Charity spotlight: Fellowship of Christian Athletes

FCA's Dan MacLachlan
FCA’s Dan MacLachlan

When he was coaching football or track and field, Dan MacLachlan saw first-hand the way a motivational talk – to coaches as well as players – could lead to transformational influence in the lives of coaches, athletes and sports fans.

Now he leads an organization, the Southern Missouri chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, whose focus is just that.

If challenging situations on or off the field emerge, FCA can meet with coaches one-on-one to develop strategies. Or, to boost the confidence of student-athletes, FCA-organized campus-wide huddles can foster leadership – even from those who are not considered leaders.

Which is why the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is proud to have the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on board again. The tournament, an annual PGA Web.com Tour event, has gifted almost $13 million to children’s charities in the past 26 years, and FCA was one of the first four going back to the early 1990s.

“This tournament allows us to remain fully funded,” said MacLachlan, Area Director of FCA and a former football and track & field coach at Glendale and Strafford high schools. “Sports reveal character in individual athletes, and (FCA) is a great medium to reveal one’s faith and personal identity.”

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes can be found in most Ozarks-area high schools.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes can be found in most Ozarks-area high schools.

FCA opened its Springfield office 29 years ago and was led by Gary Beets until his retirement last year. Janet Sterling joined the MO FCA staff in 1997 as Administrative Assistant/Office Manager. FCA has grown tremendously over the years, to the point that most schools in southwest Missouri have an FCA chapter.

All in all, FCA has stuck to its mission, which reads, “To present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes actually has its roots only about four hours west of Springfield. The FCA was born more than 60 years ago in the heart of Don McClanen when he was a student at what is now Oklahoma State University.

McClanen envisioned athletes at all levels advancing the cause of Christ through a nationwide team ministry. His dream became reality in 1954 with the chartering of FCA in Norman, Okla., after seven years of contacts with athletes, ministers and businessmen gathering interest and support of this dream.

The FCA hosts a  number of summer camps.
The FCA hosts a number of summer camps.

MacLachlan is carrying on the legacy. The FCA’s efforts are aimed at serving coaches and student-athletes, equipping them in their faith so that they can enjoy success through their seasons, of sport and their seasons of life.

In student-oriented campus huddles, for instance, athletes can discuss the challenges they face. It allows for interaction and ideas from fellow students.

“As a coach, that interaction helps build true confidence,” MacLachlan said.

FCA-stadium2

For coaches, the FCA has been valuable, and not simply with online materials. MacLachlan shared the story of a local high school girls basketball coach who, instead of holding a regular practice, switched gears by having players spend the block of time talking about issues. It led to a season turnaround.

“In the schools, we’re seeing a lot of success,” MacLachlan said. “When they asked their team, ‘What motivates you?’ it was a breakthrough.”

Here’s how to help:

SUPPORTING THE PCCC = SUPPORTING CHARITIES

  • BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses also can support the PCCC through various sponsorships. Rent skyboxes on the 9th and 18th greens, where your group will have covered seating and more. Or advertise on the course with your banner, ensuring your brand gets a large audience. Or play in any of our pro-ams. Businesses also can donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball & Charity Auction presented by Copy Products, Inc. and University Plaza.

    The Ultimate
    The Ultimate means air-conditioned seating on the 18th green and a chance to win a Corvette Stingray.
  • WIN A NEW TRUCK: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket can win one of 500 daily gift cards as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT. It’s also good for a four-day tournament pass.Win this truck
  • SEE THE FUTURE OF THE PGA TOUR: The PCCC is from Aug. 5-15, with the pros beginning play on Aug. 11 at Highland Springs Country Club. For tickets or other ways to assist, call the Price Cutter Charity Championship staff at 417-887-3400. 

    Dawie vander Walt shows his winners trophy after the final round of the Price Cutter Charity Championship at Highland Springs Country Club in Springfield on August 16, 2015.
    Dawie vander Walt won the 2015 PCCC and is on the PGA Tour. (Photo courtesy of StidzMedia)
  • FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES SOUTHERN MISSOURI: To assist FCA in any way, call 417-823-7744 or visit its website at www.somofca.org.