For Immediate Release December 6, 2016
Beth Harrison, Hamilton Strategies, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102
Players from College Football Playoff Teams Share Their Faith with Fellowship of Christian Athletes Magazine
FCA’s Seventh Annual College Football Issue Profiles More Than 50 Players and How They Are ‘Bold and Courageous’ for the Lord
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Who’s in and who’s out? The college football-lovin’ world waited anxiously for Sunday’s playoff announcements, and now the top four teams—and their fans—are prepping for two big games on New Year’s Eve.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) was watching the action, too, as the most recent issue of FCA Magazine highlights more than 50 Christ-following college football players. Several who hail from these top teams are among those who shared how they put their faith on the field for each and every game.
“It was awesome to gather the stories from more than 50 Christ-following college football standouts for our seventh annual college football edition,” said Clay Meyer, FCA Magazine editor. “In Joshua 1, our Lord (the Master Coach), encouraged and inspired Joshua to go boldly and confidently into the land He had promised to the Israelites. One of the most motivating ‘pregame speeches’ in the Bible reaches its crescendo in verse 9 when the Lord tells Joshua, ‘This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’ It’s our prayer that these player profiles, especially with the playoffs right around the corner, will inspire others to be bold and courageous in their faith—just like Joshua.”
Vying for the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship will be No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama in the Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at 3 p.m. ET Dec. 31.
Then at 7 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve, No. 3 Ohio State will take on No. 2 Clemson at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The winners of these two matchups will meet in Tampa on Jan. 9, 2017, for the championship game.
Players from three of these championship-seeking teams talked about their faith journey and what it means to be “bold and courageous” for God in the annual college football issue of FCA Magazine.
- JK Scott—Alabama—“My identity is in Christ, not in football, and that changes everything. When I truly believe what He says about me, nothing else really matters. My boldness and courage come from that.”
- Artavis Scott—Clemson—“You only really learn the strength of your spine when your back is against the wall. ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ Hebrews 13:8 (HCSB).”
- Andy Teasdall—Clemson—“No matter what I face, I keep my eyes fixed ahead on the Lord and continue to keep moving forward. With Him, everything will be all right.”
- K.J. Carta-Samuels—Washington—“I have recognized that God is my Father, and as His son I have been able to let go of control and have been set free to live.”
- Trevor Walker—Washington—“I am bold and courageous in my faith in God because He has showed me before that He does exist. He has helped me and my family out of obstacles we didn’t think we’d come out of, and we give all credit to Him.”
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has also been a longtime friend of FCA, and the ministry honored him in 2014 with the Grant Teaff Coach of the Year Award. Named after Grant Teaff, former Baylor University coach and Trustee Emeritus of the FCA Board of Trustees, the award recognizes a football coach who exemplifies Christian principles and who is involved in FCA.
Following Clemson’s 14-1 record and No. 2 final ranking in 2015, Swinney was the recipient of 10 national and two ACC coach-of-the-year honors, including the Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award, the Bear Bryant Award and the Home Depot National Coach of the Year Award.
FCA also highlighted Swinney in its “Heart of a Coach” feature in a past magazine, where he told FCA that he accepted Christ through FCA while in high school in Pelham, Ala. One of Swinney’s childhood heroes, Joey Jones, a great receiver at Alabama, spoke at an FCA meeting, he recalled.
“I was fired up to hear him and thought he would talk about football,” Swinney told FCA, “but, instead, he talked about what God had done in his life. He offered us the opportunity to be saved, and the next thing I knew I was praying with Joey Jones and accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior. I went home that night and wrote in my Bible, ‘February 3, 1986—I dedicated my life to the Lord today, and He will be with me forever.’”
Swinney has also said of the 62-year-old international sports ministry: “FCA is important because it is on the front lines with our young people spreading the good news about the peace and hope that can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Fellowship of Christian Athletes recently announced that FCA President and CEO Les Steckel will retire at year-end, and FCA’s current Executive Director of Field Ministry, Shane Williamson, will take the helm as president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2017. Williamson has been involved with FCA for 24 years, and Steckel will depart FCA after 12 years of outstanding service and whole-hearted dedication to the ministry.
To interview a representative from Fellowship of Christian Athletes, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ (FCA) vision is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. Its mission is to present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church. FCA’s guiding values are integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence.
Since 1954, FCA has challenged coaches and athletes to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA is cultivating Christian principles in local communities nationwide by encouraging, equipping and empowering others to serve as examples and to make a difference. Reaching approximately two million people annually on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels, FCA focuses its efforts on its Four Cs of Ministry: Coaches, Campus, Camps and Community.
- FCA Coaches Ministry focuses on ministering to the heart of the coach first, and then supporting coaches as they engage with FCA’s Four Cs through huddles, events, training and resources.
- The school campus is one of the most strategic mission fields with the vast majority of all youth passing through this portal. FCA Campus Ministry focuses on equipping, enabling, empowering and encouraging coaches, student athletes and adult leaders to impact and influence their campus for Christ.
- FCA Camps are a time of “inspiration and perspiration” for coaches and athletes to reach their potential by offering comprehensive athletic, spiritual, and leadership training through seven types of Camps: Sports, Leadership, Coaches, Power, Partnership, Team and International Camps.
- FCA Community Ministry is the off-campus opportunity to reach coaches and athletes for Christ through the club and recreation sport environment.