Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) was founded in 1954. It is an international ministry seen on middle, high school and college campuses that was founded on the influence sports has on people’s lives.
FCA is a way for students in college to combine their love of sports with their desire to grow in community and a relationship with God. It is not just a ministry for people who are on their school’s teams, but also for people who love sports in general.
On the college level, FCA is more in-depth and works to build relationships through discipleship with students on campus. At Western Carolina University, FCA tries to take students to a deeper level and not stay surface level in their thinking.
Tracy Brandt is the leader of FCA at Western Carolina. She and her husband met through their involvement during their years in college and the ministry had a huge impact on their lives. In 2013, after teaching in schools for 14 years, Brandt felt she needed to leave and start doing FCA full time. That was when the ministry at Western Carolina really took off. Her husband joined her full time two years later.
FCA at Western Carolina does most of their ministry through small groups or bible studies. These bible studies are focused for students on each sports team as well as athletes who are not on a team at school. In addition to the bible studies, they hold rallies every month in which they bring in a speaker and have a time of worship. They hope for the rallies to be a place where people feel invited and welcomed and able to get plugged into a bible study.
Brandt said the reason they do bible studies once a week and put so much focus on them is because they feel that being in a small group of people who are investing in one another is where the most growth and life change will happen. Ultimately, they want students to get to know Christ.
Brandt and her husband are passionate about the work they feel the Lord doing through their ministry at Western Carolina.
“College is a prime time when students are out from their parents’ house and it is time to decide what they are going to stand for, what really matters, what’s important to them. We know it is a crucial time in people’s lives before they go out into the world. We want to be there for them. The students really embrace us as second parents. We want to help guide them to make wise decisions,” Brandt said.
Meghan Breden is a senior nursing student and also a member of the track team at Western Carolina. She has been going to FCA since her freshmen year. She started out just going to the rallies and then began going to a bible study. She now helps lead a bible study for her track teammates.
Breden said in high school she did not have the resources to grow as a Christian and be involved in a community.
“By being involved in FCA, by attending the rallies and being in Bible study and also being on leadership team and being poured into there, I have been shown how to live out a Christian life,” Breden said.
Breden feels that FCA is a perfect place for people who are new to Christianity or are looking for a place to belong. The community of like-minded people is helpful for her and other students in living their everyday life.
FCA is not just a place for students who are Christians, but anyone who is looking for a place to belong.
“There is no judgment. One thing we try to do is be very welcoming. We want them to feel they are wanted there,” Breden said.
Brandt said their goal is not to push anything on anyone, but to be a place where people feel loved and feel they can get their questions answered and help with the tough decisions they are making. She also encourages people who may have had bad experiences at other churches or campus ministries to give F
FCA a chance with fresh eyes.
Students who want to be a part of FCA simply just have to show up. The best way to get involved is to start with the once-a-month rallies and then get plugged into a bible study from there. The rallies are on different dates each month but are always on Monday nights at 8:18 p.m. in the hospitality room of the Ramsey Center.
Updates and information about events and rallies can be found on FCA social media. Facebook: WCU at FCA, Instagram: @catamountsfca, and Twitter: @fcawcu. Tracy Brandt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about FCA.