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Applying the Briercrest Mission to Sports Education

Briercrest College offers its students an unparalleled opportunity to cultivate community by integrating our faith with sport, fitness, and recreation. This intentional community provides a haven for discipleship and spiritual growth in a unique and nurturing environment. Lori Peters describes Briercrest as a greenhouse, which is a place that provides shelter and opportunity for growth. She says this encourages athletes to see their part in the global world of sports beyond what happens on the court, making them ready to disciple the next generation as coaches, teachers, managers, officials, therapists, or boosters. 

Lori Peters on how Christian education provides athletes with invaluable opportunities to succeed on and off the field.

The Value of Education that Disciples

For Lori, Briercrest's mission statement, "Educating disciples who equip the church and engage the world," is reflected in teaching students to engage in the global world of sports. Education that disciples reflects Lori's desire to teach students to see their part on that stage beyond being athletes making them ready to disciple the next generation as coaches, teachers, managers, officials, therapists, or boosters. Lori says, "Sport has engaged the world globally in a powerful way. Giving them formal education to be effective and respected in those roles would certainly fulfill the Briercrest mission in the church, camp, and community settings."

Lori has also experienced times of being discipled through education:

Most of the significant discipleship experiences involving my teachers happened through them sharing personal stories in class and watching them with their spouses and children to see if what they taught was consistent with how they lived. That built trust regarding the other things they taught in class. Two significant mentorship/discipleship opportunities I had were internships for credit under a junior high physical education teacher and the athletic director at Briercrest, which directed my future vocation choices.

Sport has engaged the world globally in a powerful way. Giving them formal education to be effective and respected in those roles would certainly fulfill the Briercrest mission in the church, camp, and community settings.

Lori says that the one thing that distinguishes Briercrest from other institutions is "relationships":

There is a unique and intentional opportunity for relationships and interactions outside the classroom that faculty and students can develop that is made easier in a small, rural community. I was able to coach basketball in both Briercrest's high school and college, plus I played in the college orchestra on and off for twenty years, so I met many students who never took a class with me. I previously taught at a large Christian university, and there were fewer opportunities to see students outside of class since majors were often in separate buildings, so in that respect, smaller is sometimes better!

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Briercrest in a Word: Greenhouse

We asked Lori for one word she would use to describe her Briercrest experience so far, to which she answered, “a greenhouse”:

Dr. Henry Budd described Briercrest as a greenhouse, not a bubble, as some people used to critique it. That’s always stuck with me. A greenhouse is a place that provides shelter from the storm, allows light in for growth while leaves develop and roots deepen, has lots of workers to provide water and food, yet has a door, unlike a bubble, allowing students to come and go while this transformation and transition is occurring. This is what it has been for many, and I trust, for the students who choose to learn and be formed by Scripture here.

Briercrest is a unique place that provides shelter and opportunity for growth while preparing students for what they want for their future. We agree with Lori’s description of a greenhouse because it embodies the idea of Briercrest being a safe place for transformation and transition. The relationships developed at Briercrest create an intentional community supporting spiritual growth and discipleship.
 
 Thank you, Lori, for doing this interview! It was great to learn more about your experiences and how your teaching style shapes disciples. Your passion for education that disciples reflect the heart of Briercrest and its mission statement. 
 

More About Lori Peters

Lori Peters, MSc (College, '98), has taught kinesiology at Briercrest for 14 years. She began her Briercrest journey in 1981 by completing a two-year Bible diploma. At that time, she was named a CCAA All-Canadian but had to retire early due to knee injuries from overuse. She began pursuing coaching and officiating roles at the youth, high school, club and collegiate levels.

Returning to Briercrest from 1987-99, she served in many roles, including administrative assistant to Paul Magnus, Clipper women's basketball coach, league commissioner, and the 1989 Canada Summer Games women's basketball assistant coach for Team Saskatchewan while studying part-time. Lori taught at Trinity Western University from 2003-2008 in the Human Kinetics Department while running the Valley Basketball Academy with her husband, Stan, before returning to Briercrest as a faculty member and academic advisor in 2008. She has been focused solely on teaching since 2011. 

Telling stories can be powerful, so I share mine, bring in current events and have students share their stories, which helps demonstrate how concepts we're discussing in class apply to real-life situations.
Lori's research focus is on "the health-related aspects of physical activity across the lifespan and how we can integrate our faith with sport, fitness, and recreation continue to be the major focus of my research. The sub-disciplines of kinesiology I teach are very dynamic and broad, requiring a significant commitment to stay relevant."
 
She describes her teaching philosophy as story-centred, emphasizing the application of real-life knowledge to her subject material. Lori strives to create a learning environment that is interactive and engaging. Using evidence-based practices, she gives her students the tools they need to be successful in their field:
 

Prior to teaching at Briercrest, my teaching and coaching experiences were a blend of theory and physical activity using a combination of verbal, visual, and kinesthetic teaching methods. The courses I teach at Briercrest are lecture-based, but I try to make learning multi-sensory by adding PowerPoint slides, demonstrations, video clips, small group discussions and labs, which also address different learning styles. Telling stories can be powerful, so I share mine, bring in current events and have students share their stories, which helps demonstrate how concepts we’re discussing in class apply to real-life situations. In some courses, students take on the role of a coach or personal trainer and teach others in the class, encouraging them to understand the material at a deeper level which comes when teaching others. My goal is for students to grasp concepts and understand how it applies to their own lives so they can help others.

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The faculty genuinely care for your well-being and have a professional relationship that promotes learning and openly asking questions.
From the National Survey of Student Engagement 2015 (College)