The Abilene branch of Fellowship of Christian Athletes began hosting in-depth Bible studies across all three major universities while offering food and games to those who could attend.
Fliers began showing up across campus early this semester promoting the local chapter of FCA’s Bible study, one of which is hosted on campus. These Bible studies range across the three local universities, promoting growth and unity across the Abilene area. Each university holds their own Bible study, but come together to form the Abilene Tri-College FCA.
“It’s really cool getting to know other Christians on the Hardin-Simmons and McMurry campuses and being able to build community with them,” said Payten Ricks, senior marketing major from Abilene. “I’m encouraged to know that there are faithful gospel-preaching Christians on those campuses to lead people to Christ.”
Each college meets once a week for their Bible studies. McMurry meets on Mondays, ACU meets on Tuesdays and Hardin Simmons meets on Wednesdays. A typical Bible study begins with an interactive game, two worship songs, a short lesson and then the group will split between men and women to discuss the sermon. Once a month, the leaders arrange a Tri-College meeting, where the three schools have time to fellowship together.
“The body is built up of many different parts, and that is what helps in function as well as it can.” Mackenzie West, senior nutrition major from Portland, Oregon, said.
The ACU branch is led by student athletes covering all sports on campus. Ricks and Hayden Howell, senior organizational development major from Oklahoma City, Okla., represent men’s basketball. Kade Parmelly, junior kinesiology major from Abilene, represents football. West is one of the representatives from track and field and there are also representatives present from beach volleyball and baseball. West said that about half of the other leaders are non-athletes.
Ricks and Howell said FCA changed their lives when they first joined. Ricks first joined FCA as a sophomore, and became a leader the following year.
“I first heard the gospel in an FCA Bible study and the Lord softened my heart, I then responded in repentance of my sins and belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” Ricks said. “FCA has also connected me to a healthy church and taught me how to share the gospel.”
Howell first began his journey in FCA during his middle school and high school years. He said he tried to go as much as he could his freshman and sophomore years of college, and became a leader his junior year.
“Being able get together consistently with other people that are trying to follow Christ and digging into and chewing on the word has really filled me up spiritually and pushed me in a good way.” Howell said.
Howell, Ricks and West all said that the FCA Bible study is for everyone who wants to be challenged in their faith and is seeking a community of believers.
“Students can expect to be loved on and learn about who the God of the Bible is and His attributes,” Ricks said. “They can expect to be challenged in their faith as well which is always a good thing. They will also be encouraged to find a healthy church in town to attend regularly. Lastly, they can expect to build community with other like-minded Christians.”
Howell said it has challenged his faith and encourages anyone who has yet to come to try the Bible study at least once. He said he is reminded daily by FCA that he cannot outgrow the Gospel.
“No matter if you are not a believer and have never ever heard the true gospel, or if you have been a Christian since you were in elements school,” Howell said, “we as Christians never outgrow the Gospel and need to be reminded of it.”
The ACU branch of the FCA Bible study meets every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Rec Center, room 260.
“I encourage all students to give it a try because the Lord changed my life through using FCA and they have helped me grow,” Ricks said. “It’s truly been a tremendous impact in my walk with Christ.“