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Wichita Falls Living Magazine

Fellowship of Christian Athletes Serves Student Athletes

Apr 09, 2021 08:56AM ● By Heather Martin
The Greater Wichita Falls Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) has influenced the lives of local student athletes for more than 30 years; serving thousands of students annually.

Written By Ellen Slater  |  Photos Provided by FCA

 

The mission of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. The organization was founded in 1954 and since that time has spread to 84 different countries throughout the world.
 
Here in the greater Wichita Falls area – FCA serves all of Region 9 and extends to Seymour, Bowie, Nocona and Windthorst. According to FCA Area Director, Michael Cummings, students from middle school, high school and even the college area participate in the organization.

 

This year’s global FCA theme is ‘Pursue.’ It’s important that we continue exercising the truth that our identity in Christ is greater than our identity in sports by pursuing Jesus and the calling that He has on our life for this next season. Our prayer is that coaches and athletes will move from a state of uncertainty to a position of confidence as a result of their pursuit of Jesus. “Our goal is to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and his church,” said Cummings, “We do this through our core goals of integrity, service, teamwork and excellence.” Along with Cummings, eight other staff members serve as coaches. These coaches are missionaries who spend months in training and in raising money to fund their living expenses prior to going into area schools. Cummings recalls it only took him 45 days to raise the needed funding to become part of FCA. “I had to get out and about in the community, “ he said. “Our area is blessed with 385 generous donors who fund our staff.”

Each FCA staff member has a maximum of ten area schools which they serve. “They go into the schools and introduce themselves to all the coaching staff,” he explains. “From there, they recruit coaches who will serve through FCA, for example, at Wichita Falls High School, we currently have 25 coaches who serve the student athletes through our ministry.”

Additionally, coaches find students to become huddle leaders. Thus, at any given time there are layers of prayer group leaders, FCA staff, coaches and student leaders. “Our goal is to minister to both the coaches and student athletes in any way we’re needed,” said Cummings. “Last year, we had students die in accidents and we also lost students to COVID,  so our staff provided grief counseling and extra  prayer sessions at those campuses.” Cummings added that staff members such as J.C. Eakins, who serves Wichita Falls, are at their campuses at least once a day.

 

Each sports team has a team “huddle” once per week. These huddles consist of prayer and lessons provided to coaches through the national organization. “Coaches generally cut one practice per week short for the team huddle – students who don’t want to participate can leave at this time,” said Cummings.

Prior to COVID-19, summer camps called Weekend of Champions were held annually at Camp Chapparal. Student athletes from Texas and Oklahoma gathered together for fellowship, prayer and competition. This event is postponed until next year; however, plans are in the making to host the annual All-Star Games. “The next event we’re hoping to host is scheduled for June and it’s our Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma versus Texas All-Star Game,” said Cummings. The games consist of the High School All-Star Athletes in soccer, basketball and softball from both states competing against each other. “We’ll have a luncheon and prayer service before the game begins,” Cummings explains. “The event will involve about 160 students and our ministry topic for the luncheon is how to stay involved with FCA during college.”

 

According to FCA Student President at Henrietta High School, Avery Stone, she has made life-long friends through the organization. Avery’s been involved with FCA since middle school . She has served as President for five years during both middle and high school. “Going through the summer camps, I always made a lot of friends from all over Texas and Oklahoma that I’m still in touch with,” she said. “Being a member of FCA has had a very positive impact on my life. It’s always given me a sense of peace knowing that Jesus Christ is present in every aspect of my life.”
In addition to being FCA President, Avery is also a cheerleader and plays volleyball and softball. “I’ve really enjoyed being able to lead the team huddles and make posters and advertise through social media to try and increase student involvement,” she said.

And according to Cummings, who served as Youth Pastor at Colonial Church for eight years prior to his role at FCA, he feels called to minister to young people. “The most rewarding aspect of serving as Area Director is the opportunity it provides me to make a difference in these young people’s lives,” he said. “ I had a colorful past as a teenager and I wish I had had another caring adult (in addition to my parents) to serve as a role model for me. I hope myself and our staff and coaches all serve as role models to these young people.” †


For more information on FCA or to volunteer, contact the organization at 940-337-4455 or e-mail at [email protected].
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