It is a delight to watch a good thing grow. Several years ago, retired Navy Capt. Bill Lewis from Orlando and I sponsored on behalf of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes a pre-tee-time devotional on Sunday morning on the 18th green at the Atlanta Classic.
On that humid spring morning there was no way we could have conceived of the event developing into what it has become. Now many tournaments have such events Sunday morning.
During the six years I served as the chairman of the National Board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) it grew to include several sports-specific ministries such as motor cross, football and golf along with several others. All have grown, but none more than the golf ministry. It has even gone high tech.
CORE 4 is a revolutionary online golf technology platform that connects youth with top PGA players, other youth and mentors. The program allows young golfers to interact with pros and other youth in the digital locker room. Offline, local instructors trained in the CORE 4 system help them develop their physical and spiritual lives.
Some of the biggest names in golf are involved.
Webb Simpson, former U.S. Open Champion, is an example. Webb was active in FCA as a young person. When the concept of providing a faith-based program for young golfers was brought up he responded, “I have been praying for two years about ways to reach out to high school guys.”
Webb along with other pros, Kevin Streelman and Ben Crane, helped launch the FCA GAMEDAY program. It involves an interactive spectator event where junior golfers caddy for pros during Tuesday’s practice round of PGA, LPGA and Web.com Tours. Afterwards, the pros engage in a sharing time with the youth and their parents and engage in a photo and autograph time.
FCA now sponsors “Breakfast with the Pros” and summer camps, such as the FCA Golf TobyMac Junior Camp.
FCA also sponsors a ministry for PGA pros.
FCA is involved in middle school, high school, college and pro sports. Events are held in conjunction with every college bowl game, the Super Bowl, basketball Final Four, various national coaches conventions and numerous other events. Ongoing ministries are carried on regularly among athletes and interested persons on all levels. This makes FCA the world’s largest faith based student organization.
As an aside, one event I always enjoyed was the banquet for the athletes prior to the Hula Bowl on Maui. Grant Teaff, director of the National Football Coaches Association, invited us to visit in the NFCA tent before the game and at halftime.
We got there and there were two imposing tents. Not knowing which was the FCA tent and what the other tent was we wandered into the first one we came to. It was the Hooters’ tent. The owner of Hooters welcomed us, said he watched our TV program here in Atlanta, and that his grandchildren went to FCA.
Through FCA I have been fortunate to meet hundreds of world class athletes and become friends with many who are devout people of faith with high moral values.
For more information on FCA gold, visit www.fcagolf.org and www.core4golf.com.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.