Michael Pailthorpe, SCA’s CEO, shares some insights from his first few months – and some directions for the future
It’s been an incredibly busy first few months with SCA and I continue to be amazed by the dedication of our chaplains, the high regard in which they are held, and the impact they are having in the sporting communities that they are serving.
As we all know we are just scratching the surface in comparison to the massive demand that exists amongst sporting communities for chaplains. It’s an opportunity that we don’t want to let pass us by so we need to gear up accordingly.
My primary task is to set the plan and pull together the people and resources that will enable us to achieve the vision of a chaplain in every sporting community or club that wants one. Having talked to literally hundreds of chaplains, pastors, sporting administrators, coaches, players, and funders the plan is becoming clear. Some of the key components will be;
The effectiveness of chaplaincy at the elite level has opened the doors at a massive scale for chaplaincy at the community level so our structure needs to reflect this. National bodies whilst predominantly located in Melbourne or Sydney are also located around the country as are of course our elite teams and athletes. As such we have divided Australia up in to three zones: North East (Qld/NSW/ACT), South East (Vic/Tas) and Westside (WA/SA/NT). North East will be broken in two (Qld/Northern NSW and NSW/ACT) at some point when we establish a strong presence in South East Queensland.
2. Formation of Teams
We will establish teams of suitable qualified people dedicated to building capacity and resourcing the growth of sports chaplaincy located in each zone, and at state/regional and local levels.
3. Working closely with local churches
We are rolling out a partner church program where we formally partner with selected churches who will host Church Based Teams of Chaplains. That church will be active in identifying potential chaplains, hosting chaplaincy training, connect with their local sports clubs, and provide ongoing prayer support and pastoral oversight of the chaplains. A number of churches are already doing this but we will be formalising this through the Partner Church program and there will be other churches (we have significant interest already) from pastors who want to embrace sports chaplaincy as part of their local community outreach.
4. Sport/code specific approach
Each sport and sporting code is different culturally, and in the way they are structured and administered. We will have a customised approach to each sport both local and elite at a club based level and event based.
In addition to our Church Based and Community Based Teams we will have ‘huddles’ from time to time. These could be zone/state wide, regional or sport specific. The main reason is to share learnings and experience, be encouraged in our ministry and develop a positive and supportive culture. These Huddles happen all over the country and the next statewide ones are advertised in the article ‘what’s happening across the states’.
Our current chaplains will be key to helping us understand the sport that they work in, the opportunities that exist as well as identifying and mentoring new chaplains. They also have great contacts and profile within the sporting communities and of course they have stories to tell that will inspire others. We will be inviting our Chaplains to take leadership roles promoting sports chaplaincy in the sports and codes they represent.
Funding will be sought from partnerships and sponsorships with sporting bodies and codes at the elite level, ClubCare subscriptions, and support for training and membership costs at the local level. There will also be donor events conducted and funding sought from the Christian and business community. Funding will be used to fund the structure that will be needed to coordinate and effectively deliver the initiatives above.
Speaking with most of the state based sporting federations they are wanting chaplains and so are the sporting codes, so the opportunities are endless.
It’s a big task, but like all things it starts with a plan and a dedicated few.
Looking forward to working with you all to see sports chaplaincy grow right across the country.
National Director (CEO)