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How to Break Into Sports Management – Holding a Bible and Theology Degree

In higher ed, sports management is a broad category of studies that encompasses many career tracks including coaching, marketing and directing sports programs. A Bible degree or theology degree can be useful to have when applying to these jobs.

Breaking into sports management as a career is a lot easier when you have the right education under your belt … and that includes a foundation for life built with the help of a Bible degree.

No matter what you plan to do – coach a team, direct a school sports program, lead a sports camp, go into sports marketing – knowledge of Scripture will set you apart.

Surprised? Read on to find out why you shouldn’t be.

It will help you get into Christian programs, for starters.

Let’s start with the most obvious reason. Employers with Christian sports programs or a ministry focus will naturally appreciate that you, as a candidate, desire to join with them in serving Christ.

These are a few programs you might be drawn to:

Youth Sports Ministries

Christian organizations hoping to reach, inspire and teach leadership skills to young people often do so through sports.

Christian Schools

Sports programs at Christian schools need coaches and managers prepared not only to inspire young people to perform athletically but to point them to Jesus as well. 

Christ-centered Camps

Christian athletic camps, even when hiring for an entry-level position, often look for the makings of a future leader. Bible and sports management is the perfect combo.

Churches

Much of what you’ll study in sports management translates well into youth ministry at a church, and the pastor or board considering hiring you will likely prefer a candidate with a strong biblical foundation.

But what if you have your sights set on a job with an organization that’s not strictly Christian? You’ll find your Bible and theology degree will come in handy when pursuing secular roles as well.

Knowing the Word suggests you’re a person of integrity.

Even secular organizations tend to recognize that biblical study at a fully-accredited university instills positive values in students like you. Those values are universally attractive to employers.

Your ability to speak the language of passion in a biblical way will set you apart as you apply for positions in the sports business. While other applicants may be focused on how much money they want to make, your God-given passion to perform with integrity will shine.

Sean McNamara, sales associate for the New York Jets, put it this way

“While some of your friends are making more than $50,000 per year right out of college, [an entry-level] job in the sports industry will come nowhere close to that salary. If that’s an issue, get out right away as you’re likely not in it for the right reasons.”

The “right” reasons have more to do with the kind of achievement you can’t attach dollar signs to. Employers want to know that you will serve the team – everyone from athletes to managers to fans – first. That you’ll give it your all, just as you would playing the game. And that’s how you’ll earn a living.

Service is about making a commitment to put others first and following through. That value is what employers want, and it happens to be a value the Bible teaches us to cultivate as well.

Biblical studies teach you the values of good leaders.

Employers need assurance that they can safely entrust employees and athletes into your care, which your understanding of biblical servant leadership will give them.

There are many secular leadership development programs that seek to give young people the tools they need to advance their sports management career. They help students make connections with industry leaders, match them with mentors and expose them to opportunities.

But networking and gaining knowledge about the industry is not enough. What will set you apart is your deep understanding of servant leadership as exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tony Dungy, former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, wrote in “The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams that Win Consistently”:

“Remember that mentor leadership is all about serving. Jesus said, ‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45).”

If you can speak about leadership from the same place of biblical understanding as Tony Dungy, you’ll stand out among applicants. 

An employer for a secular organization might not know exactly what it is that sets you apart. But you will. It’s nothing you can boast about. It is simply, as the apostle Paul called it, the aroma of Christ.

THE PERFECT COMBO: YOUR BIBLE AND THEOLOGY DEGREE AND SPORTS MANAGEMENT

This is why, at Clarks Summit University, all students majoring in Sports Management will graduate with a double major in Biblical Studies as well. We believe to offer one without the other would be a disservice to you. One is essential career knowledge, the other is the basis for a life well lived.

To maximize your potential to succeed at CSU, you’ll want to do three things:

  1. Get involved with the CSU Defender programs (on the management side). Look for opportunities to support CSU athletics and learn. No need to wait for your first off-campus internship to get hands-on experience.
  2. Take your internship experiences seriously. Gain as many skills as you can in sales, advertising, communications, anything you can later tell an employer you can help out with, even if it’s not your core focus. It’s important to show you’re a motivated problem-solver.
  3. Meet people and keep in touch (networking). Building and maintaining relationships is key. The sports industry is a smaller community than you think, so you can’t underestimate the power of a strong recommendation from someone you’ve worked or volunteered with.

Ready to start pursuing your sports management dreams? Start here to learn more about what it means to embrace the exciting challenge ahead and what it looks like to come out a winner.

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