I have had a lot of interesting opportunities in this new ministry. I have tried to share some of them with you through writing. I have a phone that makes pictures. They are not the best pictures, but I thought I would let you see some of them.
I had an opportunity to lead the worship service at the American College Football Coaches Association meeting in Nashville. Some 7,000 coaches attend that meeting. I discovered that college football coaches come in all sizes, shapes and forms. They all are eager to learn new things. It is interesting to note that more and more major college football programs are bringing on board a chaplain. I understand now that 43 Division I football programs have full time chaplains. You would be interested to know that Grant Taft is the Executive Director of the Coaches Association. He is a class gentleman who coached at Baylor. I served with him on the National Board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He makes a strong positive influence.
An interesting aspect of the Coaches Conference to me was these bulletin boards where coaches could come and post their resumes. There were a lot of these boards and a lot of resumes!
One of the interesting things about coaching is the tentative nature of the employment. The coach giving the opening welcome was Phil Fulmer, who had just been fired as the Tennessee Head Coach. He had won a National Championship and some SEC Championships. He almost won the SEC Championship game the year before. The president of the Coaches Association is Ty Willingham, who also lost his Head Coaching job this year. I think it is a true statement that some of the coaches, who are walking tall this year, might not be so successful next year.
I had an opportunity to lead many seminars for pastors and laity. The above picture was taken at a church in Atlanta. I found lay people and pastors to be very open to new ideas and very eager to make the church in which they are involved more effective. Seminars gave me an opportunity to teach on various subjects. The lay people and pastors have an opportunity to interact and to share ideas.
Anne Graham Lotz and her husband Danny offer a weekend retreat for couples at Pine Needles, North Carolina. I was invited to speak. Drs. Gaeton and Cindy Lorino went with Lynn and me to the event. It was good for a board member to experience some of the things in which I am involved.
One of the interesting things occurred when someone asked Anne Graham Lotz if she would share some of the things on which she is writing, speaking, etc. I had four sessions for speaking and she said she did not want to take one of my sessions. When I heard it, I quickly offered not only one session but all that she wanted. She such a powerful teacher!
One of the people attending the seminar at Pine Needles was Bobby Richardson, the great Yankee second baseman. He still holds today the record for the most RBIs in a World Series! Gaeton Lorino has been a big Yankee fan so Bobby gave him an autographed baseball.
There were a lot of outstanding athletes attending that weekend. Along with Bobby Richardson was Clyde King. Clyde played for the Yankees and was manager of a couple of Major League teams, and was recently the right hand man to the Yankees General Manager ???????? Bobby Richardson and Clyde King have 12 World Series rings between them. Here I was trying on a couple of rings. My fingers were hardly big enough to hold them. Bobby gave me a players cap, but not offer to give me one of the rings!
I had a great time speaking at the First United Methodist Church in Monroeville, Alabama on Sunday and Monday. One of the highlights was to visit with a real hero within the United Methodist Church – Miss Alice Lee. She is in her mid-nineties and still goes to work every day. I visited her law office. I felt a little bit at home because her desk was piled high with materials. She has been a real leader in the United Methodist Church in Alabama. An award is given at the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference each year to a woman who has achieved outstanding ministry and it is named the Alice Lee Award.
Alice is the sister to Harper Lee who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee is in an assisted living home there in Monroeville. A local production of To Kill A Mockingbird occurs each spring, utilizing the actual courthouse, etc.
One of the most unique opportunities I had was to preach in a tent revival in Titus, Alabama, which is just north of Wetumpka. Several churches went together.
The tent held about 450 chairs. It was out in a big open field next to an abandoned school. The floor of the tent was sawdust. Different choirs came in and sang. It was a great old fashioned tent revival. They did not bring in hymn books, but instead put up a computer generated power point with words on a screen. Get this picture – a tent with sawdust and power point!
I have had a lot of opportunities with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes programs in universities like Alabama, Troy, Mississippi State, Auburn, and Huntingdon. The above picture came at an occasion when Chet Williams invited me over to help with a special program for a lot of FCA supporters throughout the state. Coach Gene Chizik, the new Auburn coach, and his whole staff came and spent time. They enthusiastically offered their support for FCA. Coach Chizik made a powerful statement in saying that FCA had helped change his whole coaching philosophy when he coached at Auburn about four year ago. Since that time he stated that his first priority in coaching has become the importance of leading young men to a relationship to God through Jesus Christ. His second priority is family and the third is coaching football. He is a marvelous coach and has assembled an excellent staff.