On the Ending of The Sports Ministry Major

by Tyler Brown, correspondent 

There’s one question people I’ve just met ask that I think about frequently: “Why did you come to Moody?” In November of 2014, after hearing about Moody at a Christian college fair, I came to Chicago for Day One. I don’t remember what class I sat in on, or whether the students cheered loudly during chapel as is custom. I don’t remember much from that day besides two conversations I had that made me sure Moody was the right choice.

That cold Friday I met Taylor Baird, who now is a student here. Taylor and I were in the same tour group and we got to talking. Sometime during our conversation, he suggested I look into the bachelor of arts in sports ministry as I had mentioned I was unsure what God wanted me to do. Later that day as my parents and I were walking through the Commons to head home we ran into Pat Friedline, who was gracious enough to talk with us for a few minutes. At the end of our discussion he also suggested I look into sports ministry.

While these two comments may seem like a small thing, they came at a time in which I was intently listening for God’s voice. Prior to this visit I was unsure what God had in store for me. On the drive up I had asked God to give me guidance. These two conversations gave me the guidance I had requested. It was these two conversations that made it evident to me what God wanted to do in my life. It is these two conversations I go back to when I question whether I am still supposed to be at Moody.

On Thursday, Jan. 19 those of us in the sports ministry program found out that a decision was made in the fall to cut the program. Our program head, Coach Daniel Dunn, told us he walked into a meeting and was told classes need to be finished by the Spring of 2018. While everyone will still be able to graduate as a sports ministry major, incoming students can no longer get into the program. This is what bothers those of us in the major.

My story is not unique. There are others in this program that felt a lack of direction before hearing about sports ministry. We want conversations like the ones I had with Taylor and Pat to be able to continue. We want others to be able to get an education in how to efficiently use sports in service to our King. We believe that sports opens the door to have conversations that would not otherwise happen, such as one that happened around two weeks ago.

I decided to play ultimate with a dozen other students over at Seward Park. For the two hours we played I didn’t pay much attention to the flow of other people walking around the park. There was one man, however, who got up to help us get the disc when we had thrown it out of bounds. After we finished playing, a couple of my friends and I asked the man if he would like to throw with us for a few minutes. We eventually found out the man’s name was Lemont. He told us his mother actually attended Moody, and that he is a believer but hasn’t been attending church consistently. After pointing him to The Moody Church and praying with and for him, we headed back to campus.

These are the moments I look forward to as a sports minister. These are the moments I am preparing for in the future. These are the moments that the other students and I and faculty in the sports ministry program want future students to be able to prepare for as well.

We believe there is still hope for changing the decision to cut this program. I ask each of you to reflect on what it was that brought you to Moody. I humbly ask each of you to put yourselves in our shoes and think about what you would do if your program was cut. I ask that you be willing to stand up for the sports ministry major. Come to the game room Friday, Feb. 3 between 6 and 9 p.m. and sign a petition to keep the sports ministry program.

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