By Caleb Williams
Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, former NFL head coach Tony Dungy and Olivet tennis player, Landon Williams all have one thing in common: They are involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Olivet is one of over 6,000 colleges with a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) “huddle group.” FCA is the largest sports ministry in America as it uses athletics to reach people for Christ all around the world.
FCA’s ministry includes sports camps, mission trips, and campus ministry. It trains athletes from youth leagues to Major League baseball to “equip, empower, and encourage the people in their community,” according to FCA.org.
The organization began in 1954 and has since impacted millions of lives. In 2010 alone, nearly 46,000 people attended almost 300 FCA camps over the summer. Around 4,000 athletes made first-time commitments to Christ at those camps, according to the website.
FCA uses other means to reach out as well. Recently, Olivet head volleyball coach Brenda Williams was featured in the FCA magazine, “Sharing the Victory” (STV). Williams is a member of the regional FCA board and has been involved with FCA for many years.
Several current Olivet athletes were involved with FCA in high school and also attended camps, including junior tennis player and FCA leader Cassie Brainard. Brainard said she was a leader of her high school group and has volunteered at FCA camps over the past two summers.
ONU had an FCA group when head football coach Brian Fish and Tampa Bay Rays baseball player Ben Zobrist were students. It died out and became part of campus life again five years ago.
At this year’s first meeting on Sept. 20, FCA leader and junior soccer player Jeff Hawkins explained that FCA met in a classroom in Parrott with just the leadership team during those initial meetings. It now meets every Tuesday at 9 p.m. in the Warming House with larger crowds.
Each meeting of FCA at Olivet usually includes a game, worship and a message from a video or speaker like Coach Williams, which is followed by small groups to reflect and pray for each other.
Outside of Tuesday nights, FCA hosts other events. Past events have included attending professional baseball games, a March Madness bracket challenge, and parties for special events like holidays or the Super Bowl.
Leaders said a common misconception of the club is that to attend one must be an athlete. However, anyone is welcome to attend.
Junior track and field athlete Matt Kearney, a long-time FCA participant and regular attendee of Olivet’s huddle, said he enjoys attending meetings.
“I like FCA because it allows athletes and sport lovers to come together as one team in Christ, we encourage each other to run the race that God has set before us on and off the field of competition.”