I love hearing stories of impact and life change that result from a Fellowship of Christian Athletes experience. Over the past several months, coaches and athletes from all walks of life have shared stories about how God used FCA Camp, a time of inspiration and perspiration, to transform lives. When I add this up over more than six decades of ministry, all I can say is, “Wow!”
This month, FCA is celebrating our 65th anniversary, and we’re grateful for the men and women who pioneered this ministry. We’re bearing the fruit of a rich history of faithful servants who believed God wanted to use the vehicle of sports to introduce competitors to Christ. It’s an honor for myself and our team of close to 2,000 staff members to continue this legacy and take the vision into future generations.
One of the many reasons I believe God has blessed us and continued to open doors for FCA to grow is our Bible ministry. We’ve not compromised our focus and commitment to God’s Word and biblical truth in 65 years. Today, FCA is one of the largest distributors of Bibles in the world. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 doesn’t only rally us, but it tells us to teach all who hear the message to obey. How do we do this? We use God’s playbook, the Holy Bible, to share the life-changing message of salvation.
FCA prints more than 200,000 Bibles per year and has distributed 2.5 million Bibles around the world in the past 15 years. As a sports ministry, we’ve engaged in Bible ministry since our first Camp in 1956. Our partners at Biblica once said, “When you think about FCA, you think about a sports ministry, but what’s incredible is their commitment to utilizing Scripture.” Here’s a glimpse into how God’s grown our Bible ministry over 65 years:
1956 | The Athlete’s Bible: The first FCA Bibles were printed for FCA Camp in 1956. As FCA Camps grew, new Bible covers were designed with each year’s theme and camp curriculum. The Bible became a key resource for those leading Huddles and one-on-one discipleship meetings. Today, this resource is referred to as our “Athlete’s Bible,” and it continues to be the cornerstone of our Bible ministry. Each year, every camper at FCA Camp receives an Athlete’s Bible, and it is FCA’s most requested Bible resource.
2003 | Sports Bible Resources: FCA’s Bible distribution exploded when FCA introduced a Sports New Testament that included testimonies from pro athletes. Today, FCA has printed more than 1 million of these resources. Staff in Mississippi dreamed up the concept of a Coach’s Bible that included 365 devotions written by and for coaches. The resource was a hit! Due to the Coach’s Bible popularity, the
Competitor’s Bible for athletes was released. Today FCA prints, distributes and engages coaches and athletes with 15 Bible resources.
2006 | International Bibles: FCA printed its first Spanish New Testament in 2006. Multiple resources have been translated and printed, such as FCA’s Heart of an Athlete devotional in Chinese and Spanish, Japanese Baseball New Testament, Chinese Sports Devotional Bible and Russian Coach’s Bible. In 2017, FCA began distributing 50,000 Thai Sports New Testaments and 10,000 Vietnamese Sports New Testaments. In 2018, we printed FCA Sports Bible Handbooks in Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Ukrainian, Russian and Urdu. As of today, FCA prints New Testaments, Sports Bibles, Sports Bible Handbooks and more in Arabic, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Korean, Urdu, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese.
2013 | Going Digital: A partnership with YouVersion formed in 2013 and offered FCA reading plans to engage coaches and athletes in God’s Word. FCA began releasing e-Bible versions of all Camp
Bibles in 2015. Today, FCA has more than 50 Bible Plans in numerous languages on YouVersion, including Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, Chinese and Korean. Users have subscribed to digital Bible reading plans over 1.5 million times in just over five years, with nearly 1 million completions.
Also as part of FCA’s 65th anniversary, we’ve introduced “The Four,” a new initiative that gives our staff and volunteers a simple, relevant, repeatable way to clearly communicate the Gospel and four biblical truths within our disciple-making efforts. Using eye-catching symbols, we hope to engage coaches and athletes in today’s visual society as well as equip and empower staff and others to more easily share their faith.
To share “The Four,” FCA teammates have access to supportive resources, including a mobile-friendly website and a digital Faith Response Tool that’s collecting faith decisions and providing follow up for coaches and athletes who are saying ‘yes’ to Jesus. “The Four” is being used across FCA at Camps, events, Huddles and one-on-one discipleship meetings. This method of sharing the Gospel is starting conversations about Christ around the world.
These four Gospel truths include the following:
- God Loves You: God made you and loves you! His love is boundless and unconditional. God is real, and He wants you to personally experience His love and discover His purpose for your life through a relationship with Him. Genesis 1:27, John 3:16
- Sin Separates You: You cannot experience God’s love when you ignore Him. People search everywhere for meaning and fulfillment—but not with God. They don’t trust God and ignore His ways. The Bible calls this sin. Everyone has sinned. Sin damages your relationships with other people and with God. It keeps us from experiencing the fulfilling life that God intends for us. The result: you are eternally separated from God and the life He planned for you. Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Isaiah 59:2
- Jesus Rescues You: Sin does not stop God from loving you. Because of God’s great love, He became a human being in Jesus Christ and gave His life for you. At the cross, Jesus took your place and paid the penalty of death that you deserve for your sins. Jesus died, but He rose to life again. Jesus offers you peace with God and a personal relationship with Him. Through faith in Jesus, you can experience God’s love daily, discover your purpose, and have eternal life after death. 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Romans 5:8
- Will You Trust Jesus? God has already done everything to show you how much He loves you. He offers you fulfillment and eternal life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. This involves agreeing that you are sinful, accepting God’s forgiveness, and turning away from your sins and toward God. You choose to trust Jesus when you believe and confess that Jesus is Lord and surrender your life to Him. Are you ready to place your trust in Jesus? Romans 10:9-10, John 1:12, Rev. 3:20, Ephesians 2:8-9
As you can see, for 65 years, it has been our priority to go into the world and make Christ known.
We’re excited to continue going and experiencing all the Lord has in store for coaches and athletes!
Shane Williamson is the President and CEO of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. To learn how to bring FCA to your school, campus or community, visit www.FCA.org.