FCA Coaches Ministry Academy Visits Bethune-Cookman
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Over 70 college athletic chaplains and ministers from around the world made the effort to visit Bethune-Cookman University on Friday to appreciate how the Wildcats Athletic Department seamlessly blends the ministry into its daily experience.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) week long Coaches Ministry Academy concluded with a visit to the Larry R. Handfield Athletic Training Center – as well as a stop at the World’s Most Famous Beach afterwards – to hear B-CU Director of Athletics Lynn W. Thompson and the B-CU coaching staff bears witness.
Academy Director Jeff Duke sought out a trip to B-CU for the group, which included representatives from Pakistan, Malaysia and Italy to see what the FCA describes as a “three dimensional program” with three parts. They include The Coach leads at a high level; The Coach is not afraid to step into the lives of the athletes; and The Coach is on a journey themselves.
“It’s evident that what is going on at Bethune-Cookman is something tremendous,” Duke said. “It’s very rare to see this happen, but it is real, it is deep, it’s effective and it’s a legacy that will live on forever. This is a blessing for us to have been here.”
Thompson shifted from the role of Director of Athletics into the Minister of Athletics as the presentation began with the story of B-CU founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune – the famed origin story of five little girls, a $1.50 and faith in God – and went into a breakdown of how both traditional and non-traditional means have been employed to spread the word to over 300 student-athletes each year.
“So much is at stake, you have to use non-traditional methods,” Thompson said. “When you’re dealing with attitudes, egos and personalities, you have to do whatever it takes to let the word of God pierce them.”
One method was on full display through the ATC’s Team Room – full-sized posters featuring Wildcats coaches and players, accompanied by scriptures to convey a theme. Any player appearing in that poster gets to keep it upon graduating from B-CU.
“Our role is to put the word in them, but we saw the idea and said `let’s put them in the word’ as well,” Thompson said. “They become the message.”
Thompson relies on his coaches to help in the ministry and shared the three things he’s looking for in all his staff from head coach to graduate assistant.
“You have to have a servant’s heart. You have to serve if you want to be able to lead. You have to have passion, which stems from the same unconditional love Jesus Christ has for us. You have to have the capacity to teach. A great coach is a great teacher who has the rare ability to take him or her with you and make you relevant,” Thompson said.
“It’s our calling to have everyone feel the Holy Spirit and hear the good news of who they are,” Thompson continued. "Coaching is a hands-on ministry, and we make it a point that our coaches understand they have the power and responsibility to shape the lives of generations of young men and women through their own daily walk."