110 FCA Leaders from 40 Countries Gather in Guatemala for International Capacity Conference
Said One Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leader from Romania: ‘I Still Can’t Believe What Happened to Me at This Conference—The Arrow Hit Me Right in the Heart’
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—They may have spoken different languages and come from varied cultural backgrounds, but the 100-plus Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) leaders at FCA’s recent International Capacity Conference had one thing in common.
They were committed to seeing the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
For the 2019 FCA International Capacity Conference, 110 leaders from 40 countries on five continents gathered in Antigua, Guatemala, for a time of training, inspiration, motivation and fellowship with other staff who face some of the same joys and challenges in all corners of the world.
FCA Chief Administrative Officer Ken Williams was in awe as he watched the historic gathering unfold—a five-day event that saw men and women worshipping, praying, fellowshipping and receiving personal and practical training.
“We never thought that we’d be where we are right now,” Williams said. “We never thought that God would put all of this together and bring in all of these partners. That’s the key. It’s a partnership. We’re not just trying to take FCA around the world. It’s partnering with local leaders who are already doing sports ministry and giving them the resources and coming alongside them and serving them. It’s really all about serving them as they serve coaches and athletes.”
In fact, the entire conference was built upon the concept of serving FCA’s international sports partners by engaging, equipping and empowering them to do the work they have been called to do around the globe.
“Ministry is lonely, and then sometimes you’re talking about being the only person in your entire country doing ministry the way that you’re doing it,” said FCA’s Executive Director of International Ministry Dan Britton. “It gets really lonely. So having a chance to be unified with a common vision, a common strategy and a common heartbeat and gather them in one room to pray and worship, to learn about being a spiritual leader and then talk about some of the basics of ministry has been a game changer.”
Each day, the leaders opened with “Morning Glory,” a powerful 45-minute prayer and worship session.
“To hear all the international leaders pray in their own language and for them to worship with their accents just gave us a taste of what heaven is going to be like,” Britton said.
Attendees then received in-depth training from guest speaker Dan Webster of Authentic Leadership.
“It’s a humbling experience to stand in front of these leaders, understanding what many of them go through to fulfill their ministry,” Webster said. “I’m hopeful that everyone will go home fortified in their faith and inspired in their faith, but that they’ll also go home smarter and strategic in the understanding that they need to lead themselves better and lead their ministries better and know how they’re going to do it.”
Several FCA executives and regional leaders, including President and CEO Shane Williamson and Executive Director of Ministry Advancement Jeff Martin, were also on hand to provide practical ministry training. Another special guest trainer, Jeff Moore with YouVersion, taught the sports ministry leaders how to create their own Bible reading plans and encouraged them to get involved in the Bible app’s translation efforts.
An additional key aspect of the week’s training came from Britton, who shared insightful teachings on FCA’s four core values. At the conclusion of each session, one international leader was recognized for exemplifying the values of integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence.
“It was a privilege to have our FCA family here from around the world and to worship and grow together,” said conference host Julio of Guatemala, who was recognized for the core value of excellence. “I feel like we were challenged to lead ourselves in our prayer time and in our spiritual growth. Through this week, I saw the Holy Spirit more active through prayer.”
While training was an essential part of the weeklong conference, it was during personal interaction through meals, free time and Huddle groups when the most effective ministry seemed to take place.
“It’s one thing to see things happen during scheduled training time, but it was really exciting to see some of the things that happened during non-scheduled time,” Britton said. “Leaders were praying for each other and gathering together to talk about how they could help each other. Just to see them desiring to do things on their own and hungering to be together and make the most of their time together, to me, that was the highlight. It was those unplanned, broken plays—those things you didn’t expect.”
Toward the end of the event, the conference organizers facilitated a pair of team excursions to further cement the bonding that had already been taking place. Half the group went on an exhilarating zip line adventure along the breathtaking mountainside, while the other half kept their feet firmly planted while touring a local farm that produces some of Guatemala’s world-famous coffee.
Several attendees were also given the chance to share how the conference had impacted them.
“I still can’t believe what happened to me at this conference,” said Daniel, a leader from Romania. “The arrow hit me right in the heart. I just felt the love of God and I fell in love with FCA.”
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.