Tuesday, March 22, 2016

For six decades, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has used camping as a way to encourage athletic prowess, good character and faith-affirming decisions in youth and coaches.

The momentum is stronger than ever: The FCA’s 2015 Camp Ministry had “a record-shattering year,” with nearly 95,000 people attending 619 camps in 41 states and 36 countries, the organization said. Around 10,000 campers decided to follow Jesus Christ, while another 12,198 recommitted themselves to the Lord.

This year’s camp theme is “Rise,” from Joshua 1:9, and some 100,000 people are expected to attend at least one of the camps, which are organized around seven areas: coaches’ training, athletic training, leadership training, youth day camps, partnering with ministries and organizations, team competitions, and international camp development.

In addition to camping, the FCA, based in Kansas City, Mo., has robust ministries to coaches, campuses and communities.

This worldwide, faith-based sports ministry grew from the heart of a Christian basketball coach who couldn’t stop wondering why the big-name athletes of the 1940s and 1950s would use their influence to promote “shaving cream, razor blades and cigarettes,” but not the good news of Jesus Christ.

“So my idea is to form an organization that would project you as Christian men before the youth and athletes of our nation,” Don McClanen wrote to many of those athletes in 1954.

The late Mr. McClanen’s passionate, persistent efforts led him to key early supporters — and decades later, the FCA remains a powerfully dynamic Christian program touching the lives of millions every year.

Cheryl Wetzstein is Special Sections Manager for TWT Media Group.

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