Professor Hardy’s Ministry as Baseball Chaplain
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” These words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4.8 (NIV) have become even more meaningful to me as I have served as chaplain for the DCC baseball team for the past three seasons.
I love baseball, and the players and coaches I serve love it even more than I do. To play the game competitively at a high level requires commitment and discipline. While we try to remind ourselves that “it’s just a game,” it isn’t always easy to see it that way. Trying to help us keep baseball in its proper perspective, though, is a major part of my role as chaplain.
It’s been my privilege to participate in practices, stand in the dugout during games, and go on the road with the team. God has allowed me to get to know the men who proudly wear the DCC uniform and do their best to represent us well. More than that, though, it has been my privilege to listen to their stories, and not just the ones about baseball. I’ve learned about their lives, both in and out of school.
For just about every one of them, DCC is the last stop in their baseball playing days – days that for many of them go back to when their ages were in the single digits. From here they’ll move on into ministry, business, education, or whatever. I love talking with them, not just about the game we all love, but about the lives they’ll be leading when they’ve put their bats and gloves away and taken off their cleats for the last time.
That’s where reminders such as the one found in 1 Timothy 1.8 become so important. There really is more to life than baseball, especially for believers in Jesus. It’s the message I try to convey to the men God has placed in front of me and the message I trust they’ll be able to convey to others.
One of the greatest joys I have is when players who have graduated return to visit and share with me about what they’re now doing and how God is using them in those endeavors. As I prepare to say goodbye to eight more at the end of this season, I look forward to hearing their future stories, as well.
Gary Hardy is professor of practical ministries at Dallas Christian College and chaplain of the men’s baseball team.