Why do I coach?  I couldn’t easily answer that question at the time, nor had I put much thought into it. The simple answer was that I loved softball and I loved to teach, but I needed a deeper reason. I was at a crossroad of sorts, in that I recognized I had a path to choose. I could either view my players as a means to a professional end or I could view them as young women who needed someone to see more in them than they could in themselves. I could coach simply for where it would get me or I could coach for something more important.

I decided that God had given me coaching as a means for me to make a difference in His world.

With every year that passes, I recognize the great need and the great opportunity I have to make a lasting impact upon another person. I still believe that God put me on this path to bring light. The world of sports is vibrant, exciting, challenging, and uplifting. Athletes learn discipline, hard work, and the thrill of overcoming what they thought impossible. There is so much good in this world! Yet, I see the dark side of this world, too. I see the lies Satan tells. I see the celebration of self over all. I watch as athletes buy into the lie that in order to be strong and independent, they cannot cry or that acknowledging weakness is embarrassing. They crave confidence. They crave assurance. But the world of competition never offers these things, at least not in a lasting way. I watch and hope they ask, so I can help set the record straight. I wait until they are ready to know a better way.

As someone with a degree centered around sport psychology, I am all about trusting the process. I had to choose the process. I had to trust that coaching the whole person would produce better results than only coaching the athlete.

In the process of finding my “why,” I realized that I could not claim Christ but coach for me. If He is everything, I had to let Him have everything. I could not coach as if the most important thing is winning, especially if it’s not.

So I coach process, and hope that I can teach my girls that the process, their mindset, and their perspective can change their outcome.

The older I get, the more I learn about myself and others. I have learned about fear and desire. I have learned about joy and disappointment. I have learned that we all have gifts inside of us that are meant to be used for the good of the kingdom of God.

I have learned that Christ will shine out of me when I use my gift for Him. I have realized we all truly want a purpose, to be part of something bigger than ourselves: a team. I get to be on God’s team. I live out a metaphor of life every day at work.

Every part of the game mirrors real life. I get to teach that to my players. I get the chance to help them develop skills that will impact their lives forever. I coach for that. I coach because I have an automatic platform, and God gave me the gift of teaching. So, I teach. Birds fly. Teachers teach. I bring my talents to Him, and He is teaching me to use them.

I have the chance to make a difference, maybe small, maybe big, but I have the chance. Isn’t a chance all we really want?

And when I get a little lost in the haze, I remember this:  “We were made to respond to inspiration. Everybody wears an unseen sign that reads, “Inspire me.” Remind me that my life matters. Call me to be my best self. Appeal to whatever in me is most noble and honorable. Don’t let me go down the path of least resistance.” –John Ortberg


By: Megan Rhodes Smith, Lipscomb Softball Pitching Coach

Follow The Teams:

Lipscomb Softball

Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation
Twitter @LipscombFCA, Instagram: @LipscombBisonsSF

Join the Team:
God calls both “goers” and “senders” to His roster to be vessels for His Kingdom work to be done. The Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation team,  and all the mission trips the teams go on are supported through fundraising.  If you would like to be part of what God is doing through Lipscomb Athletics, and be part of the “sending” team; this is the link to gift funds to Lipscomb Athletics: (Designate Area “Athletics-University” and then designate “Athletics Spiritual Formation,” or “team of your choice,” or in special instructions box, type in “athletic mission trip- the team you would like to fund, and if applicable, the name of the specific student athlete”).

Thanks so much for being part of the stories of our team, and witnessing what God is doing through the platform of sport.

Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation Team

Lessons Through Injury: Taylor Neuhart, Lipscomb Softball



How God Found Me through My Injury:

Coming into Lipscomb as a bright eyed freshman, I felt like I could conquer the world. I had finally made it. My one dream I have pursued since I was ten, to play and pitch Division 1 softball. I have wanted this dream for so long that after I verbally committed in my junior year of high school, teammates and their families that I grew up playing with told me they have known I would get here for as long as they have known me. As most elite athletes can empathize with, I missed a lot birthday parties, football games, homecomings and prom for softball, but I never thought twice about it because softball was who I was and who I wanted to be.

Freshman year fall-ball was good to start off. For the most part everyone gets an opportunity to play so the coaches can see how people play in game situations while trying various positions and defenses. As fall-ball passed and season got closer it became more apparent that I would be a relief pitcher. We had seven seniors that year and two were pitchers while the third pitcher was a returner who had a great year the year before. When season came around I got to throw two innings in our second tournament of the year and then for the rest of our 55 game season I did not see the field.

For as long as I could remember I have always been, “Taylor, the softball player.”

I worked hard to be one of the best on the field all of my life, and all of a sudden working hard lead me to hanging out in the dugout for an entire season. That year was a huge struggle for me. I thought because I wasn’t good enough to play, people and other athletes were going to think I didn’t belong on the team because I didn’t play; so I went on believing I was a fraud.

Fast forward to the start of my sophomore year I was super excited for the season. Two pitchers just graduated, I played ball all summer and worked my butt off; this was my year. In my mind if I was going to make an impact for this team and it very much felt like a now or never kind of pressure. I killed the beginning of the year workouts, but nearing the end of September something felt off when I was pitching. My control was all over the place and I was slowly losing mph’s. It felt hard to explain to my coach, but when I would release my pitches the release point never felt consistent.

Also at the start of sophomore year the other sophomore softball players and I started going to FCA every week. After seeing the athletes who also went to FCA every week and this relationship they have with God, I started to feel like I wanted that relationship too. After my realization, Ethos (the church I attend in Nashville) had a baptism Sunday where anyone can be baptized. While we were watching these people devote themselves to their Savior all I could feel was a tugging in my heart. It was like this is what God wanted for me, but I didn’t know what it meant. I later was connected with Shannon O’Brien and after talking with her for a while and hearing her testimony I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My parents were coming into town that weekend for games and the timing was perfect, so I was baptized on October 4th at seven in the morning and then headed to the field for a double header.


Pitching still didn’t feel right and finally on Halloween during morning weights I felt a pop as I went to lift a kettle bell over my head. After class I went down to see my athletic trainer to have her check it out. I was “banned” from playing for the rest of the week and was going to go see the doctor (the four days felt like an eternity). After about three appointments, multiple x-rays, MRI’s, steroid packs and physical therapy appointments I was finally given a diagnosis in December. With the diagnosis I was also given a surgery date. Turns out while I was overhead lifting my growth plate broke into my rotator cuff, which then caused one of two tears in my rotator cuff from rubbing whenever I moved my arm, the back of my labrum was shredded (10 anchors later..) and my capsule was too loose. When a doctor who works with a professional football team comments that it is the worst shoulder he has every worked on, you know it’s real.

I was devastated. There went softball. There went my year.


I had the surgery in the beginning of January and sat in the dugout for yet another season. But this time it was different.

During this season where my identity of softball was stripped away from me, God was giving me a channel for my identity to become in Him.

For months I had a hard time praying for my own recovery because softball and my faith still felt like they were in separate boxes and I felt like I couldn’t get my hopes up. At the time it was like if I started to hope, I would only feel worse because recovery is a slow grueling process. And then during a devo I ran across my now favorite verse,

Romans 12:12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

There is no other verse that could help me anymore perfectly in my recovery. I learned that I could be joyful in hope and celebrate my stepping stones of recovery. I had to be remind myself daily to patient because there were definitely some days where it felt like I would never be able to lift my arm again. God’s timing is perfect. And lastly to be faithful in prayer, to learn that I can come to Him with everything and anything at any time was huge in my faith walk. Now that I felt like I could hope, it finally felt like I could pray for my recovery and pray that if it was in God’s will for me to throw a softball again or throw in games it would be for His glory.

Around the time I was figuring all of this out I was reading R.A. Dickey’s book, Wherever I Wind Up, while he was talking with the Rangers when he officially became a full time knuckleballer. He said he left his meeting and was reminded of Romans 5:3-4.

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” R.A. Dickey then went on to say, “Hope is good. Long-term hope is even better.”

I had just found my long term hope and he was right, I finally felt whole and I couldn’t even pick up a softball.

God’s timing is perfect. He found me where I was and used my situation to help me find Him for a relationship and a faith that will last for the rest of my life.

Through my injury I found God and an eternal kingdom.

While I would never wish major shoulder surgery on anyone, I would not change what I have gone and grown through these past three and a half years.

It took 695 days, two surgeries, so many tears, endless prayers, and a grown faith to get back on the field, and I can tell you two things for certain: it was definitely a journey, and God is SO good.



Taylor Neuhart, Senior, Lipscomb Softball


Follow The Team!
Lipscomb Softball Website


Why I Coach Men’s Basketball: Steve Draybn, Sean Rutigliano

Steve Draybn and Sean Rutigliano from the Lipscomb Men’s Basketball team share with us about: “Why I coach basketball?”
Steve Drabyn, Lipscomb Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach
I coach because of the unbelievable impact so many coaches had on me as an athlete. My father, who was a teacher and coach, was at the center of teaching me so much about the game of basketball and the game of life. I was taught about the importance of hard work, discipline, teamwork, handling adversity & success, and so many other positive life lessons. It is my hope that I can have an impact on the student-athletes that I coach.
I want to help boys become men of integrity who are responsible, care about their teammates, and help those around them.
In a society that teaches our youth about entitlement and ego, it is my hope that I can help reverse the trend and teach about humility and earning your keep. It is my job to love the athletes I coach and to prepare them for a broken world where things don’t always go their way.  And finally,
I want to help young men realize that any earthly motivation without having a faith in God puts us on an aimless course that goes nowhere.
We need to first thank God and glorify Him for any earthly success that we have, because He first provided for us.
By: Steve Drabyn, Lipscomb Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach
Twitter: @LipscombMBB @sdrabyn
Sean Rutigliano, Lipscomb Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach
Pretty simple I coach to help other people.
Growing up I think the most influential people in my life were coaches.
They really helped me when things where not great at home and I hope I can help other young people the way I was guided\mentored.  I also coach because of the camaraderie and and the opportunity to be a part of something that is bigger then yourself.  In life having the chance to be a part of a team and represent the name on the front of your chest is something you will never forget.  Coaching is very rewarding and gives you the opportunity to be a part of a family.
 By: Sean Rutigliano, Lipscomb Men’s Basketball Assistant
Twitter: @LipscombMBB and @CoachRutigs

Why I Coach Women’s Basketball: Courtney Locke

Why I coach?

Courtney Locke, Lipscomb Women’s Basketball, Associate Head Coach
I got the itch my freshman year of college playing for Hall of Fame coach C Vivian Stringer. She didn’t just coach, she taught us the game. I would watch film with her when we traveled, tell her when I saw adjustments and many times be put in my place since I was the player (lol).
By my junior year she allowed me to introduce plays to my teammates and they would grill me as much as they could- but I was prepared. Finally my senior year was over, and I decided I wanted to coach. I had a teammate that wanted to go overseas and tryout for the WNBA, so I worked her out everyday after the season until we graduated in May.  Eleven years ago this season I found my purpose; after several coaching interviews, I landed my first D1 coaching job at UTSA.
My college coach instilled in us to never settle for crumbs. To be confident and strong women, and that we could do anything. I have felt that way ever since the day I left Rutgers campus.  I coach to instill those same values in every young woman that I come across. Not that they can just chase their dreams but that they can make them a reality.
To watch a young girl come in as a freshman and to see her grow mentally, physically and spiritually into a young woman ready for the world is why I coach.
 I truly believe with passion, love, grace, discipline, hard work and sacrifice – anything is possible. I hope and pray they know that as well!
Join us for the final game of the season tonight!
Lipscomb Women’s Baskeball 

Why I Coach Women’s Basketball: Natalie Jarrett

Why Do I Coach?

Natalie Jarrett, No. 14, UCLA Women’s Basketball

Prior to my graduation at UCLA, if you were to tell me that I would make coaching my career, I would have looked at you like you had a third eye! My desire to be a coach did not stem until after my first year of being an assistant at a small private school in the heart of Los Angeles. After the conclusion of that season, there was no doubt that I wanted to make coaching my career.

It’s funny, I’m in my 13th year of coaching and my reasons for why I coach have transformed over the course of the years. One reason has remained the same though, I coach because I know the impact my JV high school coach had on me. He was instrumental in my success coming out of high school and was dedicated into pushing me both academically and athletically. He challenged me daily and used basketball to reach and relate to me.


Fast forward to today, I coach because I love this game! I want to give back to a game that has given so much to me.

I coach because I have the ability to mentor young women daily, both athletically and spiritually. I believe God has given me the platform to teach through basketball.

And, while I enjoy the technical side of basketball and teaching players the x’s and o’s, I love forming lifelong relationships.   I coached high school basketball for 7 years and I still communicate with all of them. My players now live in all parts of the world and the irreplaceable feeling to get a text from one of them that they are coming to support me and my team at a game, reminds me why I coach.

I coach to see players transform from innocent young women into confident women. I coach because I love motivating others to do things they otherwise think they cannot do. I love to see their maturation over the course of the years and enjoy watching them grow, both on and off the court and I know my role as their coach is important in helping to accomplish that.

There are so many reasons why I coach, but these are just some of the most important reasons I do!

By: Natalie Jarrett, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, Lipscomb University

Follow The Team!
Twitter: @LipscombWBB



Mission Trip Recap: Lipscomb Track & Field in the Dominican Republic 2017


Before we departed on our trip to Santiago, Dominican Republict his year–our team’s third and my fourth trip in partnership with Manna Global Ministires–I thought to myself, “what an odd group of people we’ve assembled…how will we ever work together on this trip?” I can solidly say that God worked in wonderful ways throughout the trip to bring us together as perhaps the most cohesive mission team I’ve served with!

While a “Disney-esque team-uniting story” is always entertaining and inspiring, the real story of our trip goes beyond that. Near the end of the week, I was starting to think the trip would pass without a “moment” like the ones I’ve experienced in previous years. I had not cliff dived into the Carribean waves, my teammates and I had not fallen ill with a mysterious plague, and unlike my internship trip last summer, I had not contracted Zika virus (praises!!).

As I sat at the hospital with our team leader, Coach Steven Mason, who had whacked his ankle on a rock during a rough hike two days before, I thanked God that I was there only to translate and not as a patient this time around. That’s when things started rolling. Glenn, our DR-based point-person, asked me to go sit in his car in the hospital parking lot while he waited with Steven. You see, the passenger window of Glenn’s car had stopped closing a week before our arrival and we had to have a “vehicle guard” wherever we went. I wandered outside, wondering how long I’d have to wait alone before returning to the team back at the houses.

In an effort to entertain myself, I picked up a book—Max Lucado’s Before Amen—from the back seat of the car. If I had been in the United States (a) we wouldn’t have gone a whole week with a broken car window, and thus I’d have been inside the waiting room with the rest of my party and (b) if I was waiting alone outside, I’d have scrolled through posts on my phone instead of reading. But there I went, flipping through pages and letting the journalist in me ADORE Lucado’s storytelling style. In one chapter, he tells the story of a missionary in Brazil who must pay an unexpected medical bill. The family runs into a debacle with the insurance company (a story hitting close to home as Coach Mason was struggling at that moment to get the Dominican hospital to accept our international insurance) and ends up paying the $2,500 bill out of pocket. Nervously, the missionary drains his account and starts praying for God to provide his family with the money they need. Later that month, he receives an invitation to speak at a conference in Florida—the only invite he receives in his five years of service in Brazil. At the end of the conference, a man hands him an envelope saying he wants to contribute to the ministry. The missionary assumes it will hold $30-40, a denomination many people donate. But what does he find inside? You guessed it: $2,500 exactly.

Lucado then tells the story of a missionary in Africa who delivers a premature baby in rough circumstances. She tries her best to keep the baby warm and alive, but the hospital’s only incubator breaks and the last-resort hot water bottle bursts, too. The baby’s three-year-old sister, in faith beyond her years, closes her little eyes and prays for a hot water bottle and a baby doll. Of course, the missionary just laughs at the prayer, knowing those items would have to come in a package from the United States and she had not received a package in all her years of work abroad. But what do you know! The next day at noon just as things are looking dim for the premature baby, a box arrives holding several treats, the water bottle and the doll. Exactly what they needed.

 Lucado ties the two stories with the “water to wine” miracle from John 2. I’m sure many of you have read it before, but Lucado highlighted Mary’s role in the story in a new way for me. They’ve run out of wine at the wedding and Mary tells Jesus straight-up, “hey son, all the wine is gone.” She doesn’t add more. Lucado notes that Mary doesn’t say, “uh, Jesus, the wine’s gone so could you go accelerate the growth of grapes and then press them into wine to fix this?” She tells Jesus the problem, and then tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. So, they scurry off to fill the urns with water at his request and then BOOM—wine. Lucado challenges readers to bring their problems to the Lord without expectations, like Mary, and watch as he “refills our urns” with not just wine, but the best of it, exactly what we need.

 About then, Glenn came to the car to drive us back to the houses while Steven finished up at the hospital. The previous day, our group and our college friends who live in Santiago had walked around their neighborhood inviting anyone and everyone to a feast at the house. My team of five probably invited around 30 people and I imagine the other groups had done the same. However, we didn’t know how many people to expect, so we prepared for 70 guests.


A little background on Dominican culture: nothing runs on time. Our dinner was supposed to start at 7pm…we expected people to arrive around 8pm. So, when Glenn and I parked at the house at 6:40 and saw 30 adults and children in the yard already, we knew nothing would go as we had expected.

More background: at the beginning of the week, our team sat down to plan VBS for the kids. We settled almost immediately—which NEVER happens when you plan something with a group of 35 people—on teaching The Feeding of the 5,000. In case you haven’t heard the story before, Jesus’s disciples feed an entire crowd of 5,000 people using five loaves and two fishes…and end up with an excess of 12 baskets of food! We taught the VBS twice on the trip, once on the same day as our community feast.


At seven o’clock, we began filling plates. I stood at the pot of beans, ladling generous scoops for the guests outside. Reports came in from servers that far more than 70 people had arrived. The serving line became hectic. “Go faster! There’s lots of people to serve!” “How much rice should I put on each plate?!” “Is this already the last of the potato salad?” Usually in situations like these (a) I feel stressed, (b) I get fearful that we won’t have enough to go around, and (c, the big one) I take a vocal leadership role, directing traffic and calling shots. That day, not so. I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace. I continued spooning the same amount of beans onto each plate, a gentle whisper saying to me, “ask for exactly what you need and I will give you exactly enough.” The stories I’d just read danced through my mind. When I’d read them I had thought they were pretty cool, but almost a little too good to be true. Nonetheless, I stood silently in the chaotic room, repeating to God, “we don’t have enough food here. We need exactly enough.”

I emptied the first pot of beans just as someone announced the arrival of a new crowd. “Exactly enough. We need exactly enough. Here’s our problem, Lord. Take it in your hands.” The room reeled. More panic, more questions. Servers flew in and out of the door as we blindly filled plates for the large crowd outside.

“We’re out of plates and silverware.” From somewhere, more appeared!

I ladled the last scoop of beans into the bowl in my hands.


“Stop. Everyone has food.”

We looked at each other in utter surprise. We estimated, based on the number of cups we’d purchased that we’d served 175-200 people. I still said nothing as my friends began celebrating. It’s like I couldn’t say anything…and as a communication major, I’ve been trained not to be at a loss for words.

Do you know how many excess bowls of food sat on the table in the serving room? Twelve. Twelve bowls of evenly divided rice, chicken and beans. TWELVE.



We walked outside to debrief and I shared much of this story with my teammates through tears. I knew the minute I started talking that I would cry, which I hate to do in front of so many people, but I went ahead anyway.

I am still absolutely overwhelmed by God’s provision, both for our team throughout the week’s adventures, and at our feast. In a world and culture of scarcity (Daring Greatly, Brené Brown) where we often feel like we’ll never be enough, Christ will always be enough and he will give us exactly what we need. He is our Daddy and he loves for us to tell him our problems and ask Him for things, even when we feel like he already knows our desires. The verse I relentlessly prayed during this past summer’s three-week adventure in the DR again rings in my head:

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:24)


Thank you to anyone reading who prayed for and supported our team this year. God is doing great things in the DR and I have been incredibly blessed to witness and experience them!

May 2017 be a year where you see God’s provision in a new way…where you prepare for 70 and he overwhelmingly provides for 200.

227-katie-holding-lil-guyWritten by: Katie Bianchini, Lipscomb Women’s Cross Country and Track


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