Not 10 days ago I wrote in this column the many Christian outreach activities in Sochi for these Winter Olympics (au.christiantoday.com) These 10 questions are as applicable for these Olympic outreach programs as they were when I did this interview with Richard Pengelley for The Australian Missionary News IPTV. That interview may be viewed on YouTube.
Without doubt, Richard Pengelley in "sports ministry circles" is perhaps best known for his "10 Common Questions for a Christian athlete".
These were first published in Western Australia at a 1992 seminar on Christians in sport and then republished in my 1994 book 'No Orchestra, No Trumpet' which detailed the story of establishing the Sports and Leisure Ministry.
The Appendix Section in this book includes these 10 Common Questions for a Christian athlete. These are available as a .pdf file and readers can have these emailed to them from Well-Being Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
These 10 Common Questions for Christian Athletes are as follows:
1. How do I relate to non-Christians on my team ?
2. What role should /does prayer play in my preparation ?
3. What can / should I do about dirty play ?
4. Should I play on Sunday ?
5. How do I get both spiritual and physical training in ?
6. What are effective ways to witness to: team mates, coaches, opponents, umpires, spectators
7. How do I cope with winning or losing (and do I prayer for a win) ?
8. What priority should sport have in my life ?
9. What do I do about drinking, swearing, dirty jokes, immorality, institutions or hurtful comments (at me or others) ?
10. I often feel alone as a Christian in my sport. What can this group offer me ?
Soon after I founded the Sports and Leisure Ministry in 1982 and establishing Chaplains in Australia's professional sports, numbers of Christians in sport began contacting me and from this, a network of Christian athletes was established.
These athletes had confidence that this new ministry, (as it functioned under the auspecies of Heads of Churches), they would not have their name exploited, but rather they themselves would be pastored and cared for.
In my view after 37 years in Christian ministry in this arena, there is a fine line between
(1) evangelism with a Christian athlete as a "model for the Christian cause" and
(2) abusing the Christian athlete, as that person is a follower of Jesus needing all the support and encouragement as any other Christian.
I tend to err on the side of caution and emphasised the pastoral care role, but having said that, many Christian athletes and coaches have accompanied me over these past 37 years on Country Town Tours. Here they minister to regional and rural Australia through schools, youth groups, prisons, service clubs, sports dinners and breakfasts and the like.
These 10 Questions for Christian Athletes are as applicable today at the Sochi Olympics as they were when initially presented by Richard Pengelley in 1992 in Perth and then published in 1994 in the book 'No Orchestra, No Trumpet."
If you are a Christian athlete and wish to be linked into like minded athletes and enjoy the wisdom of their experiences, contact me at
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at