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Sports Chaplaincy

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course examines the biblical, theological, philosophical, and cultural basis for sports chaplain ministry. Attention is given to scriptural principles empowering chaplains to provide spiritual leadership, care, and counsel to players, coaches, and families. Finally, students will evaluate and practice the skills, strategies, and character traits necessary for effective chaplain ministry within the pluralistic culture of sports.



CHPL 500 and 598


Sports chaplains must have a foundation in the theology, culture, and philosophy of sports in order to best understand and minister effectively in the field of sports. Sports chaplains need to be prepared to spiritually lead and address a wide range of spiritual and ethical issues facing players and coaches.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Assess the biblical and theological basis for the sports chaplain.
  2. Compare and contrast pluralism in the New Testament world as it relates to the sports chaplain working within the pluralistic setting of today.
  3. Develop a philosophy of sports ministry based on biblical principles.
  4. Evaluate current issues, trends, and ethics in sports from a biblical worldview.
  5. Evaluate the unique leadership opportunities and challenges of the evangelical sports chaplain while ministering in secular and pluralistic settings.
  6. Develop a biblically based, culturally informed ministry plan within the sports context.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Hoffman, Shirl James. Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2010.

Parker, Andrew, Watson, Nick J., and John B. White, eds. Sports Chaplaincy: Trends, Issues and Debates. New York, NY: Routledge, 2016.

Swindoll, Charles. Hand Me Another Brick: How Effective Leaders Motivate Themselves and Others. Nashville: TN. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word
    5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. Each thread will be a direct reflection of the student’s ministry within his/her chosen sports team (reflection questions provided in prompt). In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.

Shadow Evaluations (2)

The student will complete a 3-hour interview/shadow with 3 chaplains (for a total of 9 hours and 3 evaluations). The student will evaluate his/her shadowing experience. Each of the 3 evaluations must be at least 1,250 words and incorporate at least 2 scholarly citations (in addition to applicable course textbook citations) a conclusion, and utilize a current Turabian format bibliography.


Biblical Nature of Sports Chaplaincy Paper

The student will write a 1,250-word research-based paper that focuses on the biblical nature of sports chaplaincy ministry. This assignment will explore how Scripture guides the sports chaplain in ministry. The paper must include the definition of pluralism, religious tolerance, and diversity as they relate to the sports chaplain working in the pluralistic settings of today. The student must attempt to demonstrate how the New Testament supports these conceptsand discuss how a sports chaplain will minister by cooperating without compromising their Christian faith convictions. The paper must be completed in current Turabian format and include a minimum of 5 scholarly references (professional journals, professional magazines, and books) published within the last 5 years, in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible.

Theology of Sports Chaplaincy Paper

The student will write a 1,250-word paper explaining his/her theology of sports chaplaincy based on the Scriptures. The paper must be rooted in Scripture and supported with sound interpretation and biblical analysis. The student will define sports chaplaincy and discuss the different venues of how ministry could be performed within a team setting, as well as include what he/she believes would be God’s plan and purpose for sports chaplaincy. The paper must be completed in current Turabian format and include a minimum of 5 scholarly references (biblical commentaries, professional journals, and books) published within the last 5 years, in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible.

Philosophy of Sports Chaplaincy Paper

The student will write a 1,250-word paper explaining his/her philosophy of Sports Chaplaincy. The student will answer “why” and “when” ministry is performed. The philosophy must be rooted in the student’s theological and biblical understanding of sports chaplaincy, as well as refer to the Biblical Nature and Theology of Sports papers. The philosophy of sports must intertwine one’s biblical worldview and cultural insights. The student will discuss his/her vision (one’s ultimate ministry goal for that specific team) and mission statement (the steps of how to accomplish the vision) in light of knowing the specific audience, as well as consider data points as the specific sport, ethnicity of the players, gender of the players, and religious background. The student’s philosophy of Sports Chaplaincy will lay the foundation for accomplishing chaplain ministry in secular and sacred sports settings. The paper must be written in current Turabian format.

Sports Chaplaincy Ministry Plan

The student will use his/her desired sport and create a 1,250-word ministry plan for the area of chaplaincy. The ministry plan must reflect the student’s biblical, theological, and philosophical insights of sports chaplaincy in regards to the spiritual disciplines provided and how he/she plans to apply them personally and in his/her ministry. In the paper, the student must also include the nature of his/her calling to chaplaincy or ministry, gifts and abilities, personal values, and what energizes him/her in ministry. This paper must be completed in current Turabian format and include a minimum of 5 scholarly references published within the last 5 years in addition to the course textbooks.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (2 at 80 pts ea)


Shadow Evaluation (3 at 120 pts ea)


Biblical Nature of Sports Chaplaincy


Theology of Sports Chaplaincy


Philosophy of Sports Chaplaincy


Sports Chaplaincy Ministry Plan





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


CHPL 683

Textbooks: Hoffman, Good Game (2010).

Parker et al., Sports Chaplaincy (2016).

Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick (2007).


Reading & Study




Hoffman: ch. 1

Parker et al.: ch. 1

Swindoll: chs. 12

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





Hoffman: chs. 24

Parker et al: chs. 24

Swindoll: chs. 34

Biblical Nature of Sports Chaplaincy Paper



Hoffman: ch. 5

Parker et al.: ch. 14

Swindoll: chs. 56

Shadow Evaluation 1



Hoffman: chs. 67

Parker et al.: chs. 6, 9

Swindoll: chs. 78

Theology of Sports Chaplaincy Paper



Hoffman: chs. 89

Parker et al.: chs. 78, 11

Swindoll: chs. 910

DB Forum 2

Shadow Evaluation 2




Hoffman: ch. 10

Parker et al.: chs. 10, 13

Swindoll: chs. 1112

Philosophy of Sports Chaplaincy Paper



Hoffman: ch. 11

Swindoll: chs. 1314

Shadow Evaluation 3



Swindoll: chs. 15

Sports Chaplaincy Ministry Plan




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.