June 12, 2018
Faithful FCA Teammates-
I've been asked a few times lately, how does a huddle start at a school. Then I smile on the inside as my mind considers our most recent start-ups at Morton JH, Farmington HS, and Stark County HS. As each campus huddle begins a little differently, there are some things that are common in what God does, and our response to His movement on a campus. Consider the following in our "to and thru the coach strategy":
First of all, God raises up someone in the school who feels led to begin a huddle (huddle coach). At times that person connects with us, and at other times we hear of a name and we make the contact. At Morton JH, we had connections with Sean Breaux as an asst. football coach at Peoria High, who took a teaching position at Morton this year. Sean's principal (also a former FCA Board Member) encouraged him to consider an FCA huddle, as he urged us to connect with him. In regards to Farmington, a former FCA intern connected us with a teacher who was his student teacher at Elmwood HS several years ago, and now attended church with him. That teacher, Daisy Salgado, also connected with a Farmington volleyball coach about FCA, and we pursued the process of starting. Stark County was led by two ladies on staff who contacted us out of the desire to turn a tragedy into a mission field, as they sensed students open to spiritual matters out of the tragedy. One of the ladies, Marilyn Ely (school nurse and mother to several SC student-athletes), lost a son in a car accident last spring. She met with teacher, Kaleena Conrad, as they saw an opportunity and calling to minister to kids inside the walls of Stark County HS. By now you're thinking "wow"-those are God connections, and you are right.
We then have the huddle coach fill out a required Ministry Leadership Application (MLA) online. It gives us an opportunity to learn more about the coach's background to determine if they are ready for ministry. Along with the MLA, we have them view Ron Brown's video "The Call" to indeed challenge them to see their position as ministry to student-athletes on their campus. You'd be blessed to watch the video yourself at https://www.calledtocompete.com/called-to-compete-doing-sports-gods-way/, and determine what ministry "Call" God has for you.
At this point we sit down with the huddle coach(s) for an hour or two and talk/train in how to get started. After discussing and affirming their MLA, I then challenge them to consider their response to "the call" will largely be based on the following formula--their WALK (equal to their talk) + their HEART (love for their kids) x their TIME (in God's word)=IMPACT. Such impact will be more powerful than any video, Bible study, speaker, etc. presented at huddle meetings.
Our discussion continues about approaching the administration for their blessing, talking with other Christian staff who may want to help, logistics of when/where to meet, and resources FCA can make available. We also start to talk about what FCA might look like on their specific campus.
Finally, we talk about the most important task of choosing student leaders-competent students who are ready to guide and direct the huddle. We suggest the huddle coach use a student MLA to work through this process. It allows the coach to sit down with potential student leaders to discern their readiness, begin some discipleship, and start casting the vision for ministry on their campus. In most cases, after a team of student leaders is determined, I will come back to campus for a time of student-leader training. A primary emphasis at that time is the "walk, heart, time" formula above.
Finally, the huddle coach and their team of student leaders determine when and how to prepare and promote the first meeting. Many times I'm blessed to come and speak at the first meeting. That inaugural huddle is always special to me as I consider what heart-changing and eternally significant things are going to take place in this huddle going forward. My message at a first huddle usually hits the topics of 1) continue to meet--you need "God-buddies" in your LIFE 2) meet around God's word-it will change your LIFE 3) as you meet and study, fall in love with Jesus-He alone gives eternal LIFE. "Wow" again-I too needed reminded of these truths today. He's got me smiling inside again.
Can you see why I love this job? Thanks for your support of my FCA position, and the new start-up huddles in the Greater Peoria Area. Oh, and can I mention that God is currently raising up 7 more huddle coaches to open this ministry on 7 more campuses this Fall. Thank you, and thanks Lord!
Area Rep, Greater Peoria Area FCA
Farmington High School
Morton Jr. High