15th Annual FCA Champions Dinner
This is a partial report by Board member Kent Hutchison
Full story was shared in THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The Archbold Evangelical Church once again welcomed the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Champions Dinner on April 14th. The purpose of the Champions Dinner is to recognize what God is doing in NW Ohio and SE Michigan, as well as honor those students who are doing an outstanding job spreading the gospel through their planning and leading the FCA Huddles in their schools.
Once again a sellout crowd of 450 gathered for an evening of inspiration and celebration! After a welcome, Delta senior student-athlete, Abby Freeman, provided the invocation. Brookview Farms provided an outstanding tailgate style dinner
The program began with Bryan students Katelyn Darrow, Keith Huard, and Isaac Laramore demonstrating what an FCA Huddle looks like. The Huddle format often consists of an opening ice breaker, lesson, bible readings, an activity, discussion, and typically closes with prayer.
Area Director Rex Stump then explained what “Team Time” and a few miscellaneous FCA ministries. Several students who attended last year’s Leadership Camp then to the stage to share their camp experiences. The common theme was that the students had a great time. Many of them mentioned how the camp helped them to be more confident in their ability to lead as well as growing spiritually and making new friends.
Stump then shared a story of the contagious impact that FCA can have on schools and teams. As many people may have noticed at local sporting events, teams often gather together at the completion of the contests to pray. These assemblies are typically led by student-athletes who are also FCA Huddle Leaders. On one occasion one of the players who usually leads the prayer for Wauseon asked a rather shy cheerleader from his school, who also attends FCA to lead. The girl led and did an outstanding job. The next week as the team was playing Delta, the player from Wauseon asked a player from Delta who was also in FCA at his school to lead. The boy obliged. Then Delta went to Bryan next, and the Delta boy prayed again. Stump emphasized this is the ripple effect that FCA can have. Its stories like this that makes Stump love the ministry of FCA.
The time had arrived for keynote speaker, Mo Isom, to address the audience. For those unfamiliar with Isom, she is a New York Times bestselling author, a nationally sought-after speaker, and a zealous voice rising up for her generation. In her younger years, she was an All-American goalkeeper for the LSU Women's Soccer team and the first female to train with and try out for an SEC men's football team.
While on the surface it appears that Isom has lived the dream, she shared a very different story. According to Isom, “FCA provided a profound impact my life and faith walk”. Isom shared what she loves about FCA is how it utilizes sport and school to open the door to Christ and see the student for the heart that they carry.
Isom shared her story of the pains, struggles, death, eating disorders, as well as accolades of accomplishment, love, and family. Through it all, those in FCA through high school and college continued to reach out to Mo, inviting her to be part of their Huddles and life. (You can read more in her book). It was those involved in FCA that never stopped pursuing her with the love of God. Mo surrendered her life to Jesus Christ, and went on to share that she lost many people who she thought were friends when she wouldn’t return to her sinful ways. However, she gained not only friends, but family from the FCA members.
FCA is an important part of Isom’s life still today. Throughout her presentation she lauded the positive impact that FCA has on students today. She closed by challenging the students in attendance to go out and plant the seeds and be harvesters for God!
Following Isom’s heart wrenching and inspiring speech, the attendees were invited to invest in the mission of FCA and its students. Thom Giguere asked to crowd to consider pledging to become FCA Home Team Members. He used the analogy of giving the cost of a cup of coffee, or a meal a day to FCA. Giguere added that if a financial gift to FCA wasn’t possible to please consider volunteering to help FCA or even praying for FCA.
Former FCA Huddle Leader North Central Graduate, Emma Zenz, then addressed the audience. Emma is now a freshman at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She attributes her calling into Youth Ministry to be due in large part to her experience in FCA. She challenged the students and adult to accept God’s call minister to Him in any way they can.
The moment had now arrived for the students to receive their well-deserved recognition. A total of 94 students from 50 schools were honored as FCA award winners. Each student introduced themselves as they arrived upon the stage. They each received a t-shirt, certificate, gift cards from different local eating establishments, as well as receiving a rock with a cross engraved on it.
Before leaving the stage, each student was challenged by Stump to go out and plant the seeds for the harvest in their schools and on their teams. He challenged them to not give up and to remain strong and courageous in their mission. To continue to encouraging others and continue the ripple effect wherever they are.
Prior to a posing for a large group photo, Rick Straley led everyone in the closing benediction and thanked everyone for coming.
Kent Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are thankful for all that are part of our ministry! We have a great staff of people, Jenny Stump, Rick Straley, and Eric Steinke. Our board members, our banquet committee, and those who helped underwrite the Champions Dinner. We are blessed with many huddle leaders, volunteers, coaches, and parents who have taken time to lead and direct the students. We thank God for the many student leaders who have invested in trying to lead their peers and change their school for Jesus Christ. And we thank God for the home team members, those who support this ministry through prayer and financial giving.
Our greatest praise and thanks goes to our Heavenly Father, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the powerful Holy Spirit who is working through this incredible team of staff, volunteers, leaders, coaches, students, and home team to make an eternal impact!