Fellowship of Christian Athletes comes to Suffolk

Published 10:11 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

In a society that often seems to be dominated by professional sports, perhaps the best way to reach out with the Word of God is through sports.

That’s why the Fellowship of Christian Athletes exists. The organization ministers to coaches and athletes at all levels and helps empower them to be a positive influence on others in the world of sports.

“Our biggest ministry is to coaches,” said Mickey Toll, area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “We’re helping them to grow in their faith and coach in a godly manner.”

Email newsletter signup

The organization recently has begun to move into ministry at Suffolk schools. It all started when Toll met King’s Fork football coach Joe Jones, and Jones expressed interest in starting an FCA chapter at his school.

Around the same time, a parent volunteer, Kenny Johnson, had just put his son in King’s Fork High School and wanted to help.

“The way parents volunteer is they serve their coach,” Toll said.

FCA is an international ministry that has been around for about 50 years, Toll said. Besides moving into Suffolk’s public high schools, the ministry also has been reaching out to Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and Isle of Wight schools.

“I’ve fallen in love with Suffolk,” Toll said. “We’ve just fell in love with the people and everybody out there.”

Toll said the organization focuses on ministering to coaches because coaches can then be a positive influence on their players.

“A lot of them grew up with a coach who was in their face yelling, screaming, cursing when they didn’t perform,” Toll said. “Coaches are a lot like youth pastors. People stand on the sidelines evaluating, but they need more help than they do evaluations.”

Toll said when parents and other volunteers serve the coaches, the coaches can focus more on training up the next generation.

“They’re entrusted with the kids and leaders of tomorrow,” Toll said. “Now the coach becomes a person who actually serves his players and teaches and encourages and edifies.”

The organization’s involvement in the city’s schools will officially kick off today at 6 p.m. at Liberty Baptist Church, off Centerbrooke Lane. Coach Mike London, head football coach at the University of Virginia, will be the featured speaker.

“Mike is coming to speak about what FCA’s all about,” said Billy Chorey Sr., a local real estate agent and UVA alumnus. “Basically, it’s going to be an informational event for folks that may want to get involved in it.”

The event is free, but anyone planning on attending is asked to email Toll at mtoll@fca.org.

For more information on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit www.fca.org.