By Glenn Martin
Every three years, the entire FCA staff gathers for RealTime, which FCA Executive Director, Coach Les Steckel, describes as the “FCA Pep Fest.”
There are no breakouts, no great “How To” sessions. Just a lot of worship, celebration and inspiration. This February, over 1,200 staff members from 46 states and 19 countries packed a hotel in San Antonio and were blessed by a range of speakers, from high school athletes, to an NBA champion (David Robinson of the Spurs), a WNBA champion (Tamika Catchings), a comedian (Jeff Foxworthy), a noted pastor, author and speaker (Dr. Tony Evans) and a popular evangelist and radio host (Jim Daly of Focus on the Family).
There wasn’t a theme, but each speaker shared how FCA made a difference in their life and encouraged us to keep doing what we’re doing.
In early July, I attended an FCA camp at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and I reflected on the closing point of Dr. Evans.
This was shortly after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Dr. Evans said he was asked to talk to us about racial reconciliation. He compared sports to racial issues.
At the end of his talk, he said he wanted to leave us with mayonnaise.
I was like, “What? Where are you going with this?”
But he said mayonnaise is made up of two things that don’t blend together, oil and water. In order to blend and be an entity, you need an emulsifier. That’s something that, chemically, can take the oil and water, bring them together and keep them together.
Dr. Evans asked us if we knew what the emulsifier was for mayonnaise.
“Eggs are the emulsifier,” he said.
Dr. Evans added that, in the United States – even the whole world – the emulsifier is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But more than that, it is people living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He reminded us that the FCA is in a “perfect spot” to be an emulsifier, uniting people from all backgrounds, bringing them together at the foot of the cross through the ministry of sports.
On a court or field, he explained, race doesn’t matter. Passion for sports transcends racial, social and economic differences. Sports unites people, connecting them, fostering and building relationships.
It was really inspirational, and I’ve carried that with me ever since February.
At the Luther College FCA camp, we had about 375 high school student athletes participating in 10 sports. We had a dynamite speaker, Ray McElroy, a former NFL player. In the closing chapel service, there were 25 to 30 first-time expressions of faith in Him from the students!
At the end of chapel all the students had come on stage. As I looked over the crowd, I was struck by something about the students: they were nearly all white. That’s not bad in itself, but it doesn’t reflect of the student athlete population in Minnesota. We want to reach ALL coaches and athletes for Christ.
I said to myself, “Next year, this will look different! We’ll bring bus loads of kids from many communities.”
Glenn Martin is Minnesota FCA's State Director.