Recreation chaplaincy serves areas of society associated with leisure activities. Recreation chaplains often serve as volunteers or are associated with parachurch ministries. They are rarely employed by sporting organizations or leisure companies. The majority of elite sports programs in the United States, amateur or professional, are supported by a chaplain. Chaplains provide pastoral care and religious support, such as prayer, leading worship or offering study of sacred texts. These services are offered to athletes, coaches, staff and fans. An example of this ministry can be seen in Martin Dobelmier’s film Chaplains, which profiled Motor Racing Outreach and Master’s Men Racing. While sports chaplaincy is the dominant form of recreational chaplaincy, chaplains also serve other areas of leisure and recreation.

Volunteer chaplains are present in national parks and on cruise ships, offering religious services and pastoral care to vacationers. These positions are often seasonal or for the duration of a specific trip. Chaplains also support those who work in leisure industries. Third Space, a UK-based ministry, offers support to those working in the nightlife industry. Various organizations serving in recreational chaplaincy are highlighted below. If you’ve got more resources you think we should include on this sector, let us know at


A Christian Ministry in the National Parks provides interdenominational worship services and other support in US national parks; “ACMNP has always been a ministry in rather than to the national parks, serving employees, residents, and visitors through interdenominational worship services on Sundays.”

Athletes in Action

Athletes in Action aims to help sports-minded people think and live biblically at the intersection of sport and Christianity. This site represents AIA’s attempt to resource an underserved population—the athlete, coach, and spectator interested in allowing God to shape their thinking in every aspect of life, including their interaction with sports. AIA wants to engage the issues surrounding sport culture by opening a door for thoughtful but accessible Christian analysis of sports. It also offers daily spiritual content for those concerned with the redemption of both sports and those who love them.

Baseball Chapel

Baseball Chapel is an international ministry recognized by Major and Minor League Baseball and is responsible for the appointment and oversight of all team chapel leaders. Our mission is to bring encouragement to people in the world of professional baseball through the Gospel so that some become discipled followers of Jesus Christ.

In the early 1960’s, players from the Cubs and Twins initiated chapel services when they were on road trips. Services were usually held at the team hotel.

In 1973, Watson Spoelstra, a Detroit sportswriter, approached Commissioner Bowie Kuhn with the idea of organizing a chapel program for every major league team. Kuhn granted approval and Baseball Chapel was created.

In 1974 services switched from hotels to ballparks and chapels were first held during the playoffs.

At the start of 1975 all major league teams had a chapel program.

A minor league program was established in 1978 and chapels were first held during winter ball in Latin America. Baseball Chapel is a non-denominational Christian ministry committed to the spiritual development of people throughout pro baseball.

Chapel programs are established for all 210 teams in the major and minor leagues and many independent league teams. Approximately 3,000 players, coaches, managers, trainers, office staff and other team personnel, umpires and members of the media attend each week. Chapels begin in spring training and end after winter ball in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic has concluded. Hundreds participate regularly in Bible studies that are conducted with many teams during the week.

Cruise Ship Chaplaincy

Cruise ship chaplains minister to vacationers and crew members aboard cruise ships. While a number of organizations provide these services, this article from Religion News gives a good overview of the work:

“I just love doing cruise chaplaincy, being around people and talking one-on-one,” [Rev. Donald] Green told me. He has a strong ecumenical bent and spent some of his career doing interfaith work in Pennsylvania, which is good practice for a cruise ship. Part of his job is to cater to the whole spectrum of Protestants – from Lutherans like himself to Episcopalians to evangelical Baptists.

He also participates in Jewish sabbath celebrations, and lends a hand if there isn’t a rabbi on board.

“One thing I’ve always made it a practice to do is to join the Jewish community on Friday night,” he says. He is just there to facilitate, not to lead; he also helps Jewish passengers balance their own religious diversity. “On a cruise like this you will have representatives from all four Jewish communities in America, and you also have Jews from different continents.”

Our cruise through the Panama Canal was Rev. Green’s eighth voyage as a cruise chaplain, and he’s visited a number of favorite ports that he might never have gotten to see otherwise. He was especially fascinated by China – the clouds of pollution, the freshly caught fish, the traffic. And he loved the Baltics and northern Europe, especially Estonia. The longest cruise he’s been on was 35 days, and he’s game for the adventure of even longer ones – perhaps one day circumnavigating South America (56 days) or the entire globe (113 days).

But it’s the people that he remembers most, and he goes out of his way to meet them. Whenever he comes on board a ship, he stops in the medical center to give the staff his cabin number and contact information so he can always be reached in case of an emergency.

Master's Men Racing

Master’s Men Racing was formed in 2000 as an answer to the demand for chaplaincy in racing. Currently Master’s Men Racing operates in NASCAR Sprint Cup and ARCA. Chaplains include Daryl Barker (NASCAR Sprint Cup) and Caleb Higgins (ARCA). The racing circuit provides a unique area of ministry. On the road almost year round, racers and crew need pastoring on site. We provide this as well as shop Bible study for continued growth and development when they are home in North Carolina.

Master’s Men Racing seeks to represent Christ in the racing communities of the world, leading men to Christ and discipling them in Christ likeness so they may experience the abundant life of Jesus and become Godly leaders in their families and communities.

Master’s Men Racing chaplains serve the employees in NASCAR and ARCA shops through weekly Men’s Team studies where we lead the men through Scriptural answers to the issues they face.  Each week our chaplains walk through the shops to engage those who do not come to the study, but still want to talk through struggles and concerns they face.  Our chaplains also perform weddings and funerals for those with whom they have developed a more personal relationship.

MMR chaplains also attend multiple racing events where they have devotionals with race teams, prayer with drivers and crew, and “on the spot” counseling sessions.  MMR’s chaplain to the ARCA Racing Series attends each of the ARCA events holding a chapel service and serving the pastoral needs of the entire community.

Motor Racing Outreach

Motor Racing Outreach is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1988 to serve the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing community.

Over the years, MRO has evolved due to the requests for our services from other forms of motor sports like stock car, motorcycle, and powerboat racing. Our efforts and resources are directed towards four opportunities of ministry; touring series ministry, fan outreach and evangelism, in-homes and race shop discipleship, and lastly, the development of the Motor Racing Outreach Association (MROA).

Motor sports are pressure filled and can place stressful demands on drivers, crewmembers, officials, media, husbands, children, wives and the many other people groups that make up racing communities. For MRO, and those who partner with us, our opportunity is to support these racing communities so that they may enjoy a more wholesome life together and, in turn, become role models for millions of motor sports fans around the world.

Third Space Ministries

UK-based Third Space Ministries offers spiritual care within sports and nightlife settings.