When Matt Lundeen came to Redwood Falls in the late 90s, he had a goal to establish himself as a teacher and coach.

More importantly, he wanted people to see him living out what is most important to him – his faith.

One way Lundeen has been able to do that is through an organization known as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and he and his wife, Amber, have spent the past 15 years helping to establish the local FCA.

“For Amber and I FCA has been a huge part of our lives,” said Lundeen. “This is our niche. It brings together two things that are important to us – athletics and faith.”

The FCA organization was established as a way to offer Christians who are involved in athletics a place to come together with others who also have those same passions and to grow in their own faith, so they can share the message of Jesus Christ with others.

Established in 1954 by Don McLanen, FCA has as its mission to “present coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”

Considered one of the largest sports ministries in the world, FCA is impacting thousands of youth each year and encourages them to live out their faith not just at church or during FCA events but in everyday life.

“Through FCA, we have a platform to share the message of Jesus with people,” said Lundeen, adding over the years he has not only learned what that means as an athlete but also as a coach.

No, it is not about preaching at people, it is about living a lifestyle that people notice, because it is different than what society offers as it provides hope for people who need to hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and his love for them.

The local FCA group meets at Redwood Valley schools each Friday morning when there is school starting at 7:30 a.m. for about half an hour.

“We usually spend the first 10 minutes or so just talking,” said Lundeen, adding that is followed by a time of prayer and some sort of devotional presentation. 

The FCA program is open to students in Grades 7-12, and juice and rolls are offered to those who come.

“The part I love about FCA is that it’s non-denominational,” said Lundeen, adding everyone is welcome to come and fellowship together in the name of Jesus Christ.

Lundeen said FCA provides a way for youth who are Christians to grow in that faith and to demonstrate in their character what it means to be a follower of Christ.

“We want to help them learn to be authentic in their faith, to be real in who they are,” said Lundeen. “We want them to own it and live it out.”

Through helping establish FCA locally Lundeen said he has found a way to give back to an organization that has meant so much to him and had such a positive impact on his life.

“For me life is not just about being a teacher and a coach,” said Lundeen. “It is about being able to tell others about Jesus.”

Lundeen said there are typically 25-30 students who show up each week, adding it is a good mix of ages and interests.

“I think one fate most enjoyable things is just sitting and listening to the students talk and being able to talk with them,” said Lundeen. “We just want to make this a positive place for students.”

Not only are there opportunities for youth to grow through the local FCA, Lundeen said there are sports and leadership camps offered each summer. Typically, there are about eight local FCA youth who attend one of the camps each year. They are held at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

“FCA is a non-threatening opportunity for the students to come, relax and finish off their week on a positive note,” said Lundeen, adding he feels privileged to be able to serve in this role in the community.

To learn more about FCA, visit its Web site at www.fca.org.