Faith, fun bring together Christian athletes


(Photo: Maddy Hermon/The Simpsonian)

by Taia Veren, Special to The Simpsonian

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Simpson College shares faith and fun with a growing number of students every week by holding events intended to inspire and serve the members and community.

Coltyn Hunter, a senior leader for the chapter, said, “FCA is an organization to me that is a way for students to come out on a Tuesday night and share their faith with people who they’re out on the same field with, or in the classroom with or just living on campus together.  It’s just another opportunity to get plugged in and share their faith.”
FCA welcomes all students to participate in the organization, not just Christian athletes, she said.

FCA began on campus about five years ago; however, it was hard to start the organization from the ground up with a small group and no real leadership team to spread the word about the organization, Hunter said.

It wasn’t until Simpson alum Nate Connealy began advocating for FCA two years ago that it started to attract attention and student members.

FCA meets in Cowles every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. with a crowd of about 40 students on a regular basis in attendance. This is an increased number from previous years, and the organization hopes to keep growing. “FCA has other events that we take part in whether that be on a Saturday night or during the week,” Hunter said.

“Our main events include outreach events to campus, whether that is giving Gatorades to all our athletes or just sending positive notes through social media.”

FCA also has fun events for students such as jumping at Sky Zone, bowling, visiting haunted houses and ice skating.  These events create an easy way for people new to FCA to feel comfortable and welcome to see what the group is all about, according to the leadership team.

Last year, FCA members took part in Night to Shine, an event made possible by the organization founded by former professional football star and current professional baseball player, Tim Tebow.  Members served as prom buddies to people with special needs and disabilities for a fun prom night experience centered around God’s love.

The goals of Night to Shine focus on making an impact, sharing God’s love and celebrating people by showing love and support.  FCA members say the night had a great impact on them and was a fulfilling experience to help make the prom guests feel special for a night.

FCA members say the chapter has helped them get to know other people on campus and has offered a place to learn and develop as a Christian while giving students a sense of community on campus.

Simpson dance team member Jaycie Eaton said, “I come to FCA because it’s a place where all athletes of different sports can gather to share their faith and testimony.”

André Flatt, a sophomore on the Simpson football team said, “I started coming to FCA because I felt like I had lost Christ in my life, and I wanted Him back in my life.”

Connealy asked Hunter to join the leadership team about two years ago. “He was just starting to look for people who had good leadership skills and organizational skills to put together a team, and I was very blessed to be chosen,” Hunter said.

Hunter said she wanted to take in all the leadership team had to offer and be able to use it as a platform to grow the faith on campus and grow in her own faith.

“Nate Connealy was a big role model for me when I came to Simpson,” leadership team member Levi Eblen said. “At the end of my freshman year, I was asked to be a part of the leadership team, and once I got started with Nate and the rest of the team, I saw what it was like to be a part of something like that, and I realized it was completely different than anything I had ever been a part of.”

With the help of Hunter, Eblen and other leadership team members, Simpson FCA became an official chapter last fall which means the organization on campus is officially affiliated with the international chapter of FCA.

Eblen, who said FCA is what initiated his faith life at Simpson, said, “Seeing the members of FCA come and grow individually and grow as a chapter was amazing and encouraging.”

“Since the beginning of my college career, FCA has been like my family,” Eblen said, “They’ve been where I’ve gone for my spiritual growth and to be around other brothers and sisters in Christ.”

The Simpson FCA chapter hopes to become more involved in the Indianola community and on campus to let students know FCA is a place for them to grow as a family through faith.