Tronson had played hockey and track & field at State level in New South Wales, and been a hockey journalist from 1970 for the 'Illawarra Mercury' in Wollongong, then later for 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 'The Australian' and the Sydney 'Daily Telegraph' newspapers. After moving to Sydney for theological college in 1977, he also wrote five books on field hockey.
As a result of these endeavours that he was invited to an international sport mission congress in Hong Kong in 1982. To attend he required good-will from his Baptist denomination and ITIM. Both these organisations recognised that Sport had become a major Australian industry, and he was required to submit an official report on his return.
It was from this beginning that ITIM initiated the Sports and Leisure Ministry, named as such by the then NSW Director the Reverend Ken McDowell. Mark Tronson was given the task of initiating this ministry, and he consequently made appointments with each Head of Church to seek recognition and support for a ministry into Australian professional sport.
As a major step of faith Mark and Delma Tronson went out as faith financed missionaries to fund the Sports and Leisure Ministry as a Mission. After three years of development within ITIM, the sports ministry was released to become a Heads of Churches Ministry in its own right.
Led by the example of the Australian Cricket Board in 1984, professional sporting bodies across the nation adopted chaplaincy appointments. Mark Tronson recognised that the ministry was much more than just providing chaplains, and he developed a specialised ministry for Christian athletes, also a ministry for executives, as many professional sport board members were in the corporate world.
After eighteen years of national leadership in this ministry, the stress became too much for Mark and Delma Tronson. They were released in order to establish Well-Being Australia, a ministry of respite to the Australian Institute of Sport. Mark also retained the Australian cricket ministry.
The end result was 'two national sports ministries', these were the new 'Well-Being Australia' and the continuing 'Sports and Leisure Ministry', which in 2005 changed its name to 'Sports Chaplaincy Australia'.
This process of change and reflection, in turn, gave others the opportunity to see sports ministries expand and grow. In this new year of 2010, it will inevitably result in a multitude of blessings.
The Reverend Gary Speckman who runs Athletes in Action, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, and who also served as a Sports and Leisure Ministry chaplain has in effect further developed the Christian athlete ministry. He also does chaplaincy training seminars for Sports Chaplaincy Australia. His 'Athletes in Action' has now further developed the Australian Rodeo Ministry.
The International Sports-Mission Coalition (ISC) is advertising sports ministry training in Sydney; and other groups, too, have initiated their own sports ministries from the base of a local church or from their own personal convictions.
Reverend Dr David Smethurst, originally from South Africa, developed the David Smethurst Ministries in Australia in 1988. He speaks six languages, provides funding for orphanages in several Eastern European nations, the Lebanon and Africa, and has served as a chaplain at Olympic Games, World Cup of Rugby, Commonwealth Games and numerous other major sporting events.
Like Paul and Barnabas going their separate ways, and in a strange quirk doubling the evangelistic efforts of Christianity in the first century, so too Australia has witnessed something similar in the area of sports ministry since 2000 with numerous sports ministries now operating.
The new millennium unleashed a fresh dynamism in sports ministry.