CHICKASAW COUNTY – In a county that is divided by three school districts and multiple athletic teams, one factor joins the students of all three together.
Spreading the message of Jesus Christ.
Houston, Houlka and Okolona schools all have chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and their members and sponsors agree the message of the club reaches well outside the walls of the school or fields of play.
Vicki Homan and Sid Burt sponsor the Houlka chapter of FCA and are working to revitalize the club.
“We have had an inactive chapter for a long time,” Homan said. “Our athletes are excited about trying to have (an active) FCA again. They are meeting independently and having devotions once a week which I think is great.”
Cassie Homan and Walker Winter are members of the FCA in Houlka and both see the far-reaching aspects of the club.
“It goes beyond the score of the game,” Cassie said. “It teaches us that without Christ, we wouldn’t be able to play sports the way we do. It also helps keep a positive attitude and how it’s important to be present at all times, especially when playing sports.”
“I just think it’s important because your relationship with Christ is the most important thing you can have and it’s great to be able to come together and strengthen it,” said Walker. “It’s a great way to witness to kids who don’t have a good relationship with Christ or kids that don’t believe.”
Okolona is also trying to revitalize their FCA program under the direction of John Michael Tacker, who led his students to participate in the recent Mississippi Glowing walk. Justin Ward helped carry the cross on the walk and said FCA is an outlet for students and athletes to share common values.
“FCA allows students to incorporate Christ into sports without being criticized,” Ward said. “I am a member because I was raised to always put God first and this is the best way to do so.”
Houston’s FCA has a long history and also includes students who do not participate in athletics. Cathy Spencer is one of the co-sponsors of the group and remembers it being active when she was a teen.
“I graduated in 1987 and it was an organization all four years while I was here,” Spencer said.
Houston’s FCA activities are student-led and organized and include several community projects.
“We usually participate with Samaritan’s Purse (Operation Shoebox) and several of our members have also participated in the Community Thanksgiving service,” Spencer said.
Houston students organized a See You At The Pole event in September and have morning devotionals each Wednesday.
Moving forward into service
All three schools’ groups joined in the Mississippi Glowing walk which saw students carry a cross through the state, passing it off from school to school and county to county. The cross will reach its final destination in Jackson later this week.
Sponsors hope the combined effort of FCA throughout the state will springboard their organizations into more service projects.
The students seem to already have their game plan ready.
“It helps me see the better in students and athletes,” said Cassie Homan. “They might not know Christ personally and (it allows) me to make a connection with him or her.”
“I encourage everyone to get a relationship with God and put God first in all you do,” said Ward.