‘We Didn’t Believe Ministry Was Something the Lord Wanted Cancelled’
Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Virtual Coaches Camp Welcomed Coaches Tony Dungy, Patty Gasso, Mark Richt and Jeff Scott to Connect and Inspire 1,700 Attendees Over Three-Day Event in Late May
June 8, 2020
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—In the majority of sports settings, one coach stands on one sideline while another coach sets up on his own sideline. They both want to win—and only one can.
But rather than being on the sidelines facing each other, more than 1,100 coaches came together for a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) Virtual Coaches Camp in late May. And they all had the same goal—to grow closer to Christ in their professions, in their marriages and in their families.
In late April, FCA Divisional Vice President for the South Division Bob Wiedemann and his team realized that the regular, in-person Coaches Camps that are a hallmark of FCA weren’t possible this season. But they knew coaches still needed to come together for inspiration, truth and fellowship.
“All the glory goes to God because this event came together in just four weeks,” Wiedemann said. “Once it became evident that face-to-face interaction couldn’t happen, we went to work. We didn’t believe ministry was something the Lord wanted cancelled. Within 24 hours, we had the lineup and the details in place. We set a limit of 1,000 coaches, but none of us thought that limit was going to be necessary.”
Within that four-week planning period, sessions with Tony Dungy, former NFL player and head coach, Patty Gasso, Head Softball Coach, University of Oklahoma, Mark Richt, former head coach at the University of Georgia and University of Miami, and Jeff Scott, Head Football Coach at the University of South Florida, recorded inspirational and Bible-based sessions.
Of the 1,153 coaches registered, 24 states were represented and over 700 welcomed their spouses to the Camp as well. A total of over 1,700 participated over a three-day period from May 27 to 29, with a consistent 800-person attendance each morning and evening of the Camp.
After the main team sessions with the national speakers, over 500 coaches and spouses each day joined over 170 Huddle leaders to break into small groups to reflect on the sessions, discuss coaching and family challenges, and delve into the Word for guidance.
“The Gospel was clearly shared throughout the team sessions by host and pastor D.J. Horton of Living Worthy Ministries through FCA’s The Four, a simple way to equip Christian coaches and athletes to share their faith with others,” Wiedemann said.
Additionally, he added, coaches were able to connect with FCA through a digital faith response tool, where they could share that they were ready to begin a relationship with Jesus or desired to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Those who responded through the tool were followed up with an immediate message from FCA and provided several resources and next steps, such as FCA YouVersion Bible reading plans.
Camp participants shared overwhelmingly positive feedback, with responses such as “brought my wife into my world” and “my Huddle Leader was awesome.”
Additional Virtual Coaches Camp comments included the following:
- “I loved how close our Huddle group became and the ease with which we shared with one another. I made some lasting brothers in Christ.”
- “It provided a meaningful spiritual experience for myself and my spouse.”
- “I had the opportunity to listen to other coaches talk about their faith and how they use their faith to be better coaches.”
- “I believe it allowed me to come together with like-minded people and discuss our daily walks with Jesus along with struggles we may have.”
- “It has me fired up to get back with my team.”
- “The Camp introduced me to different perspectives on various topics I have struggled with in my faith. It helped me look at these topics differently.”
- “Sparked me to join small groups for fellowship and seek to be part of another camp experience.”
- “I loved how the coaches were able to talk about their faith, and we did not know each other. We were able to share stories, and it made me really commit myself to God and to my family.”
- “(Loved) meeting female coaches in my Huddle who have a desire to serve God and students through coaching. I was refreshed by them!”
- “This camp helped me to refocus on the reason that I coach, rather than the challenges that this season is bringing.”
Earlier this spring, FCA introduced FCA Virtual, an online and social media initiative to rally coaches, athletes and staff around the incredible stories of what God is doing through virtual FCA ministry. FCA Virtual is a space to gather ideas about how to engage teams and Huddles in online spiritual growth and to look for ways to serve and connect in this time of limited social interaction. FCA hopes coaches and athletes will be encouraged by what God is doing around the world through the virtual avenue. FCA Virtual also helps coaches, athletes and teams to keep up with evolving ministry and training events in the field, as they unify leaders around a common rallying cry during a time of increased isolation. To learn more about #FCAvirtual, visit www.fca.org/virtual, or #FCAvirtual on Twitter and Instagram.
Read more about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website www.fca.org, or connect on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.