Chaplain Spotlight: Marc PorpiliaApril 28, 2015
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How did you get involved with chapels in hockey?
I was a pastor at a local church in Rochester NY for a number of years when an acquaintance told me about the possibility of being a volunteer chaplain for the Rochester Americans. I applied and interviewed and got the position. So I began running chapels with the Amerks during the 2009-10 season.
What led you to join the staff team of HMI?
Although I was on staff of a church serving over 500 people each week, I recognized my heart being pulled in the direction of the hockey players. My church had three pastors on staff and a number of gifted layleaders, but these players had no one. So, sensing the need, the Lord’s leading and the confirmation of close friends I joined the HMI staff in Autumn of 2010.
What is a typical week for you as you reach out to the world of hockey?
Each week I lead chapels for three-four different teams, so much of my time is spent preparing for or delivering these messages. From there, I meet individually with six-eight players each week for individual, intensive discipleship. I also host a dinner each week for those players who are interested. We have had as few as one and as many as eighteen players/coaches/staff/family attend. Add in attending two to three games, dedicated prayer, some admin and support raising and my week is pretty full.
What do you enjoy most about your work in reaching hockey players?
I love the genuine need and receptivity. In a church setting, there are multiple resources and safety nets available to those involved. In the hockey world there are very few so the ministry is crucial.
Is there one highlight you would like to share?
A few players receiving salvation, baptizing two players who attended chapels, and officiating at the wedding of another are some of the best highlights.
How would you describe today’s hockey player?
Half of their lives they’re rock stars, the other half they’re incredibly lonely and insecure. But, in a ‘tough guy’ sport, they can’t show it.
Why do hockey players show up for chapel?
That’s a great question – I have no idea! But they keep coming… J
What does an average hockey player seek in life?
To play in the NHL. Not pro hockey – the NHL. And if they don’t make it, they feel like failures. I’ve noticed that hockey players are great disciples, but have the wrong god. They will give up their lives and follow their god into anything, but their god cannot give them what they need. Only Jesus Christ can. So I try to introduce them to the true God who loves them and can forgive them. Hockey cannot forgive.
How does your wife feel about your work with HMI?
I think she may love it more than I do. In ‘my’ ministry we have found our ministry.