Within the lines of a sporting event, the environment can be cutthroat and brutal. All manners are pushed aside as athletes battle in the heat of competition with one goal in mind: winning. Although Eastern is a Christian university with high standards of excellence and sportsmanship for all athletes, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important. One group that strives to make sports a place for fellowship rather than rivalry is FCA, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a national organization who’s vision is “To see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.” Using sports as a vehicle for building Christian relationships may seem like an oxymoron to some athletes, but FCA’s focus is to keep the big picture in mind and use sports as a foundation for fellowship with other Christians and spreading the good news.
The FCA is alive within the student athlete population here at Eastern, and meeting once a week for Bible study and devotion. Started by Eastern alumn and former field hockey player Lisa Bitterlich, the club focuses on how to incorporate sports and religion during their meetings. Students in the club also strive to keep the values of FCA at a premium, including integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence
Senior Nikki Kummerer is one student athlete who devotes herself to the ideals of FCA. As a certified leader, she says the experience has helped her look at her experience on the volleyball team in a new way.
“Its important to represent and glorify God in sports, but it’s easy to forget about that in the moment,”Kummerer said. “FCA has helped me focus on how I can be a different kind of example than your normal competitiveness.”
Student athletes like Kummerer are the lifeblood of FCA, striving to provide a witness through the way they perform on and off the court. Every Tuesday at 9:30 pm in HHC, student athletes from various teams meet and discuss the ways they can integrate their love for sports and for God. As Kummerer points out, this is a great opportunity to meet quality people who share these two passions.
“It helps you meet and open up with other athletes on campus who you wouldn’t usually talk to about your relationship with God. We go on a deeper level and help each other out,” Kummerer said.
The group has only been active on campus for one year and has roughly 10 to 15 individuals who attend regularly. Each week, a different student leader guides the group through Bible study and discussion.
“People often get turned off when they hear the words ‘Bible Study’ but it’s really more of a fun environment where we open up and have great discussions,” Kummerer said. Along with weekly meetings, FCA students also regularly attend events sponsored by the club to support Eastern’s affiliation with the organization. These meetings and events are open to anyone who wants to reach out to other Christians through their actions on and off the field.
If you are interested FCA and want a new perspective on how to think about sports and Christianity as one, contact Nikki Kummerer at firstname.lastname@example.org or attend one of the meetings on Tuesday at 9:30 in HHC 222.