When FCA South Asia leader Adam* and his wife first married six years ago, they began to pray for a child. They prayed and waited, and prayed some more, yet no baby year after year. In the fifth year, God answered with a little girl. It was all, Adam acknowledges, God’s ways in His timing.
So, he knows a thing or two about patience, prayer, and perseverance, traits that serve him well in sports ministry. Adam carries himself with gentle strength and wisdom shaped by experience, attention and humility. He is dedicated to transforming lives and has a heart for the coaches and athletes in his region.
Adam, who joined FCA in 2012, first realized the potential for spiritual impact through athletics at an in-country sports conference. He met coaches whose lifestyles and hearts were different than of those he usually saw in the athletic arena and this piqued his curiosity.
"My vision is guidance from God."
-FCA South Asia Leader Adam
Influenced and intrigued by these leaders, Adam then locally attended the Sports Leadership School in 2008, followed by a 3-month training in Africa, and began volunteering in sports ministry. He pieced together a blueprint for his own developing ministry within soccer.
The calling was clear: “My vision is guidance from God. This was something I knew for sure, like this is what I have to do now.”
Local soccer teams are where Adam spends much of his time, while also balancing leading his church’s worship ministry and running an orphanage for girls. There’s a lot to balance, but his complete dependence and trust on God’s sufficiency and provision allows him to operate with steadfast endurance.
It is a slow, timely process that requires patience and a faithfulness in the little things day in and out.
Driven by personal relationship, his faith is proven by his actions, spending weeks and months getting to know players and coaches. Time, heart and energy are expended to cultivate an environment where others feel comfortable and open to relationship. “Just being there is what matters [at first],” Adam said.
Then, once familiarity and trust are built, he can slowly share his life with them.
Coaches are sometimes unfamiliar with the influence they have, as well as understanding the full measure of coaching all dimensions of an athlete, not only in the physical aspect of sport.
Adam and his staff introduce coaches to the whole-life coaching concept, where they connect moral and value lessons that transfer into everyday life. While not a familiar idea at first, coaches are empowered to step further into their sphere of influence, see results and are encouraged. “They love it because they know that it impacts life,” he said.
In the his region, access to ministry can be limited. But, said Adam, “when you have a soccer ball, the people love to play.” Sport is a connector.
"He teaches us to wait on His timing."
While the majority of athletes are not Christian, they observe the players who have a relationship with God rise to high caliber teams. They see outward success and connect it to God’s hand at work. This opening gives Adam an attentive audience when he talks about the Bible.
In ministry, it is important to do little things well. Not all things start big, and Adam narrows his focus for broader impact. “We start with very small things and events, but the work [grows],” he said. “It helps me to think big.”
Patience is well-tended fruit of the Spirit that requires obedience and crafts closer communion to God. “We want everything now,” Adam said, “but He teaches us to wait on His timing.”
His patience and perseverance have paid off as he rests in assurance that God has brought him to this work, and has faithfully placed events in motion.
“I never thought we’d reach the top level teams,” Adam said, “but I realize it’s not me, it’s God.”
For the future, he’s asking God to be big and build upon what has already been rooted within the coaches’ realm for His Kingdom purpose. Adam hopes for new meetings with key leaders to create a wider awareness of FCA and partnerships, as well as find additional team members, conduct proper training and receive guidance in accordance with the FCA vision to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
Serving through soccer has allowed Adam to reach unreached places and walk through doors that otherwise would not have opened. It’s been a difficult road that stretched his faith and increased trust. But Adam always looks back to God's faithfulness to move forward for Him into the sports world.
“God is here,” said Adam, “He’s working.”
To get involved with FCA's work in South Asia, visit fcaworld.org.
*Name change due to security reasons.