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Christian organization seeks to make impact with local athletes

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes looks to put coaches and student-athletes in a better relationship with Christ.

Christian organization seeks to make  impact with local athletes
June 10
11:21 2021

As area director of the Western Triad for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Bershawn Thompson’s goal is to bring every coach and athlete within his reach to a closer relationship with Christ.

“Our vision is to see the world transformed by Christ through the influences of coaches and athletes,” said Thompson about the FCA. “So, what we do is we leverage the influence of coaches and athletes to bring glory to God in whatever sports arena they are in.

“We understand to lead every coach and athlete is our mission into a growing relationship with Christ. That’s important because our ministry is really to the coach and through the coach, and that’s our aim to reach every coach in the Western Triad.”

Thompson says the Western Triad has roughly 500 coaches and 5,000 athletes. Their goal is to impact “each and every one of them,” especially the coaches, because the coaches have such a major impact on the lives of children.

“A coach will impact more people in one season than the average person will in an entire lifetime,” Thompson said. “Therefore, with the influence of a coach, we recognize our most strategic way to reach more athletes is by first reaching the coach, so our ministry is really to and through the coach to support them and provide any resources they may need.

“We come alongside them with the Xs and Os of life and just kind of support them and their families. As they are pouring into the athletes, we want to pour into them strength, spiritually and discipleship according to the gospel of Christ.”

The FCA works one-on-one with the coaches to build their relationship with Christ first. The coaches in turn relay that back to their players. The FCA routinely checks in on the coaches in their network to support them in any way they can.

“Oftentimes coaches want us as FCA staff to serve on their campus as character coaches,” he said. “We provide support to coaches and if they have a need and have us come in to speak to their team on campus, that’s another way we support them.

“We can come in and share inspiring or motivational stories. Typically, we have folks come in that have a sports background, or any successful background, because it could be business, and we just utilize folks from the community as well to speak to the team. We facilitate that process of motivating and inspiring young people through our character coaching series and provide coaches’ Bible study.”

For the Western Triad, Thompson has 24 high schools, roughly 15 middle schools, 10 private schools, and three colleges and universities he has to connect with.  

“We are on two college campuses right now, working with their coaches, and we are on 10 campuses right now with our huddles,” he continued. “Our huddles are a small 10-minute gathering, before or after school, that helps encourage students in their faith.”

Thompson said they are on about 10 to 15 campuses in the Western Triad area, but knows they have a lot more work to be done. The pandemic has also limited the reach of the FCA due to many schools not allowing any outside individuals on campus. The FCA also works with AAU and travel basketball and football leagues as well.  

The values that FCA centers on are integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence. They feel those values go beyond sports and will stay with you in all aspects of life.

One of the best aspects of his position with the FCA is seeing the impact the program has on the student-athletes that go through it, Thompson said. He says former participants will call and speak with him and thank him for instilling those values within them, which brings him joy.

“This ministry is an investment towards future generations and what we want to do is make sure we impact every single young person and coach that we can in the Western Triad, because these are our future leaders,” he stated.  

The FCA is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to support their training, retreats, Bibles and mentors. Thompson says they are looking to send more athletes and coaches to camps, but to do so, they need more donations from the community.

Thompson stated the FCA has received very positive feedback from the coaches and parents about the positive transformation many student-athletes have made.  

“We are just hearing encouragement across the board,” stated Thompson. “Transformation is what we’re hearing and the hunger, questions, and desire to be better on and off the court.”

For more information about the FCA, please visit www.triadfcs.org or email Thompson at bthompson@nullfca.org

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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