The Institute offers an experience unlike any other program in the country. We walk with Neumann University student-athletes on their journey in collegiate athletics, working to transform spaces and sports activities into formative and transformative experiences.
We go beyond the X’s and O’s of the game, helping student-athletes realize the best version of themselves while connecting authentically with their teammates, their values, and their faith. Through the lens of sports, we challenge student-athletes in ways that provoke deep thought and dialogue. This perspective on sports, developed throughout the college journey, helps set our student-athletes apart from their peers while encouraging them to demonstrate positive character on the field and good citizenship in the world.
So, how do we foster this perspective? Our ministry with student-athletes takes shape in several distinct forms:
Neumann’s Team Chaplaincy Program
Every team at Neumann benefits from the special ministry of a dedicated team chaplain. Our chaplains, all of whom are Neumann faculty or staff members who volunteer additional time for this unique role, help our student-athletes grow in awareness of God’s presence on the field, court, and rink.
Team chaplains support Neumann student-athletes through prayer and encouragement, but perhaps most importantly through their simple presence. They can often be found checking in at team practices, cheering behind the team bench at games, and offering important perspectives through the ups and downs of every season. The relationships they build provide a unique form of friendship and support, different than the role of a coach or teacher, which helps student-athletes see deeper into themselves as they journey through college.
Meet all of Neumann’s team chaplains and learn more about their special ministry here.
At the beginning of the each athletic season, Fall, Winter, and Spring athletic teams, respectively, join together to reflect, pray, and set forth intentions for growth and success for the upcoming year.
Each Athletic Commissioning ceremony occurs in a space that reflects both athletic and sacred pursuits. For Fall sports, that may be on Neumann University’s turf field; for Winter sports, on the basketball court inside the Mirenda Center; for Spring sports, on the Mirenda Center’s track or back outside on the fields. Our intention is to help student-athletes think about their arenas as places of both physical and spiritual growth.
Knights of Reflection
Every Neumann team schedules a dedicated evening of fellowship and reflection. Student-athletes gather with their coaches, team chaplain(s), and the ISSCD’s Coordinator of Institute Programming to share a meal and discuss hopes, goals, and intentions for the season.
These reflection evenings are excellent and much-needed opportunities for our student-athletes to pause and reflect in the midst of what are typically hectic athletic seasons. This “permission” to take stock of both successes and failures, as well as values and goals, often proves to be a turning point in unifying teams and helping them move forward intentionally throughout the year.
Using the leading research-based practices available to sports practitioners, the Institute exposes Neumann student-athletes to comprehensive development of self and team. Organized and facilitated by the Coordinator of Institute Programming, we establish a presence at team functions such as practices, games, and team meetings to observe and determine the dynamics of the team structure and leadership.
Depending on the needs of the individual team, the Institute then customizes a leadership plan that seeks to enable teams to tangibly experience the mission of the University while achieving a competitive advantage over opponents.