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Fields at the podium in Oklahoma.
White Sox infielder Josh Fields has that storybook FCA history. He started going to FCA meetings in junior high, continued throughout high school and college, worked FCA Camps, started speaking at events when he made a name for himself as the quarterback at Oklahoma State, and now, as a rising MLB star, he returns to Oklahoma to share his faith from his professional athlete platform.

With that kind of legacy going within the ministry, you might be shocked to know what really got him involved with FCA.

“Doughnuts and milk,” he said with a grin. “I was walking through school early in the morning when I was in seventh grade and people were saying, ‘Come in here for free doughnuts and milk.’ And, I was like, ‘Oh! Free doughnuts and milk. OK!’ I was already a Christian, but that was the first time I was involved with FCA.”

Over the years, Fields has built a strong relationship with the FCA staff in Oklahoma, particularly with John Talley, longtime area representative in Stillwater.

“One of the neat things about Josh is that no matter what level he’s at, he’s always tried to mature and to better himself,” said Talley, who helped Fields share his faith with more than a quarter of a million students throughout his college career. “No matter who you are, Josh is going to treat you like a friend. He makes everyone feel special and important, and that is a great example of the love of Christ.”


Burke with Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell in Kentucky.

Chris Burke’s FCA connection didn’t start as early as that of Fields, but in just a few short years, he already has established a great reputation among the staff. When STV posed the question as to which athletes to interview for feature articles, three staff members from across the country responded by suggesting Burke. (The typical ballplayer will be suggested by one staff member from his local area.)

Burke has made an impact on the surrounding communities of every team he’s played for, no matter where he may be hanging his hat.

“I love Chris’ authenticity and openness. He doesn’t set himself up as some bigger-than-life baseball star. He’s a hometown boy who is allowing Jesus to shine through him.”
– Steve Wigginton FCA Area Director, Louisville, Ky.

“Chris was instrumental in coordinating our home Sunday chapels while in Round Rock,” said FCA’s Ben Johnson, who served as Burke’s minor league chaplain in Round Rock, Texas. “He was a big encouragement to me by always having an upbeat attitude and a willingness to share his faith.”

FCA’s Chris Morgan, who serves as the University of Louisville chaplain, also weighed in.

“If I had to use one word to sum up Chris Burke it would be ‘joyful,’” said Morgan, who witnessed Burke’s influence firsthand when the infielder visited the Louisville baseball team this spring. “What was so impressive to me was how Chris jumped in and served with the UL baseball players. Whether it was field set-up or picking up BP balls, he did it willingly. And the guys watched that. It was only a lesson that a Major Leaguer could teach: servanthood.”

Involved with Athletes in Action in college, Burke recognizes the importance of sports ministries such as AIA and FCA.

“They put the emphasis on the important things like giving back, staying grounded and realizing who we’re playing for,” Burke said. “They allow you to not get lost in all the hype surrounding athletics and keep you focused on giving your best for God and making the most out of the ability He’s given you.”

Clark with FCA's Brian Beltramo
(center) and former Major Leaguer 
Bill Swift in Arizona.
Tony Clark came to the pages of STV in just about the opposite way. Like most others, he was only suggested by one FCA area... but for three consecutive years.

According to the Arizona FCA staff, Clark is one of the most captivating speakers in their area and brings incredible wisdom to every FCA event at which he shares.
“Tony is one of the most genuine, joyful, articulate speakers I’ve heard,” said Arizona FCA Coaches Ministry Director Brian Beltramo, who contributed the Clark Q&A portion of this month’s cover story. “He makes an impact every time he picks up a microphone.”

Another unique aspect of Tony Clark is his off-season role as a coach. During the winter, both he and his wife, Frances, can be found courtside at Northwest Christian High School in Phoenix—Clark as the assistant boys basketball coach and Frances as the head girls coach. In fact, this past season, Clark helped his Crusaders win the state championship for Arizona class 2A.

For this reason, FCA not only ministers to Clark as an athlete, but also as a coach.

“I’ve been a part of FCA for the last seven years,” Clark said. “Whether it has been attending FCA functions as a speaker or participant, I’ve always been excited and encouraged when surrounded by those who share in the passion to glorify Jesus Christ through athletics.”

*For more stories about faith and sport, visit, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Photos courtesy of Chris Kaiser, Steve Wigginton, Brian Beltramo.

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

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