Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Abbreviation (FCA)
Formation 1954
Headquarters Kansas City, Missouri
  • Worldwide
President and CEO
Les Steckel
Website www.fca.org

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is an international non-profit Christian sports ministry based in Kansas City, Missouri. FCA was founded in 1954. It has staff offices located throughout the United States and abroad.[1][2]

FCA's mission is to present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.[1] Its vision is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.[1]

The organization's headquarters are located across Interstate 70 from the Truman Sports Complex.


FCA was founded in 1954 by Eastern Oklahoma A&M basketball coach Don McClanen, who later resigned to become its full-time director.[3] After watching sports stars use fame to endorse and sell general merchandise, McClanen wrote to 19 prominent sports figures asking for their help in establishing an organization that would use the same principle to share the Christian faith. Among the first supporters were Baseball Hall of Famer Branch Rickey,[4][5] who was most known for breaking the MLB color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945, and professional athletes including Otto Graham, Carl Erskine and Don Moomaw.[3][6][7] FCA held its first advisory board meeting in September 1954 and was officially incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in November.[6]

After two years in Oklahoma, McClanen moved FCA's headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri. That year (1956), FCA also conducted its first national camp‚then referred to as a national conference‚which drew 256 athletes and coaches to Estes Park, Colo. The ministry continued its expansion by adding additional camp locations, establishing a national magazine and beginning school campus groups called ‚"Huddles‚" within 10 years of the first camp.[7] In 1979 FCA completed and dedicated a new headquarters facility overlooking Kansas City‚ Truman Sports Complex, and the building was officially renamed the FCA National Support Center in 2011.[7]

After more than 60 years of operation, FCA has developed into a global Christian sports ministry reaching more than two million people per year at the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth sports levels.[7] As of 2014, FCA included a staff of approximately 1,200 ministry personnel[8] in more than 450 U.S. and international staff offices.

Statement of faith

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes operates according to an internally written statement of faith. This statement consists of seven points based on Bible teachings and Christian principles. Each point has a corresponding scripture.[1] All staff and leaders agree with and operate according to the FCA statement of faith.[9]

Core values

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes lists four core values for its ministry:[1] Integrity, Serving, Teamwork and Excellence. Each core value has a corresponding scripture.

Four C’s of ministry

FCA categorizes its ministry according to what are called the "Four C's'" of ministry: Coaches, Campus, Camps and Community.[1]

Sport-Specific Ministry FCA targets athletes and coaches in baseball, cheerleading, endurance sports, golf, hockey, lacrosse, motocross, surfing and wrestling.[15]

The first SSM was FCA Golf, which was established in 1977. It was followed in 1989 by FCA Lacrosse.[16]

International ministry

Since 2012, FCA has expanded efforts around the world. As of 2016, FCA International is serving in 56 countries through 111 FCA International leaders who spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 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. FCA hosted nearly 200 camps outside of the US with more than 25,000 campers in 36 countries. Additionally, FCA International Huddles grew from 118 to 798, with 22,821 in attendance; 4,021 made decisions to follow Christ. [17]


At the executive level, FCA operates under the direction of a president/CEO and an executive team that meets with a board of trustees.

FCA requires leaders to agree with its vision, mission and statement of faith. All adult leaders must complete a Ministry Leader Application. Applicants must agree with its vision, mission, statement of faith, non-denominational statement and sexual purity statement. All leaders must also pass a criminal background check and have their complete application approved by a local or regional Field Staff employee.[9][18]


In September 2015, Roanoke and Roanoke County Virginia public schools ended FCA ministry to football players following at least two complaints.[19] In an FCA activity referred to as the "Watermelon Ministry," the organization had visited public high school student athletes at team practices to offer watermelon slices and tell players that all the talents they have come from God.[20][21] Two FCA videos from August 2015 of the now-halted program show public school coaches standing behind their team while an FCA evangelist sternly warns them that to be good players they must have a Christian faith and read the Bible.[22][23] In a third video, numerous Virginia public high school coaches speak about how the FCA helps them recruit students to Christianity. One coach, for example, states: "We teach them not only about sports and how to live your life, but how to live your life as a Christian. I think that’s really important, for us to just have a chance to relate with all different kinds of kids, not just the ones who go to church, but maybe the ones who don’t go to church. It allows us to draw them in in a relaxed environment and really speak to them about the Gospel, which is the reason we do what we do. We want to bring kids to the gospel and see them follow after Christ." [24]

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national nonprofit organization, referred to the activities as "predatory," "illegal" and "unconstitutional" [25] in letters sent to superintendents of two of the largest Virginia jurisdictions involved.

School officials responded they were unaware that the coaches were hosting the proselytizing, and immediately stopped it. The Roanoke County superintendent stated “Roanoke County Schools believes in the separation of church and state. We want to maintain and ensure that that practice is being followed.” A city of Roanoke spokesman said “When this information came to our attention, we responded immediately. We met with the appropriate people and made it very clear that separation of church and state is the law of the land. We feel the matter is under control and we will monitor this very closely.”[19]

Through its media office, FCA issued the following response, "Every student athlete has the right and the freedom to participate in activities according to their individual religious convictions. There are no repercussions for students who decline to participate in FCA activities." [19] The FFRF letters, however had noted that repercussions may take the form of pressure from peers and coaches, alienating non-Christian students, and usurping parents' authority.[25]

Professional athletes

Since 1954, professional athletes and coaches have taken part in FCA through ministry events, speaking engagements, FCA camps, volunteer opportunities and ministry leadership roles.[3][26] For approximately six decades, athletes and coaches from both major and minor professional sports and top-tier college programs have engaged with FCA to communicate their Christian faith and participate in community outreach opportunities. Among those who pioneered the organization were former stars Otto Graham, Branch Rickey, Bobby Richards, Carl Erskine and Bill Krisher.[27] They would be followed by other influential sports figures including Tom Landry, Bobby Bowden, John Wooden, Roger Staubach, Jim Ryun,[27] Betsy King,[27] Herschel Walker,[28] Reggie White, Tony Dungy, Shaun Alexander,[29] Tom Osborne[27] and Kay Yow‚ all of whom vocalized their Christian faith through FCA outlets such as banquets, camps and rallies.

Recent stars who have connected with FCA have included Josh Hamilton, Adam Wainwright, Brian Roberts, Tim Tebow,[30] Tamika Catchings,[31] Jennie Finch, Andy Pettitte, Tommy Tuberville, Jim Kelly, John Harbaugh,[32] Leah O'Brien Amico,[28] John Smoltz,[33] Mark Richt, Colt McCoy,[34] Andrew McCutchen[35] and a number of public figures outside the world of sports such as comedian Jeff Foxworthy,[36] former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson.[37] Influential Christian leaders such as Billy Graham, Chip Ingram, Anne Graham Lotz and Tommy Nelson also have participated in FCA through resource development, camps or events.

FCA award winners

FCA presents six national awards every year to athletes and coaches who have excelled in specific areas of competition, community service and Christian character.[38]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Mission and Vision". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  2. http://www.fca.org/assets/2012/06/2012FCAAnnualReport_Print.pdf
  3. 1 2 3 4 "The Word According to Tom". SI.com.
  4. "Rickey, Branch - Baseball Hall of Fame". Baseball Hall of Fame.
  5. http://www.biography.com/people/branch-rickey-9458118
  6. 1 2 http://archives.fca.org/vsItemDisplay.lsp&objectID=C658F118-CB82-4DA8-A0CBD628E9B07F9C&method=display
  7. 1 2 3 4 "FCA History - Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  8. 1 2 3 4 http://downloads.fcaresources.com/organization/2013annualreportweb.pdf
  9. 1 2 "Work at FCA - Ministry Jobs - Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  10. "Coaches - Coaches Wives - Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  11. "National Coaches Conventions - Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  12. FCA Online Ministry/Fellowship of Christian Athletes. "His and Her's Race". His and Her's Race.
  13. "Tens of Thousands of Students Turn Out for 'Fields of Faith' Events Nationwide". Christian Post.
  14. "FCA Camps - Sports Camp - Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  15. "Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  16. Fellowship of Christian Athletes. "About Us". FCA Lacrosse.
  17. "Fellowship of Christian Athletes Experiences Impactful Year with International Ministry - Hamilton Strategies". Hamilton Strategies.
  18. "Ministry Leader Application". FCA. Retrieved 1 October 2014
  19. 1 2 3 "Roanoke, Roanoke County schools end Christian ministry to football players". Roanoke Times. September 30, 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  20. http://theroanokestar.com/2014/08/10/going-all-in-with-the-watermelon-ministry/
  21. http://theroanokestar.com/2009/08/13/a-block-a-tackle-and-a-prayer-fca-watermelon-ministry/
  22. "Watermelon Outreach". Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  23. "FCA: Watermelon Outreach". Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  24. "FCA 2014-2015". Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  25. 1 2 Elliott, Patrick. "Letter to Roanoke City School Superintendent, 9/17/2015, from Freedom from Religion Foundation" (PDF). Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  26. "Jenni Carlson's Q&: Fellowship of Christian Athletes founder Don McClanen". NewsOK.com.
  27. 1 2 3 4 FCA History. YouTube. 15 May 2007.
  28. 1 2 "Walker among speakers at FCA spring banquet". hhjonline.com.
  29. FCA 2007 Promo DVD: Shaun Alexander. YouTube. 26 April 2007.
  30. Tim & Robbie Tebow Speak at an FCA Event In Lenox Georgia. YouTube. 8 April 2011.
  31. FCA Online Ministry/Fellowship of Christian Athletes. "FCA Knoxville". FCA Knoxville.
  32. John Harbaugh - Speaker at MD FCA Banquet 2013. YouTube. 8 April 2013.
  33. http://entertainment.accessatlanta.com/cartersville_ga/events/show/304097685-fca-banquet-guest-speaker-john-smoltz Archived 12 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. "Winningest FBS Quarterback, Colt McCoy, 2011 FCA Banquet speaker". The Amplifier.
  35. Andrew McCutchen talks about his faith with FCA. YouTube. 9 July 2012.
  36. "Foxworthy shares 'gift God gave me' 101400 - The Augusta Chronicle". augusta.com.
  37. "Duck Dynasty Star Willie Robertson Assist Fellowship of Christian Athletes". christianpost.com.
  38. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Athlete Awards - Coach Awards - Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  39. "Texas A& Aggies lineman Jake Matthews wins Bobby Bowden Award - ESPN". ESPN.com.
  40. "Ashton Richardson Wins Bobby Bowden Award". auburntigers.com.
  41. "MacIntyre Named FCA National Coach of the Year". CUBuffs.com.
  42. "Grant Teaff Award Winners Announced". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  43. "Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  44. "Barnabas in the Bible: An Encouraging Early Church Leader – Biblical Archaeology Society". Biblical Archaeology Society.
  45. "Crean Named John Lotz "Barnabas" Award Winner - Fellowship of Christian Athletes". Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
  46. "FSU WBB Head Coach Sue Semrau Wins FCA Kay Yow Heart Coach of the Year - Seminoles Chant". typepad.com.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.