Marketplace Chaplains highlights growing workplace trend, NFL Owners See Value in Super Bowl Chaplains

February 5, 2016  |   tagMarketplace Matters

Marketplace Chaplains highlights growing workplace trend, NFL Owners See Value in Super Bowl Chaplains

Marketplace Chaplains, America’s largest and original workplace chaplaincy organization, has long highlighted a growing workplace trend as several hundred companies in North America are providing workplace chaplains with the support of strong company leadership.

But the Carolina Panthers, strong favorites in this weekend’s Super Bowl 50 in the sunny San Francisco Bay Area are showcasing another league-wide trend. For Carolina and the majority of NFL teams, including their Sunday opponent Denver Broncos, it’s use of a workplace team chaplains supported by the team owner. All 32 NFL teams have a chaplain on their staff, either as a full or part-time member or in a voluntary capacity from athlete service organization, Athletes in Action.

“It’s one more thing we can do to not only say we care about our employees but show how we care about our employees and their families,” said Johnny Bledsoe, President of Waco, Texas-based Sturdisteel, Inc. “It’s easy to give away a trip, but to have a real impact in someone’s life who is facing life’s problems is certainly more important.”

Panther team Chaplain Mike Bunkley, a former college running back, has been with the Panthers since the team started in 1995.  Panther’s owner Jerry Richardson, in the past, has publicly spoken about the importance of a personal faith in his life.

“The owner and the coach have been very supportive of our work here and have really opened some doors,” said Bunkley, who flies with the team to each road game and has gained excellent access. “We realize we’re not at home this week, we’re in a different environment, but it’s still time to praise Him. This is a great group of guys to work with and I’m thrilled to be here.”

While not in the overpowering media spotlight of one of the world’s biggest sports events this week, Marketplace Chaplains work with a wide variety of employees on a voluntary, confidential basis.

Currently, Marketplace has nearly 2,000 chaplains serving in over 3,668 company locations, helping over 624,003 employees and their family members.

“We had some people wonder what would happen when we started the chaplain program, but now our employees would be in an uproar if we tried to take it away,” said Steve Luse, CEO of The Luse Companies, located outside of Chicago.

Regardless if the Panthers win or lose in pro football’s ultimate game, Bunkley said his role is to help in the joys and problems of their life. The same can be said for Marketplace Chaplains.

“While millions of Americans will tune in to watch the Super Bowl this weekend, few may notice the role the two team chaplains play in what is more important than on-field wins or losses,” said Marketplace Executive President and CEO Doug Fagerstrom. “The same is true for the visionary workplace leaders who invite Marketplace Chaplains into their workplace every day.”

For more information on this unique employee benefit which has been featured with Marketplace Chaplains on CNN, NBC Nightly News, and in the Washington Post, the New York Times and Bloomberg BusinessWeek, visit

About Marketplace Chaplains

To arrange an interview with a Marketplace Chaplain contact Art Stricklin, Vice President Public Relations, at or call 1-800-775-4400.