FCA Camps have a unique way of uniting people who would otherwise have very little in common. How else could you link a Super Bowl champion coach from Indiana to a college basketball player from Minnesota and a high school volleyball player from Tennessee? But that is the common denominator for Indianapolis Colts Assistant Coach Alan Williams, Southwest Minnesota State forward Kevin Andrews and Ooletwah High School libero Libby Peigen. All three have been spiritually impacted by attending FCA Camps and have come away with a deeper relationship with the Lord.
This spring, Williams, Andrews and Peigen are sharing their camp stories with you as a way of bringing glory to God and telling of His work in their lives. It is our prayer that their stories, which are just three of the thousands generated every summer at FCA Camps, will inspire and encourage you about God’s power and how much He desires to bring us all to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
THE NFL COACH:
Alan Williams, Indianapolis Colts Defensive Backs Coach
My family and I have been going to Black Mountain (N.C.) FCA Coaches Camp for nine years, and we look forward to it every year.
Coach Alan Wililams
The coaching profession can be very transient. Some coaches and their families can be in eight different places in eight years. Black Mountain is a place where we all can come to experience a constant community. Children can reconnect, spouses can reconnect, and coaches can see other coaches who can help them stay accountable during the year.
It really is like a big family get-together. It’s a place for us to recharge our batteries and really concentrate on our spiritual walk with the Lord. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the world can really distract us from the important things in life. At Black Mountain, our priorities are put back in place.
When we first started going to coaches camp, I was a young coach. I always questioned if it was possible to be a great coach, father and husband and to be a godly man. I searched for role models, but it was very difficult to find the total package. The amazing thing, though, is that those kind of people are in abundance at Black Mountain. Guys like (Colt’s Assistant Head Coach) Clyde Christensen and Tony Dungy—the type of men you could model your life after.
That mountain is a safe place, but, when you come down, you have to go back into the world. The challenge then becomes living out the things we learn while we’re there and carrying them with us when we leave. It’s not easy, but the relationships that are built help to keep us accountable during the season. I stay in touch with my accountability partner from Black Mountain on a weekly basis. We encourage each other and make sure we are living as godly husbands, fathers and coaches.
As coaches, we go to football clinics to build our résumés and become better football coaches, but we go to Black Mountain and other FCA Camps to build our résumés as men of God.
THE COLLEGE ATHLETE:
Kevin Andrews, Southwest Minnesota State University
Before I got to college, my faith was just book knowledge; it wasn’t really a relationship with God. I went through highs and lows, and I experienced a lot of what the world had to offer as I searched for anything that would satisfy me.
“Even though I really didn’t know what to expect, I decided to go. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.” – Andrews
But the death of a local youth pastor—Andy Wiersma, a former SMSU basketball player who was really passionate about the Lord—shook me into seeking answers to my questions about God. I started getting more involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and FCA, and all of the questioning led me to be born again in Christ before my junior year.
The next school year I felt the Lord do a lot through my involvement with FCA. I wanted to use the gifts He blessed me with to reach out to others. Early in that school year, FCA’s Joy Gardner came to a Huddle meeting and talked about the FCA National College Conference. A few of the leaders who had gone to the conference the year before explained how great it was, and they encouraged us to go.
Even though I really didn’t know what to expect, I decided to go. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
From the minute it started, I felt at home. It was great to be around other college athletes and people who had gone through the same trials. Our small-group Huddles gave us a place to open up and be vulnerable and share our experiences with others who could relate to us.
I’ve always felt like my actions were the most important part of following the Lord, but, through the college conference, I realized that it was more about faith first. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.”
Discussing that verse helped me understand for the first time that it wasn’t just about going to church or participating in Christian activities; it was about believing in your heart and having confidence in the Lord that He would keep all of His promises.
Of all the events that weekend, my favorite part was the worship with Coffey Anderson. We loved him so much that we invited him to come to our campus to lead a revival night. It was awesome to see how, with the help of Coffey, we were able to affect the entire campus based on what we’d experienced at the conference.
Ultimately, I think the conference really built great leaders for Christ who could return to their campuses and lead FCA. It prepared us for the struggles we might encounter as leaders. I know that it really strengthened our FCA and brought us together as a community in true fellowship. It provided a moment for God to break our hearts wide open and show us what was really going on. Through that experience, we all grew closer to Him.
THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT:
Libby Peigen, Ooletwah High School (Tenn.)
I had never even read a Bible. I didn’t understand what Scripture was, and I didn’t know how to decipher one thing from another in it. Christianity just wasn’t in my life. My dad practices Judaism, and my mom is a casual Christian, but neither forced their beliefs on me. They actually agreed that I would be able to choose whatever religion I wanted to follow.
“The rest of camp was amazing as I felt embraced by the Lord and all of the new friends I had made.” – Peigen
In 2007, during my sophomore year, FCA’s Julie Watson approached me at our state volleyball tournament and asked me if wanted to get involved with FCA. I was obviously a bit confused as to why she would be asking me, but I knew there were two girls on my volleyball team who were really involved with it. I ended up going just for fun and to hang out with friends. That was a start, and, from there, Julie started encouraging me to go to an upcoming FCA Camp. Reluctantly, I agreed to go.
On the way there, I was dreading the whole thing. I was convinced that it was going to be stupid. And honestly, those feelings continued through the first days of camp. The people were all great, but I just felt like I shouldn’t be there. I especially didn’t understand what the worship was about. Then we went on a prayer walk. I’d never prayed in front of anyone before in my life! Each girl in our Huddle was taking the opportunity to pray and tell her favorite Scripture, and all I could do was cry. I was so emotional thinking that I couldn’t pray or do any of those things.
Later that night at worship, through the direction of my Huddle Leader and the camp staff, I finally realized all the grief and crying was like a rebirth within me. I gave my life to Christ that night in front of the whole camp in a flood of emotion and peace I’d never felt before.
The rest of camp was amazing as I felt embraced by the Lord and all of the new friends I had made.
Last summer, I went back and took my best friend with me. It was a great chance to spend time with people I loved and to meet new people. We played games, and the Huddle grew so close doing things as a team. My favorite part of camp was the worship, which brought an awareness of Christ to the place. And, since I’d been in their shoes, I really felt like I could understand and help those who didn’t already know Christ. I knew I wasn’t in a position to judge them because I’d been in the same position the year before.
|This could be you!|
These stories can be more than just words. They happened to real people, and they can happen to you. Sign up for FCA Camp this summer and ask God to take you to a deeper level with Him. Visit fcacamps.org.
Back at school, I’m now the president of our FCA, and we are so blessed to be able to make a difference on our campus. Julie Watson is also leading a Bible study with our volleyball girls, and we pray with the team before meals and games. I just love FCA because, without it, I wouldn’t be walking with Christ like I am today. Thank God for FCA Camp!
Unleash The Power: Strengthen Your Core!
This summer, FCA’s Camp theme will focus on the ministry’s four core values: Integrity, Serving, Teamwork and Excellence.
“It’s a great opportunity to dissect our core values in the camp setting,” said Dan Britton, FCA Executive Vice President of Ministries. “The theme and verses have a lot of substance to them, and it is in perfect alignment with how our ministry works on a daily basis—with teamwork, excellence and integrity, all
The theme “Unleash the Power: Strengthen Your Core!” was developed from Colossians 1:9-14, specifically verse 11, which reads, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy…” It is a challenge to athletes and coaches to develop spiritual core values in their own lives, and to learn how to make a difference for Christ on their teams.
“It is our prayer that 50,000 coaches and athletes would experience the ‘Unleash the Power’ theme this summer and learn to live out these core values,” Britton said. “If that happens, they will all make an enormous impact through living and competing with Christ-filled purpose.”
--For more stories about faith and sport, visit www.sharingthevictory.com, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. To subscribe to STV, click here.
Courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts; Kevin Andrews; SMSU Athletic Communications; Libby Peigen