!Please Note!

You are using an outdated browser that may impact your experience on FCA.org.
Please upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer here or download another browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
Once you upgrade, this notice will no longer appear.

Eternal Significance

Published on October 22, 2018

Danielle Ripley-Burgess
“I was failing high school, and there was an incredible emptiness in my life – no purpose.”

This is how Buck McCabe’s testimony begins.

His parents loved him, but the family’s struggle to make ends meet led to Buck working several jobs in Roanoke, Va. starting at a very early age.

“By the time I turned 16,” Buck remembers, “life basically meant you were born, grew up, suffered, struggled to make a living, then died.”

In between work and school, Buck squeezed in football practice. One day, he received an invitation to attend camp where there would be football coaches, players and college people.

“I was interested, but I didn’t have any money to go or a way to get there. They said, ‘That’s OK, we’ll pay your way and take you.’ I didn’t even know it was an FCA camp.”

In summer of 1967, Buck boarded a bus headed to Black Mountain, N.C. After just a few days of listening to testimonies from coaches and sports heroes he admired like the New York Yankees’ Bobby Richardson and Paul Anderson, the strongest man in the world, he accepted the invitation presented to the crowd of campers.

“I sat there in my seat and prayed to receive Christ… when I woke up the next morning, I was changed in a dramatic way. I felt God’s Spirit and love. The anxiety, emptiness and suicidal thoughts were supernaturally gone.”

Heart change led to many others, including Buck’s education.

After a “second chance” year of post-graduate military high school, the not-yet famous Coach Lou Holtz recruited him to play at the College of William & Mary (although an injury derailed his football plans).

Despite the setback, Buck remained enrolled and soon met the love of his life.

“We were seated alphabetically in geology class,” said Buck. “After our first date, I called my mom and told her I found the girl I was going to marry.”

Although Susan recalls, “I didn’t know that,” at first, God answered the desires and prayers of Buck’s heart. They married one week after graduating with their undergraduate degrees and went on a five-week, tent-camping honeymoon across the U.S.

It was just the beginning of a great adventure God had for their family, careers and ministry.


Reconnecting With FCA

Buck and Susan McCabe

It was the late 1970s. Buck and Susan relocated to Atlanta after securing jobs, Buck for a large CPA firm and Susan for the Rapid Transit Authority. One day, they noticed Susan’s payroll deduction program allowed her to direct money to an approved charity. Fellowship of Christian Athletes was on the list.

“I didn’t have any FCA involvement after camp,” Buck said. “When I saw the payroll deduction, I thought, ‘Hey – maybe they have FCA in Georgia!’”

The McCabes chose to donate to FCA, which became the first small step of many others.

“Obviously, FCA is such a big part of Buck’s story but the funny thing is I am more of the athlete than Buck is…” Susan laughed when thinking about her first involvement with the ministry. “I’ve got the competitive gene and I love sports. When we got married, FCA became part of my story, too.”

They continued donating generously to the ministry. Buck joined both local and state FCA boards. Susan began serving on local FCA boards as well.

“Buck and Susan’s investment and involvement in FCA has been transformational to our movement,” said Randy Bruno, Coordinator of Talent Advancement for FCA’s Georgia Region. “They’ve helped shape and mold our culture and our core values as an organization.”

Buck was especially helpful in sharing leadership and business skills; they’d been bringing him and a “sleepy company with restaurants that sold chicken sandwiches” great success.


Exponential Growth

“Before joining Chick-fil-A, I’d never eaten a chicken sandwich,” Buck laughed.

McCabes and Kids
Buck and Susan raised three children (all born-again believers who got involved with FCA). They currently enjoy six grandchildren.

He joined the company in 1978 and three years later, he became the Chief Financial Officer (he retired in 2016). Today, he remains on the Chick-fil-A Board of Directors.

As CFO, Buck stewarded the finances of both the Cathy family’s estate and the company that skyrocketed from a handful of local restaurants into a global franchise.

“When I interviewed, I could tell something was different about them… God’s blessed the business in supernatural ways,” said Buck. “There’s no other explanation for the success except for God.”

The expansion of the company became one of many ways the McCabes experienced God’s blessings and exponential growth.

In the years the McCabes have called Atlanta “home,” the local FCA has grown from two full-time staff to over 100.

Buck joined FCA’s National Board of Trustees in 2001 and served as Chairman from 2006-2007. He’s helped FCA expand both in the U.S. and internationally. He’s currently serving his third six-year term.

​“BUCK AND SUSAN DON’T ONLY INVEST THEIR RESOURCES, THEY INVEST THEIR LIVES. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL NARRATIVE OF THEIR IMPACT AND INFLUENCE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” -RANDY BRUNOBuck and Susan’s family grew as they raised three children (all born-again believers who at one point have been involved with FCA). They currently enjoy six grandchildren.

Eight years ago, Randy Bruno helped Susan begin FCA tennis camps for special needs children. The program currently ministers to over 100 kids and 60 volunteers each week.

“I really respect the staff at FCA,” said Susan. “I see their callings and commitments. They’ve been great role models for me and I want to live my life in the same way and influence the places the Lord allows me to serve.”


Confident Assurance

Throughout their 45 years of marriage, the McCabes can see their bold steps of faithful obedience have been worth the risk. “We’ve given a lot, but we’ve been paid back blessing upon blessing,” said Buck.

“We want to give where there’s an eternal significance – where people are sharing the gospel, getting saved and going deeper,” said Susan.

The McCabes have full confidence their investment of time, talent and treasure to FCA has made a difference for Christ.

To share their faith, Susan and seven friends started an FCA tennis program for special needs kids at their public tennis center.

“I don’t know how many kids Susan and I have sent to camp, and we don’t usually hear too much back, but one day we will. And the stories will be overwhelming,” Buck said.

His confident assurance comes from an experience only God could arrange.

Several years ago, Buck returned to Roanoke, Va. to celebrate the local FCA’s 50-year anniversary. While shaking hands with attendees, he met FCA Hall of Champions inductee Dan Wooldridge. Upon meeting, they realized Wooldridge was one of several individuals who paid for 16-year-old Buck to attend FCA camp. It was an incredible moment, and a highlight of Buck’s life.

“I can’t imagine what a shock it was– almost 50 years later – to meet a kid they’d sent to camp,” shared Buck. “It never occurred to me to thank anyone until decades later, until I understood what happened to me. I’ve been successful, I’ve had a good life, and it all points back to what they did in 1967. All I can say is, ‘Thank you… thank you so much. You changed my life.’”


Photos courtesy of Nathan Gehman and Buck and Susan McCabe