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FCA staff: ‘The goal is to see each of the volunteers enter life-on-life relationships with students, and through that, to see students grow to become followers of Jesus Christ’

May 2, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) has been dedicated to leading every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church for more than 65 years. That’s why staff members go above and beyond to share the love of Christ with those who need to hear the Good News.

Athlete Jordan Dornbush was playing football for Wheaton College when he took a short-term mission trip to Louisiana. There, he listened to men talk about the obstacles of their upbringings, like growing up fatherless or having a parent who uses drugs. Through that experience, he began to feel the call to help teenage youth facing

the same things.

“Our urban ministry staff couldn’t do effective relational ministry without the college players as key volunteers” said Tom Ness, FCA Minnesota State Director.

After college, Dornbush joined the coaching staff at Bethel University and also joined FCA staff as an Urban Minneapolis Area Representative. FCA gave Dornbush a place to live out God’s calling on his life to reach youth who might be struggling in their daily lives.

“The heart of FCA in the city is loving and supporting young athletes in Minneapolis who are coming from backgrounds that include childhood trauma, poverty, racism and fatherlessness,” Dornbush said. “I want to coach football, but my heart is ultimately for training players to be connected with urban youth.”

Using his unique position of influence in both sports ministry and at the university, Dornbush has introduced a discipleship program to the Bethel football players. Through group meetings, one-on-one interactions and intentional relationships, Dornbush engages with and equips players to become mentors in Christ, empowering them to go make more disciples.

“The goal is to see each of the volunteers enter life-on-life relationships with students, and through that, to see students grow to become followers of Jesus Christ,” Dornbush explained.

Dornbush’s influence is already reaping fruit — so far, 20 Bethel players have gone through the training and are making an impact on the youth in the area. For the last few years, FCA Minnesota has organized a winter retreat with around 30 youth attending. Last fall, Dornbush recognized that some of the athletes were ready to go deeper in their relationships with Jesus because of how they had grown through the mentoring relationships with the college football players, so they invited a small group of six high school athletes to attend a summer retreat.

Far outside of their comfort zones, the athletes learned lessons about faith and how to put their trust in God. They came back with positive reports like, “They pushed me to try new things,” and “I’ve learned that God will always accept me, no matter how much I’ve messed up.”

Ness added that Dornbush’s influence is reminiscent of Jesus’ ministry. “Jesus did it the same way. He surrounded Himself with His 12 disciples to do ministry,” he said. “Plus, like the disciples, the college players are being equipped and empowered as disciple-makers for a lifetime.”

FCA’s theme for 2022 is Every, based on Ephesians 1:3: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” FCAreminds Christian coaches and athletes that they already have everything they need in Christ and encourages them to seek Him both on and off the field.

After extensive growth, FCA has reached millions of people with the Gospel. View a timeline of FCA’s 68-year history here, including videos, quotes, articles, leader profiles, Camp themes, photos and more.

Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheFCATeam or its Twitter feed https://twitter.com/TheFCATeam.