Christian athletics brings faith to student

Growing up, I relied on my faith in God throughout a lot of trials and triumphs, and I still do to this day.

In high school, I was involved in Sunday School, church services, worship and youth group, but one activity that stood out to me was my involvement in a group called Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Being in FCA, I not only got to learn more about my athletic events, but also more about my faith and what it means to me.

In high school, I was very involved in this organization and was even the president of my high school chapter. I went to the summer camps and the game days at the University of Wyoming, and it was one of the greatest experiences that I have had.

On these trips, I was able to bond with other kids that believed in Christ as well and because of that bond, I knew them on a personal level. These trips made me step out of my comfort zone and be able to talk about God and my religion with others and not feeling judged.

I was able to connect with others and not have to be afraid of someone saying, “How can you believe in something you can’t see?”

FCA allowed me to explore within athletics, as well as explore into even more about God and my relationship with Him.

Summer camp was one of the best experiences that I have ever been a part of because it opened my eyes to so much more than just a religion, but a life with God.

At camp, participants choose a sport to focus on during the week under the guidance of a huddle leader. The huddle leaders not only helped with the sports sessions, but also spent time with each of us to learn more about us and to talk about our journey within our faith.

Throughout the day, there would be time set for worship and to talk with our huddles. Then there were sports sessions and quiet time where we could go off on our own and reflect over the day and week.

This camp really let me see God’s work in the lives of others and my own, so I continued to go.

One aspect of God’s work I could see at this camp is that all of the campers came together, despite rivalries, and worshiped the Lord together. I became really close friends with some students from Burns High School, which is Pine Bluffs’ rivalry. FCA helped us see that God loves us no matter what school we came from and that we should exhibit His love as well.

I also had the chance to see people finally commit to God and give their lives to Him, as well as see people overcome adversity within their certain sports. I went for track and volleyball for summer camp and being short can be a setback to any type of sport.

I wasn’t the fastest either; however, after seeing other kids overcome hardships because of their faith in God, I knew that I could trust God to help me do the same.

At my high school, we had weekly meetings where one of our teachers, the regional FCA leader and students got together to have a bible study, as well as a discussion afterwards.

My whole family prioritized my sporting events in high school, and religion has always been an important aspect within our family too, so my dad even came to the meetings every once in a while.

That was very special to me because I had a lot of support, not just in sports and extra-curricular activities, but also in my faith.

Being in FCA also helped me meet a lot of new friends that shared similar beliefs.

When I first started going to Laramie County Community College, I tried some different church groups, but I didn’t really feel comfortable. I couldn’t find any group that I just felt like I could let go of everything without judgement.

Throughout college, I have found myself in trials where I couldn’t figure it out myself. I also found myself in times where I should have looked to my faith instead of seeking answers.

For a while, I felt invincible and recently I came to terms that I am not. Nobody is. I did whatever I wanted and didn’t think of any consequences. Coming to this realization brought me back to my faith that I had relied on earlier in my life and it has also brought me back to FCA.

Anyone can be involved in FCA at the high-school level, as well as the college level. I got involved with FCA because I was involved with sports, but anyone can join FCA.

FCA has brought me back to God because of the fellowship I experience each week and the love I feel, not only from God, but also from the people around me. FCA has also brought me back into my faith because it has provided new challenges, like developing leadership skills.  

I have always wanted to lead, especially within a faith-based group, and I have considered helping with other groups but I didn’t feel as comfortable as I do within FCA.

I love sports and I love God, so it was a great fit.

So, my idea was to help FCA become more prominent in my hometown of Pine Bluffs again. I know that after I left, and even when I was still in high school it wasn’t very popular.

FCA also created so many great experiences for me, and I want the youth of today to experience it as well.

My plan is to start having weekly huddle meetings, which is just like a youth group, back home.

A huddle meeting consists of games, food, and fellowship. It is a great way to learn more about God and connect with other people about Christ.  

I plan to follow a study from the YouVersion bible application each week that the students can also interact with on their devices. This makes sense to use because just in case the weather is bad on the night of our huddle, the kids can still access the day of the study and we can talk about it the next week.

After trying to get into some groups, I realized that being a little pushy is annoying, and I don’t want other young adults to be pushed away because of feeling obligated to go.

I also don’t want others to feel dedicated to coming every week. Beginning a relationship with Christ must be someone’s own decision and must be out of their own heart, not someone else’s.

At 20 years old, I didn’t think I would jump into a leadership role within a Christian group because I don’t feel entitled and I know I don’t know everything about the Bible or even faith for that matter. But I believe that God doesn’t bring you to a task in life without knowing that you can handle it.

What I hope comes from this FCA experience in my community is that God will be more known throughout the community and that it will help bring students to God.  

It is a hard world we live in and no, life doesn’t just become easy when you follow Christ, but it makes life much more bearable and better when you know that He is always there with you.

I want young adults to see that living a life with God in your heart and truly living for Christ is definitely worth it.

 

About Brooke Darden (25 Articles)
My name is Brooke Darden. I am a sophomore at Laramie County Community College and am majoring in Mass Media. This will be my second year in Wingspan and I love getting involved with the faculty and students for the paper. I plan to transfer to the University of Wyoming in fall 2018 to continue my bachelor’s degree in Communications. I love to read, play volleyball, and spend time with my family and friends.

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