Fellowship of Christian Athletes Looks Back on Blessings of the Year and Impact the Lord Has Allowed Ministry to Make in the World of Sports
After 63 Years of Reaching Coaches and Athletes for Christ, FCA Reflects on God’s Grace and Guidance in 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The end of each year is naturally a time to look back upon the blessings God has bestowed, especially as those who put their faith in Him reflect on the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.
After more than six decades in ministry, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) is also reflecting on the amazing impact God has allowed the ministry to make on coaches and athletes around the world.
This past year, FCA’s ministry theme was “ONE,” and through God’s power and nearly 1,600 staff and tens of thousands of donors and volunteers, FCA reached approximately two million people through ministry efforts that impacted coaches, athletes, families, school campuses and entire communities, both here in the U.S. and abroad. The Bible verse for 2017 certainly aligned with this ministry focus: “I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News” (Philippians 1:27 NLT).
“The Fellowship of Christian Athletes continues to band together as ONE body in Christ through the influence of sports,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson, looking back on his own first full year in leadership. “True to this year’s ONE theme, FCA had the privilege of coming alongside coaches and athletes to equip, serve and strengthen their faith in God to live wholeheartedly for Him. In ways only He can, God continues to take His ministry to new heights and greater depths.
“Staff numbers are expanding, more ground is gained and tens of thousands of coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, are coming to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ,” Williamson continued. “And the ministry of FCA has been supported by those who, with earnest hearts, give their time, talent and treasure to present the gospel and impact countless lives of coaches and athletes to be unified as ONE body for such a time as this.”
FCA saw an incredibly impactful year across the globe, with workers and resources reaching far and wide. Highlights from the past year include the following:
- As FCA reached out to coaches and athletes in 2017, the ministry celebrated nearly 50,000 total commitments to Jesus Christ.
- FCA witnessed 17,783 certified Huddles in the U.S. and internationally. These gatherings bring together coaches, teams or students for times of Bible study, prayer and reflection into God’s Word.
- The 2017 FCA Camps season saw 772 total Camps worldwide that reached 113,470 participants. This summer, 9,417 coaches and athletes made first-time commitments to Christ, and 10,997 recommitted their lives to Christ at Camps in 45 states and 41 countries. More than 300 of the Camps occurred internationally, and the 2017 attendance was an increase of more than 7,000 over 2016.
- In October for the 14th annual Fields of Faith gatherings, more than 198,000 met on 521 athletic fields around the world for these student-led events, where 6,213 made first-time faith commitments, 5,015 recommitted their lives to Christ, and 6,494 committed to reading their Bible.
- This year, FCA also distributed 169,815 Bibles to both new and growing believers.
- As a faith-funded ministry, FCA achieved a record year of $128.9 million in revenue and remains committed to putting every dollar possible directly toward ministry. As of this month, FCA now has 11 consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, America’s largest organization rating the fiscal management of charities. This puts FCA in the top 1 percent of all charities rated.
- FCA’s Hall of Champions honored 2017 inductees: FCA board member Dan Boyd; volunteer and Huddle leader Heather Goodrich; sportswriter Dave Krider; Dan Wooldridge, who helped establish and FCA chapter in Virginia; and the late Ken Sparks, a longtime Carson-Newman football coach.
Feedback from those impacted by these efforts illustrated the power of God leading willing servants through the sports they love:
- “Oftentimes, we get caught up in competition and don’t think about how great of an opportunity we have as athletes. We have teammates we’re with every day that we can be spreading God’s love to them.”—Student-Athlete
- “I wanted to become a coach who changes the coach-athlete relationship and gives all glory to God.”—Coach
- “One of the biggest things I wanted to do was create an environment where it was safe for students to grow in their faith and encourage one another.”—FCA Staff
- “I don’t think there’s a more important organization on any campus than FCA.”—Coach
- “I know [FCA] works, because it happened to me. I’m a product of sports ministry.”—FCA International Leader
- “[FCA] is a great way to fellowship and get to know a lot of people with different backgrounds and upbringings and stories of how they came to Christ. We’re a family.”—Student-Athlete
Around the world, FCA International continues to expand rapidly with a three-pronged strategy to: Pray, Give and Go. FCA now serves in 62 countries through 164 leaders and countless volunteers who spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all corners of the globe. FCA supports initiatives and partnerships that provide opportunities for leaders in sport ministries within their own countries by equipping them with the programs, services, support, resources and tools to grow their ministries.
In 2017, FCA International touched thousands of lives by leading or facilitating nearly 300 international Camps, with more than 40,000 in attendance. The ministry also hosted 876 Huddles, attended by nearly 22,000. FCA International reached coaches through more than 100 3D Coaching Workshops, attended by 4,743 coaches—an increase of more than 1,500 over last year. Through all FCA International events and efforts—and by God’s grace—6,667 outside the U.S. made first-time commitments to Christ.
Throughout the year, FCA Magazine also introduced readers to the biggest names in the world of sports—coaches and athletes who put their faith in Christ on and off the field. In 2017, some of those stories included:
- Former NFL running back Rashad Jennings, then with the New York Giants, who talked about his improbably and incredible faith story in the January/February 2017 issue.
- University of North Carolina lacrosse coach Joe Breschi told his story of leading the Tar Heels on an emotional, faith-filled ride to the national championship in March/April 2017 edition.
- WNBA and Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore relayed her passion for faith and social change in the May/June 2017 issue.
- Washington Nationals slugger Daniel Murphy opened up about his faith in the July/August 2017 edition.
- The sovereignly scripted tale of Clemson’s national championship coach Dabo Swinney was highlighted on the cover of the September/October 2017 issue.
- And 40 Christ-following college football standouts were profiled in the November/December 2017 edition, with Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph on the cover.
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.