Last year, Chandler Ingle saw a need on campus and decided he had the solution: he started a Goshen College chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
A current junior, he started an FCA chapter last year with former Goshen student Whitney Peterson because he noticed what he deemed as a lack of spiritual activity on campus. This year he took the reins and is leading the group by himself.
Ingle started the group as a way to bring more Christian ministry to the campus. He compares the group to a bible study or a youth group. The group meets at 7 p.m. on Sundays in the RFC. The first meeting of the academic year was held last Sunday, October 29th.
Started in 1958, the overall organization of FCA “has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ,” according to the FCA website.
In order to have a FCA chapter on campus last year, Ingle had to complete a long application process to be approved as what the FCA calls a “campus huddle leader.” After he was approved as a leader, he was put in contact with the regional director of FCA in order to be given material to use and tips on how to run a successful chapter.
Ingle does not have to report to the larger organization of FCA. Ingle stated that the FCA is more of a name for the chapter to hang their hat on.
Ingle also had help last year from Bob Yoder, campus pastor, and Josh Gleason, athletic director.
Previously the group met on Friday mornings, but due to fluctuating numbers of people showing up, this year Ingle moved the time to Sunday evening.
This year Ingle is starting the year off with a video series by Andy Stanley, pastor and author, called “Christian.”
Quinlan Armstrong, a sophomore, was at the first meeting of the year, and really enjoyed it.
“I thought this past meeting raised a good question of what is a Christian? We then discussed…how the Bible only uses the word Christian three times, and that the “Christians” actually referred to themselves as disciples. I came away with a very positive outlook on the rest of the year, and I am looking forward to continued growth with this group,” said Armstrong.
The group consists of a total of 75 people, though only about 20 showed up for the meeting last Sunday night. Ingle commented that it is difficult to attract and keep members, and hopes that the meetings will be able to combat that.
“My goal as the facilitator of weekly discussion is to provide an insightful lesson that leaves those in attendance wanting to come back the following week,” said Ingle.
Ingle stated that all of the sports teams are involved in FCA, and he also is making an effort to partner with every coach to provide spiritual support to for each of the teams.
Last year, Ingle took a group from FCA to the statewide FCA conference in Fort Wayne called “Night of Hope.”
He hopes to take a take a group again this February. Last year’s conference featured speakers Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins, and Tamika Catching, former WNBA all-star.
Ingle just got word that this year’s conference would feature former NFL quarterback and current minor league baseball player Tim Tebow.
Although the name of the group is Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ingle encourages others from outside of the sports world to join. The main goal of the group is for a person to grow in their faith as a Christian, so a sports affiliation does not matter.
Overall, Ingle feels like there is great support from the college as a whole.
“I, and FCA as a whole, have received a huge amount of support from all GC coaches and administrators. There tends to be a few coaches each week and various emails or messages of encouragement from different coaches on a weekly basis” said Ingle.