Photo (above) and logo (below) courtesy FCA
June 2019 – It is the rare occasion when competition creates camaraderie for the cause of Christ. Fellowship of Christian Athletes summer camps are not for the faint of heart but for student athletes and coaches who are genuinely seeking after His heart.
The aim of FCA camps is to reach the heart and soul through sports, and it is the element of competition that sets FCA camp apart from typical summer camps. While other camps may compete from a team-building perspective, FCA camps are designed to help the competitor compete better in an effort to increase his skill level.
“We are ministering to athletes, so we are going to put them in competitive situations,” Mark Boren told AFA Journal. “We use sports as a platform, not as an identity.” Boren is FCA district 1 area director for Northeast Mississippi.
Sports as a platform
This concept is key to the overall purpose of the ministry of FCA. Boren explained that when one’s identity is rooted in sports, then his identity is taken away when the ball is taken away, leaving him wondering who he really is.
But when a young person’s identity is grounded in Christ, he knows that God loves him as His child, whether or not he hits another homerun or makes another touchdown.
“What God really wants from his children is to do … [all things] for His glory and the fame of His name,” Boren added.
FCA offers six different types of camps: sports camp, leadership camp, coaches’ camp, youth sports camp, team camp, and partnership camp. The type of camp determines the balance of emphasis on evangelism, instruction, inspiration, and discipleship.
In 2018, FCA conducted 771 camps with over 88,000 campers in 43 states and 50 countries. More than 5,000 people made first-time commitments to Christ, and almost 10,000 recommitted their lives to Christ.
Christ as an identity
“FCA camp is why I’m with FCA,” Boren said. “It was the part that impacted me the most [as a student athlete].
Boren was saved as a 17-year-old. He went to FCA camp, came back and started a student-led FCA group – called a huddle – at his high school. The group grew from 11 attendees to over 100, eventually leading to a revival on campus due to God working through the implementation of the FCA leadership model and the concepts from camp.
“The motivation behind the camps [specifically the leadership camp] is to spur individual students to go back and make a difference in their schools,” Boren explained. Coaches choose which student athletes attend leadership camp.
Coaches as the key
While student leadership is an integral part of the ministry of FCA on school campuses, Boren is quick to admit that “first, we minister to and through the coaches.”
According to the late evangelist Billy Graham: “A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.”
So FCA ministers to coaches, first, because “we believe, if you touch the heart of the coach, you’re touching the heart of the team,” Boren said. And it’s the heart of each individual team member that FCA seeks to capture with the beauty of the gospel through both “inspiration and perspiration.”
2019 FCA Camps
Visit fcacamps.org or call 800-289-0909 to:
▶ Find camp locations.
▶ Sign up for a 2019 camp.
▶ Send a student athlete to camp.
▶ Give toward a camp scholarship.
▶ Donate to the ministry of FCA.
▶ Volunteer with a local FCA ministry.