FCA Training Update
By Susie Magill
“…train yourself in godliness, for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way...” –1 Timothy 4:7-8
Here within Paul’s wisdom to Timothy lies the driving force behind the FCA Institute: to train excellence in sports ministry. Just as extensive preparations are needed to compete at the highest athletic level, FCA wants their staff to receive a first-rate sports ministry education to better equip them to serve the sports community.
“FCA can’t thrive on being a mile wide and an inch deep,” said Dave Kubal, FCA’s vice president of training. “We know that you can only give others what you have been given, so we try and provide our staff deep, quality training.”
According to Kubal, being on staff with FCA generates more challenges than one might expect. Many join FCA with a passion to reach the lost through the avenue of sports, but few are prepared for the challenges that accompany the position.
“A lot of our staff come from the coaching or business world and are able to share the Gospel, but they don’t necessarily have a formal theological background or training in ministry,” he explained. “This is a void we can fill.”
Who: All FCA staff and volunteers with an
What: Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry with a
Concentration in Sports Ministry from Malone
College School of Theology
Course Load: 12 courses / 36 credit hours
Where: Foundation Courses: online
Malone College—Canton, Ohio
FCA World Headquarters—Kansas City, Mo.
When: Now! You can apply for the spring or summer
Why: To provide high-quality, graduate-level education in
biblical and ministerial studies to the FCA staff, and
equip them to impact the world for Jesus Christ
through the influence of athletics
How: For more information, visit malone.edu/fca or
contact FCA’s Dave Kubal at 1-800-289-0909.
Malone College is an affiliation of the Evangelical
As a result, Kubal led FCA into a partnership with Malone College to offer a fully accredited Masters of Arts degree in Christian Ministries that concentrates on sports outreach. The degree is designed to “enhance the ministry and longevity of FCA staff,” and also sets the foundation for success by including a number of resources to maximize ministry.
“This program helps FCA staff by immersing them in Scripture, theology and the philosophies and methodologies of sports ministry,” said Dr. Greg Linville, Malone’s assistant professor of sports and youth ministry. “When you are with a master, you know it.”
While several of the required classes focus solely on the basics of biblical theology, others are geared exclusively toward ministering in sports. Staff learn how to tailor their discipleship practices to
fit the lives of coaches and athletes, how to formulate biblical rationale in defending Christian involvement in athletics and even how to best raise their financial support.
“If we can help FCA staff grow through these concepts, we can help them weather a few storms,” added Linville, who holds the world’s only Sports Ministry Doctorate. “They are going to be so enhanced theologically and pragmatically in their knowledge of the Scriptures that it will help them minister in a deeper, more fulfilled manner, which will result in a longer tenure with FCA.”
The delivery system of this degree program is especially appealing to FCA staff, as courses are offered online and through a week-long modular format at both FCA’s world headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and on the Malone campus in Canton, Ohio. Four of the regularly scheduled FCA staff training classes held in Kansas City (Stewardship School, Board School, Area Director School and Training Camp) are now accredited to Malone’s program; and up to three classes from a local seminary or Bible college can be transferred, thus making the 36 required hours more feasible.
Further benefiting those enrolled in the program is Malone’s matching grant, which allows one-third of the cost to be cut from every second three-hour course taken per semester—a savings of more than $1,950 a year. The remaining fees and travel expenses can be fully reimbursed with monies raised through FCA once a class is completed.
“Our desire is to provide FCA staff with the opportunity to complete their graduate degree while still actively ministering in the field,” said Kubal. “You can take from as few as 14 months to more than seven years to complete it. And with classes offered online and here at the Home Office, it is much more conducive to the busy schedules of our staff.”
St. Louis FCA Area Representative Erik Arneson, who has been in the Malone program for nearly two years, named the program the best thing he has done within FCA.
“As staff, we have all been at a place where we have racked our brains for ways to minister to a coach or athlete,” explained Arneson. “But now, I don’t have to rack my brain anymore. Through this program, I have many ideas and resources at my disposal.
“You have a choice,” he continued. “You can either continue your job with the knowledge and training you have been given, which often is limiting, or you can take these classes and surround yourself with other people who study sports ministry and are leading it around the country.”
|From the Field|
“As staff, we are called to minister to athletes and coaches and all whom they influence. I strongly encourage our staff to take these classes. It fills you up spiritually and gives you a more accurate understanding of the context of Scripture, which expands your gas tank, so to speak, and provides you with more avenues to answer questions and disciple donors, athletes and coaches.”
– FCA Regional Director Al Scheirbaum, whose staff started taking Malone classes almost eight years ago.
“The FCA staff has the daunting task of accurately sharing God’s Word. The Malone sports ministry professors have helped me understand what was going on thousands of years ago and how to properly apply the Word in today’s culture. The program is flexible, provides fellowship opportunities and is very applicable to my everyday work.”
– FCA Area Director Lance Hartshorn, Youngstown/Warren, Ohio
*For more stories about faith and sport, visit www.sharingthevictory.com