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Calling for Christ - An Interview with Ted Barrett

UMPS CARE newsletter contributor and umpire wife, Staci Marquez recently interviewed umpire Dr. Reverend Ted Barrett to talk about his off-field endeavors of being an ordained minister and starting the non-profit, Calling for Christ.

When did you realize you had a calling to ministry? 
I felt God calling me to the ministry shortly after college but I fought it.  It got stronger as I was in the minor leagues and I figured I would go into ministry after I was done umpiring.  When I made the big leagues I figured God didn't want me in the ministry.  He continued to call me until I surrendered and He told me He wanted me in ministry as an umpire!

When did you know God wanted you to minister to umpires?
It was around 2002 that I surrendered to ministry and said I would leave baseball  but God said no, stay there.

When did CFC develop as more than just an idea?
Rob Drake and I wanted to have a retreat, the idea started in 2002.  We had some meetings in spring training to get some ideas and the first retreat was in December of 2003.
 
What is the mission/ vision of CFC?
The mission is to reach, teach, train and disciple professional umpires for Jesus!
 
Do you support all levels of umpires?  How do you support them?
We serve current professional umpires, both major league and minor league.  We do this by having a weekly prayer call (major and minor league separately) discipling groups, and Bible studies.
 
What other supports does CFC provide throughout the season and offseason?
In the off season we have an annual retreat for current umpires and spouses, we also have mission trips to teach umpiring and spread the gospel in foreign countries.  We also have winter bible studies.

How have you seen CFC change and grow over the past 12 years?
The ministry has grown leaps and bounds, we went from twelve umpires at the first retreat to 49 active professional umpires and 1 retired major league umpire.  We encourage those who are no longer in the game to get plugged into their local churches.  This was a change but I feel like we are outgrowing our location in Texas, and that is a good thing!
Are there any special moments or events that stand out over the years that exemplifies who CFC is?
The biggest moments in CFC involve the men.  To see their lives change has been the biggest thing for me.  I have seen men come through addictions, betrayals, and all sorts of painful life events.  I have seen God mold them, shape them, and completely transform them into husbands, fathers, and leaders.  This is what keeps me going when I get discouraged.  I know we can have an impact on umpires and their families!
 
What are your hopes for the future of CFC?
The future of CFC looks bright.  We have already been talking to NBA officials and helping them start a ministry, we have great relationships with NHL officials and we hope to develop some friendships with NFL referees.  To have something in place in every major sport would be great.  As far as baseball goes, we want to continue to grow as leaders and reach as many umpires as we can.  I feel like our wive's ministry is headed in a good direction and we pray for that to continue to grow as well.

How can people donate to CFC if they feel led to do so?
People can go to callingforchrist.com if they would like to learn more about the ministry and they can make a donation there.