Newman University student-athletes are working to reignite interest in the current Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) membership.
The university’s FCA group has been active for the past several years. According to Clarissa Krum, assistant women’s basketball coach, Newman athlete Sarah Peterson started setting up meetings with fellow students and the group has been meeting off and on for the past four or five years. Newman wrestler Thor Balavage took over those responsibilities after Peterson graduated in 2017.
Krum said she’s happy to act as a mentor and advisor to Balavage and the group.
“Thor reached out to me and explained that he’d never done a Bible study or led devotionals and didn’t really know what that looked like,” explained Krum. “He just asked if I could help lead the conversation and get him on the right path.
“The FCA was something I was involved in during college — but with hesitation,” added Krum. “It was an eye-opening experience to be around people whose goal was to give life to me and help me through things in my own life. Being able to mentor and be a part of that for student-athletes here at Newman is great.”
During this year’s first meeting on Oct. 7, Krum said the group talked about God’s GPS positioning for individuals and how He places people in certain situations, creating a lifeline in which they can bear the fruit of Him.
“FCA has these devotionals you can print off, so it gives you something you can start with. It goes step by step — Bible verse, devotional and questions. We just have a conversation about that and then pray after. The students who attend can take that paper home with them and use it however they need to during the week.”
Meetings are approximately 50 minutes long and include discussions about faith and God, but also consist of fun activities so those in attendance can get to know each other a little better, Krum added.
Seeing all the students from such a variety of sports teams is a refreshing sight, said Krum. She added that connections are made between the students that surprise even them, expressing that “they get to talk about how they can help their teammates, and after having conversations with their peers, realize that they are going through things and they are not alone in that journey.
“The meetings are a place for students to worship and speak about things they are going through but don’t know how to deal with. It’s a way for them to be open and honest in their faith. It’s a safe space for people who want to talk about their faith and their relationship with Jesus without judgment but at the same time, a way to invite others to learn about and get to know Christ.”
Krum also emphasized that the meetings are for everyone — students who are deep in their faith, new to their faith journey and even those who aren’t sure.
“If someone is not sure about Jesus, it’s an invitation to come and learn. You don’t know what can happen, what change it can impact in your own life. I used to be one of those people who did not have big faith, and my friend just pulled me in and told me to give it a shot.”
Balavage recently sent an invitation by email to all Newman students with hopes to increase attendance. He said you don’t have to be an athlete to join in on the meetings. Krum added she and Balavage would love to see the FCA group number grow each and every week.
“I pray that whoever is meant to be here is here. Numbers are good, a lot of people being present is a good thing, but like all things, it takes time to grow these communities. I pray that God brings those people who need to be part of these conversations, who need to connect and feel less alone, to the meetings.
“And I hope everyone knows that they can come and have good conversation and some fun, too.”
The next Newman FCA meeting will be held Sunday, Nov. 4, and then every other week after that. Meetings start at 6 p.m. and take place in Fugate Gym. For more information, contact Krum at (316) 942-4291, ext. 2187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.