By Jeff Brumley, originally posted at Baptist News.
John White has competed against some of the world’s top athletes — and ministered to still more of them.
“I raced against [future three-time Tour de France winner] Greg LeMond once and he would never know this, but I beat him in a small race in Ohio,” said White, assistant professor of practical theology and director of the sports chaplaincy/ministry program at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary.
That was back in his college days at Indiana University, when White was a high ranking amateur cyclist. His work as a chaplain since then has reached similar levels, including stints with NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 teams and with the Olympic Training Center.
And it’s been in the realm of chaplaincy that has provided the most sustained challenge for White. Nearly two decades as a sports chaplain did not enable him to achieve what he wanted for himself and his athletes and coaches: A bridge between the worlds of Christian faith and high-end athletic competition.
That 17 years spent in NCAA schools with Athletes in Action, while often rewarding, left him longing for more authenticity and depth in a profession he saw as often too heavy on evangelism and too light on theology.
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