A Close Look Behind The Scenes Of Fellowship Of Christian Athletes

Rex Stump, the Area Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was first introduced to the ministry of FCA in the spring of 2004. This particular office is heading into its 10th year. As Area Director, he has many responsibilities including hiring staff, recruiting and training volunteers, establishing and visiting FCA Huddles in schools, raising funds, and public speaking events. Each month, he travels anywhere from 2,000-3,000 miles to visit schools, teams, and raise funds. The FCA has been very active recently in a variety of events.

One of the regular activities that the FCA takes part in are “Team Times.” During practice or the end of practice, staff, volunteers, and coaches take a few minutes to share positive characteristics about topics such as commitment, teamwork, attitude, or passion. Stump says, “It’s usually something the players can use on the field/court and off the field/court. It’s like being the chaplain for a team; we are available to the team as needed.” Team Times, which serve over 85 teams this year, are designed to help the coaches and athletes.

Stump describes a “Team Talk” that he used during Christmas: “I show up at the beginning of practice, chat with the coach and maybe a few players, while the rest of the team is still showing up. Once everyone is there and the coach is ready, I remind the team of our recurring theme – “you were created to be great.” We circle up into two teams and compete with a combination game of musical chairs and hot potato. It’s a quick and competitive game, with the idea of making a point that you don’t want to hold on to the ball. You have to be quick and get rid of the ball! Give it away! After relating the game we played to their sport, we relate it to life – academics, relationships, and faith. The average person is selfish and keeps things to himself. Those seeking to be great learn to be selfless and quick to reaching out to others”.

To illustrate these characteristics, stories and images are used and players participate to help convey the message. The goal is not to lecture, but rather to learn through experience and help the athletes deal with everyday issues on and off the field of competition. These “Team Times” are well received by coaches as they promote team bonding.

These “Team Talks” also have real life application. Stump recalls a team time with the Wauseon boys’ basketball team at Christmas. The topic was peace. Stump says, “At Christmastime we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace! Little did we know that in less than 24 hours we would be praying as a team, praying for peace at the hospital, during a very difficult and tragic event.”

Another activity the FCA takes part in are their “Campus Huddle” functions. These groups vary depending on the ideas of the individual huddles. Over the Christmas holiday, groups participated in various activities such as organizing Toys for Tots, helping with Operation Christmas Child, adopting needy families, baking and delivering Christmas cookies, and visiting nursing homes. In Wauseon, the Middle School Huddle sold root beer floats during lunch and raised over $600 to purchase gifts for six children in a needy family.

In addition to serving student athletes, the FCA has made it its mission to become more intentional in trying to provide resources and encouragement to local coaches. During a “Team Time” with the Defiance High School baseball team, Stump inquired about the possibility of having a vendor’s booth for the FCA at the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association Clinic. Within a few days, Stump was contacted and invited to not only have a booth but to also host a “FCA Breakfast” and be on the speaker’s list. With over 1,200 high school coaches attending, this was a huge opportunity.

Stump reflects, “For two days we sit amongst the vendors, sharing the hope and love of Jesus while the rest of the vendors share their merchandise, jerseys, and equipment. It’s unique, because we stick out like a sore thumb.”

The FCA provided a free continental breakfast to coaches along with guest speaker, Ohio State’s Assistant Coach Dan DeLucia who shared his faith story. Later that same morning, the FCA was given two 30 minute speaking slots during a break-out session. “In our session we defined the 21st century athlete and discovered the stress points in coaching. We then shared an EPIC way to coach this new generation of athletes. It was well received last year, and we were invited back to speak again, which is a rarity.” This event has opened up more opportunities as Stump says that many coaches came to their booth asking if they could share the same message to their administration, schools, and teams across Ohio.

Upcoming FCA Events

March 8, 2014 – “Motivating the 21st Century Athlete”
We welcome back our 2nd annual FCA Coaching Clinic featuring guest speaker Dr. Jeff Duke. Dr. Jeff Duke is a professor at the University of Central Florida in their “Coaching” department. Dr. Jeff Duke is the foremost expert regarding the cultural influence in the coaching profession on society’s mores. He has developed and authored the “Three Dimensional Pyramid of Coaching Success” that has revolutionized the sport coaching landscape. His coaching experience encompasses the youth level through the professional ranks, coupled with a multi-year stint with the legendary football coach, Bobby Bowden. He is highly sought after to lead workshops, seminars, and training on the “cultural influence of the sport coach” throughout Europe and the Americas. His Doctoral research (Florida State University) created baseline data on how to analyze proficient elite level coaching methods.

This clinic will be held at Defiance College, March 8 from 10am to 2pm. Lunch is included in the $15 clinic fee. You can begin to register today. Last year over 60 of our local coaches attended this clinic and walked away impressed and impacted!

This year Dr. Jeff Duke will continue to empower and encourage our coaches with new insight and coaching helps for the 21st Century athlete.

April 6, 2014 – “FCA Annual Champions Dinner”
This will be 10 YEARS for our office! We have moved our Annual Champions dinner to the spring, so that we can recognize each school and team. This year we feature lower ticket costs, award winners for all schools, and special guest Comedian Kenn Kington! This year’s event will be held at the Archbold Evangelical Church on Sunday night, April 6. Tickets are $15.

May 10, 2014 – “Buckeye Border FCA Annual Golf Scramble”
This is our annual golf scramble and our only true fund-raiser. Held at the Orchard Hills golf course in Bryan this year, we plan to raise enough funds to cover resources and camp scholarships.

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