Fellowship reaches coaches, students

NILES — With the start of the new school year, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been reaching out to students and coaches by hosting various event to help lead people to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

In August, the group hosted a Back-to-School Faith, Friends and Family Night at a Scrappers Game at the Eastwood Field in Niles. The event included pre-game activities including music, drawings and games. Members of Champion Presbyterian Church and Struthers Parkside Church youth groups were among those who attended.

Bob Kimpel said Don James, who coordinated local Fellowship of Christian Athletes programs, came on board to help expand the ministry in Trumbull County.

James, who handles Trumbull County, said he coordinated student-led “huddles,” which are clubs with Bible studies held before and after school.

“It says Fellowship of Christian Athletes, but we basically say Fellowship of Christian Anyone. Half the students who attend the huddles are non-athletes. Anyone is welcome,” James said.

James said programs have been held for students in Howland, Lakeview, Liberty, Hubbard, Girard and Mineral Ridge.

He said he is talking to officials from other school districts to see if they would be interested in forming huddles or holding meetings.

The next big event is a Faith and Family Night Sept 28 at the Youngstown State University football game.

Kimpel, who handles Mahoning and Columbiana counties, works with youth through the huddles not to only help make a difference in their lives but in the community as well. For the huddles, students have discussions and hear guest speakers who focus on character development.

“We want to help the youth make a difference spiritually, emotionally and community-wide,” he said.

James said the Fellowship of Christian Athletes wants to connect the program to the local churches and schools.

Kimpel said FCA has been in existence since the 1970s and in the last seven years, has grown to form 11 to 65 huddles in Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson counties.

He said the huddles are student-led with an adult, such as a teacher, coach or parent, helping to facilitate.

“The whole idea is to give the kids ownership of the huddles. Help them prepare for the future and college by acquiring leadership skills,” Kimpel said.

“We want to get them encouraged in knowing God. We want to engage, equip and empower the youth. The fun events we have help engage the students,” James said.

Huddle programs, which are offered once or twice per month, are for ages 10 to 18 with a college-level program at YSU.

Kimpel said when the youth come into the huddle, they are equipped to learn scriptures.

“We focus on character-building and empower the youth to lead wherever they go with their families, friends and teams,” Kimpel said.

Kimpel said the goal not only is to have youth learn about God and Jesus, but bring the ministry to coaches with plans for an initial Bible study meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at Panera Bread, Elm Road NE, Howland.

For information for Trumbull County huddles, email djames@fca. org or for Mahoning and Columbiana counties, email rkim pel@fca.org



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