Fellowship of Christian Athletes Celebrates 50th Year

( [email protected] ) Feb 28, 2004 11:00 AM EST

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Over 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The fellowship renewed its commitment to raise leaders who will impact the world through sports during the 3-day event at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, February 20-22.

“We have been so thrilled at what have taken place,” said President of FCA Foundation Carey Casey. “There’s a renewed spiritual relationship, renewed energy and excitement.”

“It’s phenomenal as we take a look back at where God has brought us.”

The theme of the event was “50 Years – One Mission”. Several special guest speakers and performers appeared at the celebration. Among those included: internationally acclaimed evangelical speaker, Anne Graham Lotz; Dove Award winning musician and author, Michael Card; and motivational speaker and chalkguy, Ben Glenn. Former LA Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine and Congressman Tom Osborne also attended.

“We have to celebrate. Most major events come about because something negative happens. We don’t celebrate enough the great things people are doing,” said Casey.

Casey, 48, has been involved with FCA since high school and is a first-hand witness as to why FCA has come this far.

“Christ is the center,” said Casey. FCA has been able to affect 1.3 million annually because of the “FCA core values: integrity, serving, team work, and excellence".

Other attendants included Crown Financial Ministries CEO, Howard Dayton; former Nebraska Huskers coach, Ron Brown; LPGA golfer Betsy King; Kansas State women’s basketball coach, Deb Patterson; U. S. Air Force Academy football coach, Fisher DeBerry; American Football Coaches Association Executive Director, Grant Teaff; Congressman Tom Osborne, and entertainers Land and Hildebrand, and Paul Clark and the Mission Road band.

The FCA was started in 1954 by Don McClanen, an Oklahoma college basketball coach who came up with an idea for a ministry to athletes and coaches. A discussion with baseball great Branch Rickey led McClanen to contact Otto Graham, Carl Erskine, Bob Richards, Len LeSourd, editor of “Guideposts”, and several prominent businessmen, who committed themselves to the idea that would become the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Now, the fellowship has grown to include two hundred seventy-seven field offices around the country. The main focus of the fellowship is to outreach to young athletes in order to prepare them as a role models who can bring life-time of positive influence to those who play the sport they are involved in.

Casey said, “Athletes are usually the leaders in the school and because they are leaders in the school, people look up to them. We have such a responsibility because we are in front of the world. People look up to these folks. We have to get to them when they are young to be role models. Not just preach a sermon but be a sermon.”

FCA accomplishes mission in the athletic arena through a multi-faceted range of programs. An enduring concentration of the FCA ministries is the “four C’s”, which denotes: Coaches, Campus, Camping and Community. The half-century old fellowship also works alongside churches to better nurture the spiritual health of the actors in the sports. The Huddle program is an FCA campus ministry, which encourages accountability among the student athletes. The program also sets the standard for athletes to play drug-free. FCA also has a ministry which reaches out to coaches during events such as conventions, the World Series and the Olympics.

When asked what his wish is for FCA for next 50 years, Casey replied: “My wish is that we would grow deeper spiritually in the way of prayer.”

Casey says that since January, he and around 60 office staff members have founded a tradition of praying in the morning. The FCA headquarter office has been located in Kansas City, Mo. since 1956. Overlooking the Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium from his office, Casey said, “We pray for them to come to know Jesus. Jesus Christ is the one who can change. He is the way, the truth and light. That’s why we do what we do.”

For more information on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit: www.fca.org.