A chaplain is a trusted, authentic, caring person. They are trained in sports pastoral care to assist sports communities provide genuine care for their members.
Some of our chaplains serve in critical incident sports like Motor Racing, Surf Lifesaving, Hand Gliding, Horse Racing and Rodeo. Many others serve in football and rugby clubs and at major events like Master or University Games.
The common skill is Pastoral Care.
- are volunteers
- are guests of their club
- serve their club with pastoral care
- see their role as an honour
- are authentic Christian men and women
- are trained in sports pastoral care
- commit to a professional code of conduct
Who is Sports Chaplaincy Australia?
Sports Chaplaincy Australia is an Australian, not-for-profit, charitable, non-denominational association dedicated to serving sports by appointing chaplains to sports clubs.
Its mission is to identify suitable chaplains; train them; assist in appointing them, and providing a rich array of resources and peer support to all its members. More about Sports Chaplaincy Australia.
Why Appoint a Sports Chaplain?
A question often asked is “Where does a sports chaplain fit in a club?” “How would it look in our club/community?”
With the many challenges clubs face with mental health issues, depression, suicide, personal loss, isolation, relationship breakdowns and family and personal well-being SCA volunteer chaplains find a very authentic and positive place in most clubs quite quickly. They are not just there for the tough times but for the good times as well. Read The Day We Needed A Chaplain (Ross Stewart).
A range of services a sports chaplain can typically provide include:
- Club-wide pastoral care
- Personal support/Mentoring
- Pastoral and spiritual care and support
- Suicide awareness
- Stress management support
- Crisis management & recovery services
- Home and hospital visitations
- Grief, loss & bereavement care
- Family care & support
- Marriage & relationship preparation and care
- Life skills support
- Debriefing delivery
- Referral support
Referral is a very important part of any sports chaplain. If they are unable to assist directly with these matters they can draw on the experience and skills of the broader SCA network or professional community.
High Performance V Local Clubs: SCA began 30 years ago providing high-performance sport with its first chaplains. We understand this space well. And while the role of a high performance chaplain may differ somewhat to the local chaplain the common quality is to provide excellent pastoral care. This may or may not look the same in both settings.
Some unique aspects of HP sports chaplaincy include, early age elite athletes, performance based identity issues, isolation, privacy, trust, home-sickness, displacement, debilitating injury, heightened negative and positive experiences, utilitarianism, personal and family disengagement, etc.
Similarly local club chaplains deal with broader issues, including community development matters and are looked-to for support by a much larger group of people. Their ability to manage and facilitate referral relationships and connections is critical.
Who are SCA Chaplains?
SCA chaplains are authentic Christian people who are
- Accredited and trained sports chaplains
- Either qualified Christian ministers or lay ministers
- Bound by a Professional Code of Conduct
- Part of a national umbrella network providing support and quality assurance
Requesting a Chaplain
We can help you appoint a chaplain to you club. Our volunteer networks are committed to assisting clubs appoint trusted people as club chaplains.
We work closely with our regional and sports chaplaincy networks throughout Australia. Many of our sporting competitions and leagues also have Senior Chaplaincy representatives or Centre Bounce Team ambassadors who can also assist in this process. Contact our regional or national team.
Appointing a Chaplain
A statement like this is often used to assist the sports community understand the volunteer role.
Statement by the sports club/community
Sporting organisations recognise that sports people are whole human beings. All areas of an athlete’s life, including unplanned circumstances, can and do affect their performance, both on the field and in the public arena. Sporting demands can also have an impact on vocational responsibilities and relationships.
A sports chaplain offers pastoral care for players, partners, families and staff.
– a neutral person with whom to ‘off-load’
– a support for staff as they facilitate and maintain positive, focused attitudes in athletes
Pastoral care happens in an ad hoc, informal way at training and social events, over the telephone, in hospital, or occasionally more formally on the basis of appointments.
Read some stories and case studies here.
A few things to think about in the appointment of a chaplain
- Make sure they are an TRUSTED (Accredited) member of SCA
- Introduce the chaplain to the Board / Committee / Owner and Coach
- It helps when senior club personnel introduce them to others in the club
- Give the chaplain time to connect with people – we usually find it can take a few years to get trusted and well regarded
If the appointment isn’t working out, no fear, just let the appointing SCA representative or a senior Chaplain know and we will assist. All our chaplains understand that their initial 12 months is a probationary period. So please don’t hesitate to talk to us about this.
How can I be a Chaplain?
Pathways into Sports Chaplaincy
If you would like to be a sports chaplain, or if a club or sports official has approached you about it, we invite you to apply for your membership credentials with SCA. This gives you a great start to your chaplaincy and is important to both the sports industry and as a local church member. Download your Application here.
SCA enjoys strong backing from many national bodies like CAMS, AFL, NRL and the AIS, which stems from over 30 years of dedicated and trusted service. This support is also driving requests for thousands more chaplains in local sport. Read a Club Chairman’s Letter here.
Being an accredited chaplain with SCA gives you the peace of mind and confidence of partnering with a ministry network that focuses on competency, character and accountability while offering the freedom and opportunities afforded of a national chaplaincy support network.
Local Church Pastoral Leaders Make Great Chaplains
At first, only Christian clergy were sports chaplains, but now many chaplains come from local churches where they serve as pastoral leaders or group leaders. Find out more ‘How to get accredited’ with Sports Chaplaincy Australia here.
How are we Responding to the Demand for Sports Chaplains?
SCA doesn’t work alone. We work with partner agencies and church networks to respond to the huge demand for sports chaplains.
Like in footy, we start the game with a small group of people before the rest of the team engages. SCA has its own take on a Centre Bounce Team (CBT).
Read more here.