Diving Deeper with Fewer on the Hamline Campus
2018 will mark Brian Sheehan’s 16th year coaching football and his third at Hamline University. FCA has been part of his personal faith journey throughout his life. From his high school huddle days, to participating in FCA’s 3Dimensional Coaching workshop, to today. He is currently partnering with local FCA Collegiate Staff, David Melms, to not only be equipped himself to make disciples, but to equip others to do the same.
FCA has played a crucial role in helping Sheehan focus in on his purpose in coaching, “My purpose in coaching is to develop the entire person (spiritually, socially, academically, and athletically) and equip these guys for life after football. We only get four years with our players, at most. And if all they’ve learned from me is how to block, throw, and catch, I have failed.”
Sheehan has adopted a vision of discipleship and multiplication for this team and campus. Two ingredients are key when it comes to making disciples, both of which are evident on the Hamline football team.
There is a difference between good intentions and intentionality. Good intentions usually involve solid thoughts, hopes, and heart, but rarely come to fruition. Intentionality requires action. This is especially true for disciple-making. It takes time and effort to seek out individuals who want more and are willing to set aside precious time each week to pray, study, learn, and apply the Word to their lives in real time. This is what coach Sheehan and his team have done. Discipleship meetings happen weekly, helping players (and coaches) strengthen their faith in Christ and prepare them to share the Gospel with others. They’ve used Francis Chan’s Multiply as curriculum, which focuses on what it means to be a disciple of Christ, how to become a disciple-maker, and why and how to study the Bible. They wasted no time in diving into the book of Philippians together, fleshing out truth and what that looks like in their lives today.
Without relationship, there is no basis for disciple-making. It begins with our own individual relationship with Christ and moves outward to others. Coach Sheehan, along with others, identified a handful of players who were “faithful, available, and teachable” and met them wherever they were at in their faith journey, going forward from there. As Jesus proved with His focus on 12 men and just three in His innermost circle, relationships are given the chance to go deeper with smaller numbers. Hence why the focus on the Hamline football team is diving deeper with fewer. Like with any relationship, trust builds over time and opens up the door for depth and vulnerability – the places we often fear to go, but are necessary for authentic and lasting growth.
With these two ingredients, Coach Sheehan and his players are seeing marked changes in themselves – raw and honest reflection, openness and vulnerability in discussions, and a deeper and better understanding of God’s Word, His love, and His purpose for their lives.
As the Lord continues to move in the lives of these young men, as they grow to look more and more like Christ, they will be able to give away what they have learned – making more disciples who will go and do likewise.
The future is looking bright for Hamline. As Coach Sheehan puts it, “Our hope for the future is to remain obedient to God and be available for Him to work through each of us. We hope that one day all our players hear the Gospel from a friend and teammate, and that it may spread beyond our team and throughout campus.”
Posted on Wed, June 6, 2018
by Emily Werness