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A Place Like This

Published on February 13, 2023

Danielle Ripley-Burgess

This article appears in the Fall 2022 issue of the FCA Donor Publication. The FCA publication is a gift from our FCA staff to all donors giving $50 or more annually. For more information about giving, visit here.

It was more than a simple, quick lunch.

FCA Volleyball Director Hadley Mussler had just left the Chick-fil-A drive thru and pulled into a vacant parking lot before picking up equipment for her team.

“I was like, what is this building? It’s huge,” she said. “I looked in the windows and saw a for sale sign. It had hardwood floors.”

Mussler took some pictures and texted them to Jason Schack, FCA Brevard County Area Director. The two had been carrying the stress of finding places for their FCA club volleyball teams to practice.

“I highly underestimated the time and energy it would take to find practice space for multiple teams,” said Schack. “There are always scheduling conflicts in a normal year, but during a pandemic, it’s a whole other level.”

When the athletic directors allowed the schools’ gyms to be used, they booked up quickly. Churches had also opened their doors, but on a week-by-week basis.

“If only we had a place like this,” Mussler wrote to Schack.

The text came at perfect timing.

“On this particular day, I had three closed doors and I was at the highest point of frustration and confusion,” Schack said.

HamiltonsThe text sat on Schack’s phone as he engaged in a conversation with Tony Hamilton, a dad to one of the volleyball players, during practice. He was sharing about the challenges of finding practice space and how he had to search each week.

“FCA needs its own facility,” Hamilton responded.

Mussler’s text had come at just the right time. Schack pulled out his phone to show the photos, giving a quick example of one of their big dreams.

‘‘This is off Agora street, it used to be a gymnastics facility,” Hamilton laughed. “Is it for sale again? I wanted to buy that building years ago.”

The moment was drenched with God’s presence.

A little over a month later, Hamilton and his wife Dawn closed on the very building that Mussler had texted to Schack. FCA Sports now had a year-round place to play.

“We are seeing God open doors for us to be involved in the community through off-campus ministry,” said Dan Carter, Multi-Area Director of Florida’s Central Atlantic Region.

Several years ago, FCA Brevard County saw the opportunity to expand their campus and camp ministry into off-campus sports.
“We don’t only reach students at schools, but parents are around,” said Carter. "Siblings are hearing the Gospel. We have opportunities to be the light and to share God’s Word. Club and league ministry is allowing us to reach beyond the campus in this season.”

From the beginning, they saw quick growth.

“During our first club baseball season, we had 17 boys and at the end of summer, 12 gave their lives to the Lord because they had studied the Word of God for the first time,” said Schack. “What we can do with athletes and parents in club sports is unique because of the intimacy.”

With the baseball clubs going strong, Brevard County FCA added other sports, like wrestling and volleyball. Schack brought on Mussler to lead the volleyball teams. Within a short amount of time, there were six volleyball teams with over 60 girls participating, reaching not only coaches and athletes but parents like Tony and Dawn Hamilton.

“I knew God had something for me,” said Hamilton, a grandson of ministers on both sides of his family. “I’ve always loved kids and I wanted to do something for kids. When this building came available, I told my wife I think God wanted us to buy it so the kids could use it. It was incredible.”“I love coming in here and seeing the FCA logo on the front of the building. That is what it’s
about. It’s hard to believe they do this. It’s not just volleyball; they’re bringing the Gospel to the kids.”
-Tony Hamilton

Hamilton especially wanted to ensure that FCA’s approach to ministry would continue. He appreciated how the teams opened up practice with devotions, incorporated the Word of God, and even prayed with opposing teams following victories and defeats. After finding out about both the building’s availability and FCA’s need, the Hamiltons pursued purchasing it, but with a business-minded approach.

“My wife started looking around, and we considered building our own place,” Hamilton said. “We were looking at property and it was reasonable, but material prices kept going up. I’m a businessman, and I’m seeing steel go up 10% every three days. It went up so much, I told my wife, ‘I think God is trying to tell us something. Materials have gone up almost 100% and I can’t build it anymore for what we can buy this building.’ So, we decided to buy it.”

A contract and renovation quickly got underway. New floors and nets were ordered, and the walls were freshly painted with a mural of FCA’s The FOUR Gospel presentation appearing front and center.

Full view“We wanted to make it look really nice for the kids,” said Dawn Hamilton. “I am shocked at how fast it has grown.”

As the contracting was underway, the building next door became available too and the Hamiltons sensed they were to also purchase that building. Within 38 days of Hamilton and Schack’s initial conversation about the struggle for practice space, God had made a way for FCA Sports in Brevard County to have not one, but two, places to play.

“We got the building for FCA so they had a place to practice,” said Hamilton. “FCA has a hard enough job, they go around ministering to coaches and athletes. I couldn't do it. But, I have a business. This is how I can do something for God.”

Every Generation
FCA Sports is growing! Just like the team in Brevard County, Florida, FCA Sports Clubs and Leagues are searching for places to play. Each day, our teams are working to secure facilities for players to play.

FCA is on a mission to reach every generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the avenue of sports. We have big goals and dreams. To learn about ways to partner with us on facilities for FCA Sports in your local community, find your local staff member at URL.


Photos courtesy of FCA Brevard County