May 12, 2021

New Coaching for Transformation Program Launched

Dordt launches new Coaching for Transformation Program

Dordt University and the Center for the Advancement of Christian Education (CACE) are excited to announce the launch of their newest program, Coaching for Transformation (CfT).

CfT is designed primarily for Christian high schools who want to establish a mission for their athletic departments that helps students to learn, practice, and play in alignment with the mission of their academic institution.

Dordt’s CfT team will work alongside athletic departments to establish steps to consistently ensure that everyone in the program is living out and pursuing the same mission. The Dordt University Athletic Department created “The Defender Way,” which is an example of a unified mission that each coach supports and strives to achieve. The Defender Way is used as template that schools can reference.

“We have had the opportunity to experience the success of implementing The Defender Way across Dordt’s athletic programs and how it supports the university’s mission,” says Joel Penner, co-director of CfT and Dordt’s head football coach. “In a similar way, we are seeking to equip high school athletic programs with the support and resources needed to achieve this at the high school, or in some cases, middle school level.”

The CfT leadership team consists of Joel Penner, and Co-Director Bill Harmsen, who serves as the Dordt head women’s basketball coach. They are assisted by Lindsey Van Schepen, who works directly as a liaison with schools during the planning and implementation process.

CfT currently has 12 partner schools based both nationally and internationally that they are serving to kick-off the program: Western Christian (Iowa), Unity Christian (Iowa), Pella Christian (Iowa), Central Wisconsin Christian (Wisconsin), Grace Community (Texas), Sioux Falls Christian (South Dakota), Trinity Christian (California), Southwest Christian (Minnesota), Central Minnesota Christian (Minnesota), Sheboygan Christian (Wisconsin), Intermountain Christian (Utah), and Surrey Christian (British Columbia).

“This program has already paid big dividends with my pilot group of coaches at Grace, and I'm excited to finally make it available to my fellow colleagues in athletic administration,” says Joseph Walker, director of athletics at Grace Community School in Texas.

“We are excited to work with schools across the United States and Canada as we seek to help them develop and deepen their athletic programs,” says Harmsen. “Our team is passionate about helping coaches develop programs that challenge students both on and off-the court. Athletic teams provide great opportunities for developing kingdom citizens, training athletes to value more than just playing time, but to seek ways they can honor and serve Christ and their teammates through their sport.”

To learn more or to inquire about participating in the Coaching for Transformation program, visit

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