-Leslie Fallon, Sports Editor
“Where do I belong?” “How can I get connected on campus?” “How can I strengthen my relationship with Christ?” These are all questions that one may have as an incoming freshman or even someone who’s been attending MC for years.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or FCA, combines Christ, fellowship and fun every Monday night at 8:30 in the coliseum. Leaders Justin and Bethany Pigott represent the mission of FCA nationwide to “form an army of believers to disciple and serve every athlete and coach on campus, displaying the love of Christ through our personal faith; being unashamed and transparent with a presence of overflowing joy that sets this campus on fire.”
In 1954, Don McClanen, the founder of FCA, realized that professional athletes were being used to promote products and recognized these people had a lot of influence on others. Bethany explained, “he said, ‘Why don’t we use athletes to use their platform for the best thing we know, and that is Jesus Christ.’” Through that vision came the first camp in Estes Park, Colo., where over 200 college students got into small groups, which they called huddles at the camp. “When they went back to campus they did that same thing, huddles on campus, and that’s what we do on Mondays,” said Bethany.
“The goal of our huddle is to create an environment that encourages community and fellowship,” said Bethany. “That’s why we do a bunch of goofy stuff. We try to select topics that are practical, that you can apply to your life and hopefully pertain to your college years.”
“We are a bunch of athletes coming together to encourage each other and walk with the Lord but also challenging them to use that platform for Christ and the message of the gospel,” said Bethany.
Being greatly involved in FCA during their college duration at Mississippi State, Justin and Bethany already knew they wanted to continue being involved after college because it had such a great impact on them.
The married couple not only build relationships with the players, but also with the coaching staff. “FCA has shifted a lot toward the coach because a coach will have more influence in a year than some people will have in a life time,” said Bethany. The purpose in building relationships with coaches is in hopes to encourage them and how they lead their team. Justin goes to every away football game and is on the side lines every home game and practice. “We help wherever we are needed,” added Bethany.
Leadership is extremely important in sports and at FCA. With six different leadership teams: worship team, life group leader team, events planning team, outreach team, huddle team, and prayer team, the men and women who make them up show a great walk of faith.
“We start off with story time with Payton Gray, or an ice breaker because we want it to be a laid back atmosphere where people feel comfortable and welcomed, and we’re athletes and athletes like to have a good time and be competitive,” Pigott said.
“Anybody can come to FCA, even if you’re not an athlete!” said Bethany.
Oct. 27, FCA will have a four-mile trail run and a two-mile two-man costume relay at Choctaw Trails at 6:30 p.m. There will be food for people when they finish the race and food for those who come for the next event, starting at 7:30 p.m., which will be “experiential entertainment,” where you can walk through a trail and be a part of solving a murder mystery. Whoever solves the mystery gets a prize! Tickets will be on sale for $5 online and the week before in the Caf for $3. All proceeds will go to cancer research in honor of Kelly O’Mahoney.
“Our hope is that in this place, you can experience the freedom of Christ and learn that it’s the best option for your life,” said Pigott.