Seeking to make disciples who make disciples all starts with building relationships. When those relationships begin to grow, and the “seed planting” starts taking root, trusting the work of the Holy Spirit to produce change in someone’s heart comes next.
It could take hours, days, or even years for someone to make a faith decision. But the moment you witness those seeds you planted being used to bring even one person into a right relationship with Jesus Christ, it not only changes them… it changes you.
Doug Pena, FCA Area Rep for Greater Hall FCA in North Georgia, recently had the experience of seeing God move in and through an athlete who is a part of a Bible study that he leads.
Four years ago, Pena started a Bible study with seniors on the Flowery Branch High School football team in Flowery Branch, Ga. What began as a few young men meeting together has now grown into 22 athletes representing three sports: football, baseball, and basketball (with one athlete from another school).
This year, Pena chose to take his athletes through The CORE, FCA’s primary resource to equip coaches and athletes with God’s Word. The CORE is an eight-week study that takes you on a journey of becoming a disciple — someone who is in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church. The hope is for every person who completes the study to know how to read and better engage with God’s Word and become empowered to help others grow in Christ.
“In my five years of being with FCA, I believe The CORE is the best decision we’ve ever made in FCA,” Pena shared.
Believing God would move and work in the heart of his athletes just as he personally experienced, Pena was eager to see what the next eight weeks would hold.
“It was week two, CORE 2: Live With God’s Power,” Pena said. “The book says — God makes you new, God is with you, and God leads you.” Speaking directly to his group, Pena went on to challenge the athletes to assess whether their actions and behavior matched how they felt God at work in their lives.
Before anyone could give an answer, Pena had another question to gauge whether or not everyone was on the same page about Jesus. Asking for a show of hands for those who were tracking with him, every kid’s hand went up… except for one.
"We’re in the business of loving and serving people,” Pena said. “If someone is going to be saved, God is going to take care of it. That was the beauty of it.” Pena and the students continued the conversation, and as they were wrapping up and saying their goodbyes for the night, Pena was pulled aside by the one kid whose hand did not go up.
“He asked if we could talk and I told him to let me know when he wants to, and that he can give me a call tomorrow,” Pena said. “But he wanted to talk right then and there.”
Having belief in God and Jesus as Savior, this athlete was ready to take the next step. With tears of joy in his eyes, Pena shared the Gospel and led him to Christ.
“It’s not all the time we get to see it happen… most of the time we just plant the seeds and go,” Pena said.
Week in and week out Pena is seeing this group of athletes using The CORE to go deeper in their relationship with Christ and with each other.
“With The CORE, they can get the fear out of themselves and go deeper with Christ,” Pena said. “It’s not complicated. It’s like 2 + 2 is 4. Jesus loves you, He cares for you, He died for you and He came back to love you even more. And that’s what they’re understanding.”
The CORE is a resource to guide others on the journey to grow and be empowered as a disciple of Jesus Christ. But for Doug Pena, it doesn’t stop there. Please pray for Pena as he continues to live “on mission” to disciple more coaches and athletes in Greater Hall, Georgia.
Want to invest more in FCA?
You can click here to support Doug Pena’s ministry, or learn more about how to get involved with Greater Hall FCA.