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A CrossFit Connection

Published on September 06, 2023

Scott Barkley
For Ken Lovell, finding common ground with others is the first step toward an uncommon relationship with Jesus Christ, and CrossFit has served as a connection point. Materials and relationships through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are the platforms for changed lives. 

“From the very beginning my calling has been about being an athlete to reach athletes,” said Lovell, FCA Coastal North Carolina Area Director.

Lovell connected with CrossFit through the testimony of its most notable name and–by all accounts, its GOAT–Rich Froning, who won four consecutive CrossFit games from 2011-14. Froning retired from individual competition at that point to captain CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, his affiliate’s team.

CrossFit Mayhem would win the team competitions each year except for 2017, when theyThAs8Olw - pixlr finished second, and 2020, when no team competition was held due to COVID-19 concerns. Froning retired from team competition in October 2022 after winning his sixth CrossFit Games team title.

It’s an impressive resume, to say the least. But Froning’s commitment to Christ is as apparent as the “Galatians 6:14” tattoo stretching up the left side of his torso.

“His testimony is one I resonated so much with because it’s what I do for a living, to help athletes discover their calling to Christ in sports,” said Lovell. “He changed the game when he began to compete out of his relationship with Christ and make Him known to others. That attracted me to CrossFit Mayhem. You’re getting more than the programming with the faith components as well.”

Lovell is a “Mayhem Athlete,” meaning he takes part in CrossFit Mayhem training remotely. This training also led to discipleship relationship with another participant named James.

“I got connected with CrossFit Mayhem and have done some ministry with them for some years now,” he said. “Through that natural relationship, you’re on social media and people start seeing who you are and what you stand for. People start following you and that’s how James and I got connected.”

James Wyman lives in Michigan with his wife and three young children. He attended church his whole life, but now in his 20s with a family, admits he was in a spiritual fog and experiencing burnout from his HR job in the healthcare industry. A CrossFit athlete himself, in January 2022 he connected with Lovell online.

lKFU1qHQ“I thought he was a cool CrossFit guy who was crushing it but also spoke well about his faith,” said Wyman. “He suggested we go through a discipleship process and in that he has been incredibly impactful.”

That process was E3, FCA’s ministry method that seeks to engage, equip and empower others in growing deeper in their faith.

“It was so important for me to go back to the basics of who Christ is and how He impacts our lives on a daily basis,” Wyman said. “That first call with Ken was so powerful with God’s presence, I still get emotional about it.”

Wyman and Lovell met weekly over Zoom to discuss the materials, read Scripture and pray. Their E3 journey ended in June, but they remained in contact as Wyman continued studying the Bible with others.

Though they planned to meet in person in Michigan over the holidays when Lovell visited his parents in Grand Rapids, the plan unfortunately didn’t materialize. Their ministry partnership has grown, though, as Wyman has since joined Lovell’s Home Team to become an Automatic Monthly Partner in supporting Coastal NC FCA.

“We want to make disciples who live with a greater purpose,” said Lovell. “There is a difference between discipleship and fellowship. Fellowship is hanging out together in the Word. Discipleship in our world is focused, intentional and strategic.”

To learn more about what Lovell is doing and support the FCA Carolinas, visit here.

Photos courtesy of Ken Lovell