Fellowship of Christian Athletes Has Been Working Toward These Games in Japan for Many Years
August 3, 2021
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Tokyo Olympics leads virtually every newscast—but the real story of the Games is happening behind the scenes. Thanks to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) and many partners, a significant prayer movement is occurring right at this moment, during this global sports event—offering a major opportunity for Christians to help bring God’s blessings on coaches and athletes everywhere.
FCA Japan is a founding member of Japan International Sports Partnership (JISP). Both JISP and Japan Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA) created “Japan1Million,” a movement that encourages Christians around the world to sign up for one-hour prayer slots during the span of the Tokyo Olympics & Paralympics. The goal is to cover Japan with one million hours of prayer during the Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Says FCA Japan Director Will Thompson, “This dedicated community is open to Christians from around the world who can join us by registering through the ‘Japan1Million’ website for daily prayer updates and access to Global Prayer Gatherings.”
FCA Japan, an endorsed ministry of JEMA, has been working toward the Games for years. When the Olympic Committee announced in 2013 that Tokyo would host the 2020 Games, FCA Japan’s Thompson saw enormous opportunity. After years of building relationships within Japan’s sports community, he began connecting with ministries, churches, and coalitions to leverage this major global spotlight. Japan’s hosting of the Olympics, he believed, would spark a new vision for sports ministry—and when the pandemic postponed the Games for a year, FCA stayed focused, using the time for even more preparation.
FCA’s Thompson points out, “A group of us were thinking, ‘God, You had this plan from the beginning!’ Was the whole purpose of having the Olympics in Japan to mobilize the global church through this prayer initiative? We have been resonating with the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho,” Thompson adds, “because they only had one option to overcome the enemy—and this could be similar to our work now in Japan during and after the Games. We sincerely believe God is preparing an awakening and bringing people to Himself.”
To grow FCA Japan’s influence in the years leading up to the Games, the FCA team developed a Japanese baseball Bible and a Bible for the Rugby World Cup. It also hosted baseball and rugby clinics and designed a set of three Olympic pins for trading among athletes—something that occurs throughout the Olympic Village and the host city’s Olympic venues at every Olympic Games. Each pin designed by FCA for trading displays one of the three main words of 1 Corinthians 13: faith, hope, and love. In addition, FCA Japan partnered with the Olympic Chaplaincy Committee, which operates not just during the Games but beyond by offering coaches and athletes a deep well of support—spiritually, emotionally, and mentally—all based on Christian values.
Says Thompson, “Two years ago, we would have thought ministry change was because of the Olympics, but now, in a good way, we are less event-driven and more discipleship-focused.”
FCA’s theme for 2021 is Pursue, based on verse 1 of Timothy 6:11: “Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” FCA encourages its members to pursue God’s use of His Word as an anchor, grounding Christians as they look to His Kingdom.
Since 1956, the impact on coaches and athletes has been the main focus of FCA Camps, with each Camp offering fun, outstanding sports training, inspiring speakers, strong friendships, and lasting change. View the 2019 FCA Camps video here and browse camps by location, sport or date at www.fcacamps.org.
To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.