As part of Baylor University's seminary, Truett sports ministry students have the opportunity to further God's Kingdom by serving the Baylor Athletic Department. Each seminary student's role is unique, and their tasks vary concerning matters of faith, sports, and life.
Stanton Corely, chaplain for the Baylor baseball team, is directly involved with the team's spiritual life through his role. Corely coordinates a weekly Bible study, has one-on-one meetings with players, and leads chapel services on game-day Sundays.
"One highlight was a specific athlete who reached out to me as his parents were going through a divorce. What we discovered was that God was doing a major work in his life, leading him to a place of conviction, repentance, and salvation," Corely recalled. "It was in the midst of his parents going through a divorce and in the midst of him suffering through an injury that he discovered the goodness and sweetness of God and his need for Him."
In contrast, while Gavin Daniels, volunteer assistant coach for Baylor softball, does not exercise a strictly spiritual role, he does minister to the team through his consistency.
"For me, my ministry with the team is about being present," Daniels said. "I feel called to be a pastoral presence to every member of the team—coaching staff, support staff, players—and this cannot be done without me being present. It is more than just being physically present at practice, games, and team functions, but being present in every conversation and interaction with each person and having an empathetic heart and mindset with each encounter."
Hanna Gilmore transitioned from playing soccer at Baylor during her undergraduate studies to joining the staff while studying at Truett. She was a consistent presence at practices and games and had the opportunity to lead a weekly Bible study with the team. Gilmore strived to be a real friend and resource to the players during her time as a volunteer assistant coach.
"It's been so cool to see Hanna from her freshman year on our roster to graduating and returning a few years later to be on our staff," said Head Baylor Soccer Coach Paul Jobson, reflecting on how Hanna used her gifts to serve the team. "She has a unique personality that is extremely infectious and is a great addition to our program."Also a member of the Baylor soccer staff, Steffen Gawor, student manager for the team, is deeply committed to meeting both the spiritual and physical needs of the soccer team. Gawor is a true servant and tends to tasks such as film, analytics, half-time nutrition, and equipment, He irons out essential details so the coaching staff has more time to focus on game-related details and players can perform to the best of their abilities on the field. Gawor's presence and reliability in the soccer program do not go unnoticed by the players or other staff.
"One of my highlights was to see how a majority of the team came together before the season to put the season in God's hand," Gawor said. "Regardless of what happened, they trusted Him in all of their lows and highs, and at the same time, they worked really hard throughout the season."
Marciel Whitehurst serves in the unique role of student-athlete development coordinator within Baylor Athletics' Student-Athlete Center for Excellence. Whitehurst manages community engagement for all teams, instructs the New Student Experience course, and assist with career and character formation programming. Along with participating in the local church in his personal life, Whitehurst is committed to meeting the needs of the Waco community by planning impactful engagement opportunities that address critical needs and combining the skillsets of student-athletes.
Each of these students has found a fruitful was to use the skills and knowledge they are gaining through their courses at Truett to make an impact in Baylor Athletics. As they journey out from their time in seminary, it is these experiences that will help to equip them for the work God has planned in sport and in ministry.