The Washington Times this week featured a special “Faith in Sports” section that highlighted a commentary from Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org)President and CEO Shane Williamson, where he wrote that coaches and athletes impact a watching world through their sport and the lives they lead on and off the playing field.
“These two areas are interconnected in ways that may not be apparent at first glance but, in reality, cannot be separated,” Williamson wrote. “In our hero-worshiping nation, one man had a revolutionary idea 63 years ago. He said, ‘If athletes can endorse shaving cream, razor blades and cigarettes, surely they can endorse the Lord, too.’ So Don McClanen, the founder of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, formed an organization that would help Christians strengthen their faith so they could serve as role models for the youth and athletes of our nation. He knew that faith was critical to sound thinking, decision-making and guiding people of all ages to a life of true freedom.”
Williamson added that he has been blessed to live his life in sports through FCA for the past 25 years to help bring the life-changing message of Christ to those who may have never heard about the true freedom He offers. As a husband, father, coach and athlete, Williamson said God has used faith teaching to grow and change his life, marriage and family in many positive ways.
“Every aspect of my life is a testament to the impact the Lord can make through a God-centered sports organization like FCA,” Williamson said. “I became a Christ-follower as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camper in 1985 at Black Mountain FCA Camp in North Carolina. I was mentored in my faith by a coach and also served as a Camp Huddle Leader. I then followed God’s calling into coaching where I witnessed many lives changed by the Lord through the ministry. I joined FCA as a staff member in 2002, and now I can say what an honor it is to lead FCA as the first president to come from field staff. I am blessed to interact with our 1,500 staff around the world who are committed to keeping our eyes fixed on Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).”
Through FCA, Williamson added, the world has also had the privilege to see Christ’s impact on some of the greatest sports leaders of this generation. For example, Dabo Swinney, Clemson University’s football coach and friend of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, shared with FCA about his faith and last season’s journey to the national title. Swinney is one of the best examples of how one man’s faith in Jesus Christ has made a difference not only in his own life but in countless players’ lives and in the lives of millions of fans, Williamson said, after Swinney told viewers after the championship: “Only God can do this. If anybody thinks anything different, they’re really missing it. This is nothing that I’ve done. Truly, only God can write a script like this.”
The cultivation of Christian principles by FCA in local communities and nationwide is accomplished by encouraging, equipping and empowering others to serve as examples and to make a difference in sport and in all areas of life. Reaching approximately 2 million people annually on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels, FCA Values are the at the core of the ministry.
Relationships with coaches and athletes demonstrate steadfast commitment to Jesus Christ and His Word through the four FCA Values:
- Integrity: We will demonstrate Christ-like wholeness, privately and publicly. (Proverbs 11:3)
- Serving: We will model Jesus’ example of serving. (John 13:1-17)
- Teamwork: We will express our unity in Christ in all our relationships. (Philippians 2:1-4)
- Excellence: We will honor and glorify God in all we do. (Colossians 3:23-24)
“There is One who makes all things possible, who changes lives and who blesses and protects those who follow Him,” Williamson concluded. “And He even does this through the exciting world of sports, reaching coaches, athletes and fans around the globe.”
As an example of the presence of faith in sports, FCA’s newest magazine features 40 Christ-following college football players who talk about how they passionately pursue Christ. Read more here.