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“FCA is passionate about helping coaches and athletes express the unbiased unconditional love of God for His children to each other. We desire for those who serve to be fully representative of those we serve. The more diverse we become, we widen our lenses, deepen our understanding and more clearly see opportunities to make a difference. Jesus took His team through Samaria to break down people barriers. Pray for us as FCA intentionally takes the path the Lord lays out to do the same.”
—Shane Williamson, FCA President/CEO
Being 100% means giving God our whole heart. This involves looking inward. In light of the tragic circumstances surrounding George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others in the United States, we want to share the ministry’s formulated, measured, intentional, strategic and ongoing response to racism.
As a global family that is made up of diverse people from many nations, our goal is to be humble leaders who are engaging in hard conversations and creating bridges, even within ourselves as a ministry body. As disciplers of coaches and athletes, we have a responsibility to teach what the Bible says about racism and spark conversations of unity and healing. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28-29: “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” This truth must go forward.
We recognize that meetings, articles or training programs will not solve all the issues, but as a ministry, we can be intentional about moving the ball down the field. Sports are, and always have been, a cultural catalyzer, and we believe God wants to use FCA to create long-lasting change. It starts with honest open and sometimes hard conversations.
WHAT IS FCA’S POSITION ON RACISM?
Racism is wrong. It’s a sin. In God’s Word, we see that when sin entered the world, it held the door for everything else, such as pride and comparison. This broke our relationship with our Heavenly Father. But it didn’t stop there. We began comparing ourselves with one another, and this led to prejudice and racism. This seed of sin has continued to manifest itself in every generation. As believers who follow Jesus, it’s our responsibility to follow the instructions in Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” We recognize that racism can be found everywhere.
HOW IS FCA STANDING AGAINST RACISM?
Our best play is our mission statement: To lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ in His church. This rolls out in three ways:
1) We must rip out the root of racism using the Gospel and the power of Jesus Christ.
2) We need to renew our minds using God’s Word. This allows us to think differently about people and situations around us.
3) We recognize our words and actions influence coaches and athletes, and as they are equipped with God’s Word to stand against racism, they will make a difference in their homes, on their teams, at their businesses, in their churches, as government officials and more.
We are being intentional about addressing the sin of racism, as it affects coaches and athletes.
WHO IS LEADING FCA’S DIVERSITY EFFORTS?
Originally established in 2013, FCA’s Diversity Field Team is a small group of FCA leaders, ranging from staff members from each U.S. Division to executives and board members, who are passionate about equipping ministry leaders with tools to uproot racism and encourage a culture of unity and oneness. The Diversity Field Team is focused on looking at FCA’s core constituent groups, prioritizing the greatest opportunities for becoming a more diverse ministry and recommending strategies to leverage these opportunities for greater impact. The Field Team also spearheads training for FCA staff in the area of diversity, efforts in recruiting and retaining diversity within FCA, and creating quality resources for staff to use when reaching coaches and athletes.
CREATING HEALTHY CROSS-CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS
In response to the cultural outcry of 2020, Texas Region International Advancement Coordinator Eric Anderson developed keys to fostering healthy relationships between individuals of different races that we refer to as the 5 Principles toward Racial Reconciliation.
There’s an opportunity for FCA to step into discussions by living out these principles to bring change.
“I feel the most love when I’m valued by my teammates, when I am heard by my teammates, when my teammates lean in and lean up to experience my walk of life. For me, when you value me in that way, you’re clearly demonstrating love.”
- Eric Anderson, Texas Region International Advancement Coordinator
Actively listening allows us to hear someone’s heart and perspective—which includes their experiences, cultural norms and upbringing—without judging or presupposing. Proximity breeds intimacy.
An attitude of learning allows two people to move together. Understanding draws them closer.
Lamenting comes when we build relationship equity. Whatever breaks someone else’s heart should break ours. Weep together, mourn together, carry burdens together—this will form strong relationships.
Leveraging relationship capital means moving forward in unity and speaking out against racism together. It’s not done for performance. Relationships between individuals of different races can be leveraged to not only benefit others, but glorify God.
To learn more about FCA’s vision and mission, visit fca.org.
Photos courtesy of White County FCA, Foothills FCA and North Orange County FCA