I have been the faculty sponsor of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at my school since the fall of 2014, and I have recently been hired as an FCA Associate. After having recently met with local huddle leaders and FCA officials, I realize the importance of the synergy we create together. That synergy creates oneness, empowering us all through connecting huddles together. No FCA huddle should ever feel alone or that they don’t have the help they need. That being said, I would love to share lessons, videos, and ideas with other FCA huddles via my blog. Feel free to use any of the ideas in your own huddles below.
Check out the inspiring story of Inky Johnson. “From Tragedy to Triumph” has been an FCA favorite in my huddle ever since the video surfaced.
- Do you think Inky Johnson considers his football career a tragedy or triumph in his life?
- How did God work through Inky to spread His Word and glorify the kingdom?
- Has God ever done the same through you? How can Romans 8:28 give us hope in the tragedies of life?
Need a lesson about sportsmanship? Check out this video about a softball player that was carried around the bases by the opposing team. Don’t believe it? Just watch!
- Did the actions of Central Washington surprise you?
- Would you have done the same thing for a team that deserved a home run? What would you have done if this run was the winning run for the opposing team?
- How can you be a good sport in the sport you excel at?
You might have never heard the inspiring story of Jim Tracy and Holland Reynolds, but it is a tearjerker. Tracy, a cross country coach legend in San Francisco, led his team to the State Championship. No spoilers on this one. You need to watch “The Finish Line” with your huddle! It is a beautiful reminder for athletes to never, never quit.
- What can you learn from coach Jim Tracy in this video?
- Read James 1:2-4. How does this scripture factor in with this amazing story?
- Holland Reynolds never quit. Where are you tempted to quit in your own life? How can this story inspire you to persevere on?
Tim Tebow’s John 3:16 story will blow your mind! If any athlete wonders if there is a God, this video might prove it. It is an uplifting video that shows how athletes can be bold witnesses for Christ on the playing field.
- How did Tim Tebow use his platform as an athlete to be a witness? Do you think he faced any persecution because of this?
- Was this story a coincidence, or was this God at work? How could you use this story as proof that God exists?
- How can you, like Tim Tebow, be a witness for Jesus in your own sport?
Sometimes in life you fall flat on your face. Just ask Heather Dorniden. After getting tripped on the last lap of her indoor track meet race, Dorniden did the unthinkable. She popped up, churned her legs, and never gave up. Watch this amazing video for the all powerful reminder that we should NEVER GIVE UP!
- Why do you think Heather Dorniden got up after falling down on the track?
- Would you have done the same thing? Or would you have quit the race?
- Read 2 Timothy 4:7. How does this scripture apply to this video? How does it apply to your own life?
Derek Redmond was the favorite to win the 400 meters at the 1992 Olympics. Halfway into the race, he pulled his hamstring. In sheer agony but with tremendous guts, he began limping toward the finish line. His dad, watching in the stands, ran down to the track to help his son finish the race. The crowd gave a standing ovation as father and son crossed the finish line. Never before has a last place finish received such a recognition. Watch this video if you want a powerful reminder that our Heavenly Father never leaves our side.
- Why do you think did Derek Redmond got up to finish the race even when he knew he would lose and get last place?
- Derek’s father helped him to the finish. How does God do the same thing for us as our Heavenly Father?
- When was a time in your life when someone helped you accomplish something or when you helped someone else achieve a goal?
Did you know Steph Curry is a Christian? Watch this video which shares his testimony.
- What led Steph Curry to follow Jesus? When did his faith become his own?
- How does he use his platform as a basketball player to witness for Jesus?
- Who should you represent every time you play a sport?
Most people know Pete Maravich for his prolific basketball skills. After finding Jesus later in life, Maravich said he would rather be known as a Christian. His testimony at the Billy Graham revival below is powerful.
- Pete Maravich is college basketball’s all-time leading scorer. Do you think he wants to be known for this record or for being a Christian?
- Pete died of a rare congenital heart defect less than a year after this speech. He was 40-years-old. It is reported his last words before he died were, “I feel great!” as he played pickup basketball. How can his last words connect to his place in eternity?
- Do you know how much time you have on this earth? How can you use your time productively for the kingdom of God and not yourself?
Mike Sweeney will always be one of my all-time favorite Royals players. He was widely considered the “nicest guy in baseball;” however, he did get into trouble with a pitcher who ridiculed him. Sweeney charged the mound, tackled Jeff Weaver, and got ejected. Humbling himself later was not easy, but he knew he had to. Watch this video for a lesson about grace, humility, and forgiveness.
- Why do you think Mike Sweeney charged the mound?
- Have you ever lost your cool in a game? Read Ephesians 4:26-27. How does this verse apply to sports?
- What lesson about humility and forgiveness did Mike Sweeney learn? Do you think he is proud to share this story?
Do you wear your faith on your sleeve? If Indianapolis Colts linebacker Steve Grant had not been an evangelist in the locker room, teammate Derwin Gray would never have become a Christian. This is the powerful testimony of Derwin Gray and how he was introduced to new life in Christ.
- Why do you think Derwin Gray listened to Steve Grant?
- Do you think Steve Grant’s way of witnessing was effective or not?
- Who is a person in your life who needs a personal relationship with Jesus? What are you doing to reach out to them? How can we live out the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 on the playing field and in life?
Derwin Gray’s father never watched him play a single game of football. He disappeared on his son early in life and never came back–until much later in life. At first Derwin did not want to forgive his father, then he realized what Jesus calls everyone to do: put the past behind and embrace the amazing forgiveness and grace of Christ.
- Why do you think Derwin Gray gave his dad a second chance?
- What happened to Derwin Gray’s heart once he did forgive his father?
- Does everyone deserve forgiveness? What did Jesus say to the Roman soldiers on the cross? What does Ephesians 4:32 tell us? Who is someone in your life right now that you have a grudge against and needs to be forgiven?
Matthew West is notorious for creating songs about real life stories. When he heard Jordan’s story, he came up with “Hello My Name Is.” When Jordan thought he had it all, his world came crashing down on him, bringing him down to nothing. It was not until Jordan cleansed himself of his sins and found a new relationship in Christ that he pulled his life back together. This is Jordan’s story.
- Why do you think Jordan turned to drugs and got involved in the wrong things?
- Read Luke 14:11. How does this scripture apply to Jordan’s athletic career? How did God humble Jordan? Did Jordan deserve to be humbled like that?
- How can God take an awful tragedy like what happened to Jordan and turn it into a beautiful tapestry of His handiwork? How could Jordan use his testimony to reach out to other student athletes? What about you? How could you do the same?
Zach Williams thought he was going to be a basketball star. When an injury took his ability to play away, he turned to music, but he turned there in the wrong ways. The crazy life of a rock star caught up with him, and when there was nothing left for him to give his life to, Jesus took him in. The rest is history. This is Zach Williams’ testimony.
- Why do you think Zach Williams fell away from his personal relationship with Jesus? How would Zach’s life be different if he had become a college basketball star?
- Is there any sin Jesus will not forgive? Why do you think God gave Zach Williams a second chance? How is Zach using his platform as a musician for the kingdom?
- How does 1 John 1:9 factor into Zach Williams’ testimony? How does this scripture apply to you? What sin do you need to turn away from?
“Visualization” will walk you through the steps of visualizing success in sports and life, telling the inspiring story of Billy Mills in the 1964 Olympics.
“Sportsmanship” discusses how the Christian athlete aspires to a higher calling than the worldly athlete. We compete for something bigger than a trophy that will be forgotten years down the road. We compete for the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven, humbling ourselves before Christ. An inspiring YouTube video of sportsmanship in softball is recommended for your huddles to watch.
“Balance” explains how we all struggle with balancing sports and life. What do we put first? How do we juggle our crazy schedules? As long as God is first in your life, He can let you know where you need to be through prayer.
“Mental Health” explores the topic that some might shy away from discussing. While suicide is on the rise, this issue cannot be swept under the rug anymore. It tells the humbling stories of three athletes who took their own lives; however, it closes by telling of how Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps overcame suicidal thoughts before his last Olympics. The video likewise gives five tips how to conquer depression and provides three solid scripture references to show how much God loves us.
“Teammates” talks about the importance of being a good teammate, boiling it down to five easy steps. It likewise talks about surrounding yourself with the right influences outside of sports, using the tragic story of Len Bias as a reminder that bad choices in friendships can lead to drastic consequences.
“Truth” reminds us all that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Although we may be tempted to lie, integrity matters more. Get ready to hear a humbling tale of one of my lowest moments in the first golf tournament I ever played in. Father, forgive me!
“God Works Everything For Our Good” is a video that focuses completely on the beauty behind Romans 8:28. How can God be working for our good when bad things happen? That question is addressed here through the story of the 1999 St. Louis Rams, the story of Joseph, and the testimony of John Newton, not to mention a personal story of my own.
“Quiet Time” is a video that shows the importance of finding that sacred time daily to grow with God. So many young student athletes want to do this but have no clue where to begin. This video will provide plenty of options! It compares the importance of practicing our sports to get ready for competition directly to the importance of a quiet time preparing us for our Christian walk. Through the examination of the spiritual gifts these kids have been blessed with, they are sure to find one or two quiet time ideas that will fit their needs.
“Accountability” is a video that is derived directly from Wisdom Walks Sports, an amazing FCA devotional written by Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. I highly recommend this video for high school or college athletes! It focuses on building your very own “Dream Team” around you to support you in all areas of life. The warriors are at your side, going into battle with you daily. The watchman serves as a mentor above you, and the workman is someone you pour wisdom into. Learn about all these vital accountability relationships, and encourage your student athletes to seek them out.
“Know Your Playbook” is a video I highly recommend for the middle school student athlete. So many kids think they are hamstringed into not talking about Jesus at school due to Separation of Church and State. This could not be further from the truth! Students actually have more rights than you might think, and this video will dispell plenty of myths with seven rules of the Christian Students’ Playbook. It tells the emotional story of my last high school football game against my own brother and challenges student athletes to be bold in their faith at school.
“Sharing Your Testimony” is a powerful video that explains the importance of sharing the story of how you came to Christ. It begins by defining what a testimony is and telling what it can do. The video then explores the testimony of Paul in the book of Acts. Finally, you get to hear me share the story of how I came to Christ. This video will hopefully inspire others to do the same!
I found this video about the power of words. As much as I would love to share this video with all of my students, FCA would be a remarkable platform to share the message. It was extremely convicting to me in evaluating my own use of words. May all of your words be used to encourage and build up!
“Christian Teacher 101” is not necessarily an FCA video but a video I created for Christian teachers. I was asked to speak to student teachers at MidAmerica Nazarene University in the fall of 2016 and created this iMovie video to inspire them to live out Christ in the classroom. I hope it inspires you to do the same!
“FCA Resources” is a useful video to help you navigate the resources that FCA offers at http://www.fca.org. Check it out!
“FCA How to Begin a Huddle” is a brief video that guides potential FCA huddle leaders through helpful step by step instructions on how to start a huddle. Check it out!
Free FCA devotions: Would you like 100 free FCA lessons? Check out the document below! I was blessed with this last year when my friend and fellow local huddle leader, Danielle, sent it to me. Feel free to use it with your huddle for lesson ideas.
Free FCA PowerPoints: During my second year of sponsoring FCA, we began creating our own PowerPoints to present valuable material. Feel free to use any of the lessons below for your own huddles. Tweak them as needed to fit your group’s needs. Be leery that some of the PowerPoint slides will need to be edited as they are fit completely to my huddle at Indian Trail Middle School.
“Christian student rights” is a document I refer to in the “Know Your Playbook” video lesson above. If you would like a copy to give your huddle members, feel free to use this. It was given to me by a friend at MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Being a writer at heart, a few summers ago I decided to write 40 devotions about sports. Feel free to pick from any of these lessons to challenge your FCA athletes. The link is below.