On Tuesday, August 30, I attended an event to highlight the work of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Troy University and to raise money to underwrite the program. John Gibbons invited me to say a few words about the importance of FCA and to give the opening prayer.
Colleges have priorities. I was amazed to see the high priority that FCA has at Troy. It is not just something that people give lip service to – they support it whole-heartedly!!
Coach Larry Blakeney, Head Football Coach at Troy, was there for the entire event. It is a two hour round trip drive to and from Troy, and he was at the event for more than two hours. He spoke boldly about the difference that FCA had made in the lives of young men who had played for him. He talked about how much FCA meant to him personally.
Troy had a major football game against Clemson University five days later. I have been around college coaches enough to know that very seldom will they take any time off before a major football game. It has to be extremely important to get them away from the game day preparation. Larry Blakeney’s presence was indicative of his values and commitment to FCA.
One thing Coach Blakeney said was how committed the Troy coaching staff is to FCA. The college coaches themselves had already made a major financial contribution to FCA.
Dr. Jack Hawkins, President of Troy University, was also present. I know how busy he is. He also made that two hour drive and spent at least two and a half hours at the event. He shared about the importance of FCA in the overall educational life at Troy University.
Steve Dennis, the Athletic Director at Troy, was also present. There were several professors and administrators who came.
Lonnie Cochran, a former basketball player at Troy, is the fulltime FCA person at Troy. A couple of former players were present and gave witness to the FCA ministry. I have been with Lonnie on several occasions and he is a very godly man and a great Christian representative to the athletes at Troy.
Did you know that 43 Division I schools have fulltime chaplain/FCA persons working with the football teams and other sports programs! FCA staffers Gary Cramer at Alabama and Chette Williams at Auburn have tremendous ministries that I’ve participated in and seen firsthand.
Larry Hughes, a good friend and one of those “quiet, behind the scenes Christian witnesses” had a vision and helped start an Endowment Fund for Troy FCA. He said, “I saw what FCA was doing at Auburn and Alabama, and I wanted the same experience for Troy.”
Most of us don’t have the opportunity to rub shoulders with college athletes and coaches on a daily basis. There are some people, through FCA, who are being given that opportunity. Please pray for them. Support them financially. I don’t know of anybody who can have a greater influence on coaches and young men and women who are college athletes than FCA.
Each of us do rub shoulders with people every day. It is our responsibility to make a difference in their lives. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16)
How big of a difference are you and I making?