The Chiefs, Their Chapel and Chairman
By David Lee Smith, Ph.D
Are you becoming excited about next Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Chiefs? It should be a good one: Both teams marched through their regular seasons, knocking off most of their competition until they reached playoff time, during which they were each undefeated.
As hardcore NFL fans generally know, the Chiefs played eight of their 16 regular-season games and both their playoff contests in Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri’s Kansas City. That venue, one of the most iconic facilities in the NFL, presents a very special opportunity for those attending Chiefs games. Indeed, in 2014 it became the first NFL stadium to host on-site pregame worship services for its fans and foes alike.
A terrific beginning
The services are held in what’s called the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) Faith and Family Chapel in Arrowhead. They were originally the brainchild of Chiefs’ chaplain Phillip Kelley, along with Marcellus Casey, the FCA Metro Kansas City director. Once their concept had coalesced, they presented it to the Chiefs management, who quickly gave them their permission. The services, which consist of prayers, songs, and testimony, begin at 9:30 a.m. on game days and typically last about 45 minutes.
Gaining permission for this vital addition to the Chiefs’ Sunday repertoire was likely something of a snap for Casey and Kelley. You see, Clark Hunt, the team’s chairman and CEO is a devout Christian and has been since he found Christ as a 10-year-old attending a Christian camp.
Hunt and his siblings inherited ownership of the Kansas City team when their father Lamar passed away in 2006. As he said when he was handed a trophy named for his father following his team’s playoff defeat of the Tennessee Titans, “The glory belongs to Him and this trophy belongs to the best fans in the National Football League.” Hunt and his family reportedly attend most of the pregame services in the stadium’s chapel.
Developing teamwide spirituality
The Chief’s star quarterback Patrick Mahomes obviously shares the boss’s feelings. As he told ESPN a couple of years ago, faith has “always been a big part of what I do.” And at least some of his teammates probably share his passion. After all, as Hunt was quoted as saying last autumn in a speech in Tyler, Texas (Mahomes’ hometown), “We want our employees to develop spiritually. In the National Football League, Christ is really glorified. My identity is my faith in Christ.”
So, tune in to the Super Bowl Sunday evening and pull for the team of your choice. Or, if you’re fortunate enough to have one of those $5,400 tickets, enjoy the full array of Miami’s festivities. But should you ever have an opportunity to watch the Chiefs play in their home stadium, don’t pass it up. And while you’re there, check out the services of Messrs. Kelley and Casey before the game.
Pregame chapel services for fans by the Kansas City Chiefs is another fine example of American Values at Work.
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