From the very beginning, FCA has emphasized its role in calling athletes and coaches into the Church, including the phrase “…in the fellowship of the Church” in its mission statement since its inception. It is as important to FCA now as it was in 1959, when this article was written, and in 1954, when FCA was established.
The following article appeared in the April, 1959 issue of The Christian Athlete, the second issue of what would become the flagship publication of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, eventually evolving from a four-page newsletter to a full-color traditional magazine that has since become Sharing The Victory (in 1982), and in 2012, FCA Magazine.
THE F.C.A. AND THE CHURCH
From its inception, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been deeply concerned with its relationship to the life of the Church. The men who were active in the establishment of the F.C.A. were, without exception, active Churchmen. The men who comprise the Board of Directors, the Advisory Board and the Executive Committee are all active in their respective churches.
The individuals who participate in F.C.A. City-Wide Programs, Conferences and Films are active in many different denominations. High school and college athletes who enroll in F.C.A. Conferences are asked to obtain the signature of their pastor or priest on their application forms. Students not active in a church are requested to make the acquaintance of a pastor or priest of their choice.
Unlike many religious movements which have been established in recent years, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is dedicated to the principle that the youth of America need to be called into the Church rather than away from the Church.
As committed Christians serving Christ within our respective churches, we accept full responsibility for the shortcomings that may exist in them. We believe that the reformation that is so desperately needed in your lives must take place within the Church.
We feel that God has called us to invite athletes in particular, and through them youth in general, to total commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and to active participation in the worship and witness of the Church.
Every effort is made to embody these concerns and principles in each particular of the F.C.A. program. No city-wide program is planned or conducted without the endorsement and cooperation of the local Council of Churches or equivalent body. Each program speaker is encouraged to challenge his hearers to commit to Christ and the Church. In High School and Junior High School assemblies, the students are encouraged to active participation in their churches.
In the National and Regional Conferences, the same emphasis predominates. The athlete who attends an F.C.A. Conference is asked to consider his responsibility to Christ and the Church. At the conclusion of the Conference, the pastor or priest of each athlete is informed of the program and aims of the F.C.A. Each athlete is asked to contact his pastor or priest immediately upon his return from the Conference and to offer himself for service in Christian education and youth program leadership.
The counsel of denominational leaders and of outstanding churchmen has been continually sought. From time to time, meetings have been held with various church leaders in order to communicate these motivating principles and concerns.
We express these things frankly and clearly in this early issue of The Christian Athlete, because we want them to be a matter of record. From the very start, we have pledged ourselves to these ideals. We intend to keep our pledge and to maintain integrity and faithfulness in the service of Christ and His Church.
We do not represent any single theological position or hobby. Our leaders and participants are men of diverse theological backgrounds and viewpoints. We do not minimize the existence of these differences. Neither do we attempt to resolve them into a common “watered-down” denominator. Our concern is to bear witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to the centrality of the Church in the life of the Christian.
“For Christ and His Church” shall ever be our central theme.
– FCA.org –