!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.

Taking the Plunge

Published on June 21, 2024

Sarah Freymuth

Outgoing and relational, Jim Dayhew’s ability to connect with people has been beneficial in cultivating long-term relationships throughout decades of coaching and serving. The latest endeavor for this former rugby and cricket player is establishing FCA in his native country of Australia.

Dayhew’s 30-year ministry began when he went on his first mission trip in 1990 to New Zealand. As a student, he got plugged into the global sports scene. Dayhew was introduced to ministry in college, where he got involved in Athletes in Action (AIA) at Sydney University and met his wife Jenny at a Bible study.

Campus MinistryHe became a physical education teacher and coached, and during this period something clicked. He wanted to connect the influence of sports and the lives of young athletes for a deeper meaning.

“You kind of know, ‘I think this is what God’s made me for,’” he said.

Dayhew dove into sports ministry, connecting with organizations and ministries across the globe and traveling to conferences for connections and further education.

In 1996, he was in Atlanta for the Olympics with AIA. Dayhew was heading to Kansas City as part of his trip, and a friend from Sydney who lived in the area took him to visit FCA’s Support Center.

 “I was like, ‘What’s FCA?’” he said. Dayhew was already immersed in the sports ministry world, serving full-time with AIA and then Scripture Union until 2003, and in 2009 when, as a full-time teacher, he connected back with the Sports Movement (formerly the International Sports Coalition) at a conference in Orlando. There, he met former Chief Field Officer Dan Britton and the late Barry Spofford, who gave him FCA Coach’s and Athlete’s Bibles. They stayed in touch over the years.

"I think this is what God made me for."

-FCA Australia Leader
Jim Dayhew
When Dayhew wanted to host a sports camp in 2020, he remembered the Bibles and wondered if FCA could provide not only materials, but people. So, he contacted Britton, who connected him to the Rockies Region and State Director Aaron Frude.

COVID-19 hit, and everything shut down, but Frude and Dayhew continued to talk. Frude mentioned the region had been praying for someone to help pioneer the ministry in Australia and asked if he’d consider.

“I remember saying to him, ‘Aaron, there's no way I'm going to leave a well-paid senior teaching position to go and raise support again,” said Dayhew. “And as soon as I said that, I could just sense God at work inside me.”

It took a few years, but Dayhew’s perspective began to shift. In September 2022, he launched an FCA 360 Australia Facebook page. People came on board quickly, thanks to the connections Dayhew had throughout his own personal community and his coaching and sports ministry background.

Things were gaining traction, and Frude and East Global Division VP Jin Kang were paying attention. They invited Dayhew to join them in Abu Dhabi for the International Capacity Conference and meet leaders from around the world. Dayhew could see puzzle pieces coming together, but he was still hesitant to jump in full-time.

“I could see where it was going, but I was married and wanted to make sure I brought my wife Jenny into the process as well. At that point, I was 50/50 on whether I would commit to FCA.”

DSC00435Dayhew visited the Rockies Region in July 2023, experienced a camp in Northern Colorado and visited Frude and his wife Stacy in Wyoming, and then traveled to Kansas City for Boot Camp, which offered training for support raising. During his stay in the States, God’s next step for Dayhew became clear and he could no longer deny the trajectory of ministry.

He was in his mid-fifties, at a point in life where he really wanted to be intentional with the choices he made that would shape the remainder of his working years. There would be a cost to this new commitment, but Dayhew and Jenny went in with eyes wide open.

“I took a few different avenues like teaching and chaplaincy, even as a minister in the Anglican Church in Sydney, but I think I always knew in my heart it was sports ministry,” he admitted, noting that sports ministry had always been something he did on the side throughout the decades.

Dayhew’s drive to make a transformative difference to sport in Australia ultimately led him to retire from teaching and take the plunge into full-time work with FCA.

“There's no doubt about FCA; it's an exciting ministry. But at the end of the day, you have to be in the ministry day in, day out. And if it's not that very clear of a calling and you're not 100% committed to it, that isn’t going to last,” he said. “You've got to be in it for the long haul.”

His maturity and wisdom over decades working with coaches and athletes while ministering for the Gospel has brought Dayhew a deeper understanding of the urgency of the mission. In Australia, there’s an openness to spirituality, but it can quickly be replaced by the sports culture.

“Australia is sports mad; it's a religion,” he shared. “For us, it’s probably an unhealthy obsession, yet we can redeem the goodness of sport in God's creation to try to bring some order from the chaos that sport becomes and be ambassadors for Christ.”

FCA Australia TeamIt’s a daunting task for the solo staff person in the country. But Dayhew is savvy and resourceful, and his maturity will help him navigate.

“I’ve been around the sports world for 30 years and I'm ambitious for FCA. I have a lot of capital, relationally and with institutions that I’ve accrued over the years. There's probably a hundred schools where I've got some positive relationship with teachers and ministers, so there are a lot of people who orbit my interest in sports ministry.”

Those connections are already serving him well. His Board Chairman is a man Dayhew helped lead to Christ when he was working for Campus Crusade for Christ at Sydney University, and other board members have all known Dayhew over the decades.

“These people have come together and are highly capable who have shared a vision and really trust me. That's the number one foundation,” he said.

Dayhew, his board and team of volunteers are focusing on three points of impact:

     1. Partnering with churches, schools and clubs to assist them to minister to athletes and coaches.

     2. Engaging and equipping young elite athletes and their families.

     3. Developing coaches through 3D Coaching and 360 Coach with an understanding of the whole athlete.

“I just feel like God's bringing together all that we need to be established to set the strong foundation, but also to thrive,” said Dayhew, “and that's a really exciting place to be.”

HolidayDayhew is a connector. He and New Zealand Director Gary Visitacion have committed to supporting each other and ministry between the two countries, praying for one another and brainstorming ways to host one another and events together.

It’s this kind of collaboration that Dayhew deeply appreciates, as even though he’s the first staff in Australia, he has never once felt on his own.

“FCA is tremendously generous. I have found support through Jin Kang and the Rockies, through Aaron Frude and others that has been so encouraging. They've been praying for years and contributing financially and visiting us. I don't feel alone; I feel connected to the global movement of FCA.

“You've got to understand that God's vision is always bigger than your own.”

Pray for Jim and Jenny Dayhew as they continue to raise support for ministry and establish the foundation for FCA in Australia. Also pray for God to raise up workers who can come alongside them and cover more ground in the country.

To support FCA Australia, go here.

To follow Dayhew and ministry, visit the Facebook group.


Photos courtesy of Jim Dayhew