When the men’s basketball team at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., made school history in bringing home their division’s national championship Saturday, March 24, chaplain Mike Wissink was there. A member of Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Big Rapids, Wissink serves as Ferris’s Athletic Department chaplain. He traveled with the team for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II championship game in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Ferris Bulldogs were seeded number one in the tournament and went up against the number three Northern State Wolves of Aberdeen, S.D. Ferris State won the championship 71-69. This is the first national title in any sport for FSU.
As campus minister Wissink offers spiritual guidance to Ferris’s basketball team and makes himself available in other ways. “In trying to minister to any team I work with, my desire is to be where they are so I’ve earned the right to be heard,” Wissink said.
Head Coach Andy Bronkema is a Christian and encouraged Wissink “not to hold back” in his work with the team. Bronkema begins practice with a thought for the day, inspiring good players to become great players. Wissink then leads devotions, picking up on the coach’s ideas and sharing what Scripture has to say. Before every game, at home or on the road, Wissink leads the team in prayer.
Ferris enjoyed 26 wins in a row to get to the national championship. The Bulldogs and the Wolves were well matched, going back and forth in taking the lead during the championship game. The score was tied multiple times, and Ferris won by one basket.
An ordained chaplain of the CRC, Wisskink’s campus ministry is supported by various Christian Reformed congregations. Other teams Wissink mentors on campus include the football team, women's basketball, women's soccer, women's softball, and women's volleyball.