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 firstname.lastname@example.org.