Q & A with Jaroy Carpenter
High Energy Impact
SAGU’s Director of Athletes Outreach
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Hearing Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s athletic trainer Jaroy Carpenter describe himself as someone who “just loves life” is almost an understatement. It’s like calling Richard Simmons vanilla or lethargic.
Carpenter is to punctuation what an exclamation mark is to bang! He’s to adrenaline what Mtn. Dew is to a Junior Higher. Simply put, Jaroy Carpenter is High Energy Impact!
The Director of SAGU’s Sports Medicine wouldn’t have come to Waxahachie bound to the typical job description of an athletic trainer. He does much more than tape ankles, mend injuries and apply Band-Aids.
He also leads a year-round extension of himself as Director of Athletes Outreach through the college. Blessed with a super sense of humor, his newly expanded training room facilities are a popular destination for athletes in need of therapy and encouragement.
He reminds some of the colorful nurse who, when she takes a patient’s pulse, subtracts ten beats due to the effects of her personality.
In his four years on campus, Carpenter has helped athletes from all sports broaden their ministry influence by providing a myriad of venues for them to express their faith.
“Many athletes tell me that the thing they enjoy and remember the most about their time at SAGU and athletics,” he said in a recent interview, “are the times they ministered in churches, youth groups, and schools, while a student here.”
Several Southwestern teams have taken exclusive mission trips. All of the athletic teams are making efforts to include a mission trip with their athletes each year. They have been so well received in churches that more have been added to the fall itinerary.
“Pastors want to take advantage of the ministry our athletes provide,” Carpenter added. “We have also added more Game Day Challenge events and interactive school assemblies. And there are many more who are interested in booking them for next year.”
So effective and popular are the campus outreaches by SAGU athletes that Carpenter presented the Game Day Challenge concept to the Assembly of God’s National Youth Department as well as to Youth Alive for them to consider duplicating.
“They want to package this school outreach for Youth Alive directors and youth pastors to take to their schools and communities across America,” he explained.
SAGU continues to have a great impact across the nation. More summer camps are welcoming Southwestern athletes to lead their recreation and activities programs.
Locally, sixty-five students and student-athletes worked as huddle leaders for the Greater Dallas Fellowship of Christian Athletes Junior High “Weekend of Champions” during two weekends this past February.
They were the largest group of students from one college that has ever participated in leading an event in the history of the national FCA. This has caused the FCA to take notice of the awesome ministry that is working through SAGU athletics.
It speaks volumes about the type of young men and women who don the purple and vegas gold as Lions. Southwestern’s Athletes Outreach continues to grow in using their influence to reach our city, area, nation and the world.
During a recent late afternoon, Jaroy stopped long enough to answer some questions. Provided, of course, that he could sip on a Big Red during what must’ve been a “cool down” stage in his packed daily agenda.
|JAROY CARPENTER BIO|
|Education||BS, MS; Eastern Texas State University|
|Major||Physical Education; Health, Sports Medicine|
|Family||Wife - Kim, Children - Carli, Cade, Corbin|
|Motto||I want to give people a "Jesus they can see", answers they can trust, and a legacy they can leave|
|Known For||Evangelist, Games Guy, and being an Athletic Trainer|
|Favorite Vacation Location||San Antonio, New Braunfels|
|Favorite Book||Anything by Max Lucado|
|Favorite Saying||Get Em' Pumped!|
|Favorite Movie / TV Show||Up, American Idol|
Q: What is your title and what do you do at Southwestern?
JC: I serve as the Athletic Trainer and the Director of Sports Medicine as well as Director of SAGU’s Athletes Outreach. It’s been a great four years, and counting.
Q: What do you like about the athletic atmosphere at Southwestern?
JC: It really is a great competitive, athletic atmosphere with a Christ centered focus. I see our coaches as team pastors.
Q: What is the nature of the ministry teams of athletes you work with?
JC: There are a number of student-athletes that play a number of roles. Together we do Sunday services, teach in Sunday schools, as well as doing Youth services, school assemblies, and Game Day Challenges at schools. Some will handle large-group dynamics as recreation leaders for district summer camps or join a team that ministers on mission trips.
Q: Why involve college athletes compared to other students their age?
JC: Athletes are esteemed in our culture. They have a great platform to give a moral, wholesome and Christian influence in a variety of settings.
Q: What do they do on school campuses?
JC: Primarily, Game Day Challenges. They lead outdoor games for schools and follow it by sharing a character-focused message to the students. Basically, it’s a “field day” geared for junior high and high school students. It’s a lot of fun; it builds community and encourages positive themes.
Q: So the team leads campus games. Like what? And how are the athletes involved?
JC: They are camp-style games that one would play at summer youth camps. We usually have anywhere from 6-20 athletes involved in leading the events and sharing their stories.
Q: What kind of message is presented to the students? Are the audiences secular or Christian? If the team is at a public school, what themes are communicated?
JC: The message we speak in schools deal with choices, changes, pressures, relationships and responsibilities. These are deity-free, positive messages. You might be surprised, but they’re very well received.
Q: How are the messages conveyed?
JC: Through speaking, illustrations, personal stories, and sometimes games with a message geared to issues that particular school is dealing with.
Q: How many athletes have been involved this school year? More from any particular sport?
JC: I’d say more than sixty. As for specific sports, really, each of them are involved.
Q: How long have you been coordinating these events (Game Day) on campuses?
JC: Four years with Southwestern and many before that.
Q: Where did you get the idea?
JC: A pastor friend of mine wanted me to do a Sunday afternoon “FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) styled game event” at my hometown, at Jacksboro High school, on their football field. He wanted me to do games like those we do at camps.
The school’s administrators were there, and they really liked it. They asked me to come back and do one with all their students the next year. We’ve been doing that now for five years. Some of the administrators have moved to other schools and have invited us there as well.
Q: How do you get invited or booked at other schools?
JC: Generally, they call me. Then I let them know what we do.
Q: What if the schools are not open to Gospel-oriented messages
JC: That has not been a problem. Public schools are character-focused presentations. We only speak a gospel focused message at Christian schools.
Q: Do you ever get any opposition?
JC: No, not usually. We do a good job presenting the event and have a good knowledge about our audience. First, the games and competitions are a lot of fun. The messages are like object-lessons, morals to the story, or “What did this teach us?” Short, relevant, then it’s on to the next game.
Q: What are future events that will involve SAGU students?
JC: More “Game Day Challenges” and school assemblies. There are FCA “Weekend of Champions,” camps, Youth camps and mission trips. Southwestern students are great to work with.
Q: What other projects do you lead through Solid Rock Resources?
JC: There is our annual Camp Padre, a week-long Christian summer camp on South Padre Island (June 27-July 1). We also lead short-term missions ventures into Mexico called AIMexico. Plus, we direct illustrated drama presentations at churches, and I speak at camps, conventions, and rallies, etc.
Q: Are there any incentives for students to become involved?
JC: I refer folks to go to www.solidrockresources.com and to click on AIMexico, Camp Padre or other events. That’s where they’ll find all the information on missions trips. SAGU offers a $1,500 scholarship for each student on every trip, up to a maximum of $5,000, all going to those who attend SAGU. The trip is recognized and endorsed by the National Youth Ministries of the Assemblies of God.