When Brandon Cash (M.Div. ’98) graduated with a degree from Biola’s Talbot School of Theology, he thought his days in the athletic sphere were over.
Before coming to college he had dreamed of becoming a professional golfer, but after recommitting to his faith, he decided to devote his life to church ministry. Little did he know, he would one day return to the field of athletics, just not in the way he originally imagined.
This time, it would be as the chaplain for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For Cash, much of his connection with the Dodgers can be tied back to his church’s proximity to several local sports arenas. His church, Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, is located a half-mile from where the Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers practice. Several years ago, after he developed a friendship with one of the Kings’ trainers, the two began a Bible study with a few Kings players, which eventually branched out and grew to include one of the members of the Lakers, who had begun attending Oceanside. And so began Cash’s work with professional athletes. Soon, the ministry in charge of appointing chaplains for professional baseball teams, Baseball Chapel, reached out to Cash about a more formal role with the Dodgers.
“With the Los Angeles Dodgers, I am responsible for providing a chapel service every Sunday the team is home,” said Cash, who has now been in the role for five seasons. “On Sundays when the Dodgers are home, I will head out to the stadium and I’ll do a chapel service for the visiting team. Then I’ll do a chapel service for the Dodgers. Then I do a chapel service for the umpires if they’re interested.”
All of the services Cash offers, including Sunday sermons and Tuesday night Bible studies, are optional — some take advantage of it, others do not. According to Cash, his ministry with the Dodgers has been incredibly fortunate due to many of the team members having an already established faith. Meanwhile, even those who may not be regular attendees continue to display their interest.
“With the Dodgers Chapel Ministry we’ve got guys who have never really gone to church, probably don't even have a relationship with God, but they are curious. ... There’s a lot of guys that really at this point could care less about a relationship with Jesus, but do want marriage or parenting advice,” he said. “It’s just a way to be their friend and hopefully when God begins to work in their heart, they know they can come talk to me.”
Cash credits much of the success in his ministry with the Dodgers to the education he received at Talbot, where he grew in his knowledge and ability to communicate Scripture.
“We have one of the largest groups, if not the largest group of players coming to chapel of any team in Major League Baseball,” said Cash. “I think a lot of that has to do with the way we're able to communicate Scripture. As the years go by, I probably realize more and more how grateful I am for the education I got at Talbot.”