Fall 2022

At Baylor’s Truett Seminary, A Center for Christian Sports Leaders

In March 2021, Baylor’s Truett Seminary officially launched the Faith & Sports Institute (FSI), following 10 years of progress in developing leaders in sports ministry. Under the direction of John B. White, PhD, and Cindy White, adjunct professor of sports chaplaincy, FSI fosters the thoughtful integration of faith and sports through four primary initiatives — a graduate degree program, an online certificate program, a high school retreat and the development of research and resources.

Faith and Sports InstituteAlready, many athletes, coaches, ministers and scholars have engaged with the Faith & Sports Institute and found a unique hub of resources and opportunities at the intersection of faith and sports.

One of those people is Josh Ehambe, a graduate student in FSI’s Sports Ministry Program. When repeated injuries forced his retirement from playing football for the University of Kansas, Ehambe began an internship with the school’s student-athlete development department. His internship supervisor sent him to attend the Black Student Athletes Summit in Austin, Texas, where he unexpectedly met Dr. John White.

After sharing his story with Dr. White — of his struggles with losing his identity in sports and the hope he now found in Jesus alone — the professor invited and encouraged Ehambe to come and study in the sports ministry program at Baylor. Ehambe is now pursuing his Master of Divinity degree at Truett and serving as an assistant chaplain with Baylor football, men’s basketball and men’s track.

“The Sports Ministry Program has been phenomenal,” Ehambe explains. “The FSI program teaches us how to honor God with sport, how to incorporate our faith within sport, how to compete against our opponent — not to beat them down, but to bring out the best in them, to bring out the gifts that God has placed in them.”

Another sports leader who has connected with FSI is Jessika Caldwell, the girls basketball head coach at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Caldwell played basketball for Baylor from 2000-04 under coach Kim Mulkey. A few years ago, she found an opportunity to study through Baylor again when Caldwell searched for resources to help her create a spiritual development curriculum for Valor’s coaches and chaplains.

During her search, Caldwell discovered the Faith & Sports Institute. A friendship with Cindy White soon developed, and Caldwell found herself not only with new collaborative support as she created her curriculum, but also engaged with the Online Certificate Program and hosting the FSI team in Colorado for a one-day “sprint” version of the High School Retreat.

“What’s been such a blessing to me is that I never anticipated being back in the classroom setting,” Caldwell said. “Not only am I a coach, but I work in a school, I’m a mom of three, I’m a wife, and so thinking about going back into a classroom felt unimaginable. But this opportunity with the certificate program to be online and have flexibility with the modules while still having that community connection with people all across the world has really ignited a sweet love for learning.”

Caldwell and Ehambe are simply two examples of people within sports who have been able to learn and grow with FSI’s programs. With a brand-new online MA in Theology and Sports Studies degree joining FSI’s other offerings, the opportunities continue to expand, as FSI seeks to help Christian leaders in the sports world think deep, lead strong and run the race well.

This article is adapted from “Stories from the Faith and Sports Institute,” an article published in the 2021-22 issue of Truett Seminary’s The Cord magazine. To read the full version of the original article, click here.

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