Bethlehem Basketball Ministry
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo.
- Emerging Leader: Dan Schmidtke
- Grant Program: Emerging Leader
- Amount of Grant: $15,000
- Dates of Grant Term: February 2021 – February 2023
Mr. Dan Schmidtke is the head basketball coach for Bethlehem Lutheran Church’s Basketball Ministry and works full-time as a physical therapist assistant. He graduated from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind., with a degree in exercise science and went on to play four years of semi-professional basketball for the St. Louis Trotters. Schmidtke joined the Bethlehem Basketball Ministry as a volunteer assistant coach for the high school team and was named the head coach for the middle school team in 2015. As head coach, Schmidtke’s main goal is for all of his players to have a better understanding of who Christ is and how faith in Him can change their lives. His secondary goals are to produce productive members of society with steady occupations, family life, and church life, and if a player has exceptional basketball ability, his goal is to prepare them to maximize their talents to play competitively at the high school level and beyond. Schmidtke is married to Amber, who is involved behind the scenes with Bethlehem’s Basketball Ministry, and they have one son, Asher.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church’s Basketball Ministry has been a pillar in the North Saint Louis community for many years. With the mental and emotional stresses of an urban environment, the Basketball Ministry is a place where youth can feel safe, cared for, and valued. With the grant, Bethlehem will add several basketball camps to its programming. Open to youth ages 5-13, the camps will help players improve their basketball skills and learn life lessons from mentors, professionals, and guest speakers. They plan to utilize a cross-age peer mentoring model where they will train the high school basketball players to help lead the camps.