The Fellowship of Christian Athletes club at John Brown University kicked off to a lively start Wednesday night with dodge ball, prizes and pizza at the Walton Health Center’s Hurte lounge.
Student club leaders expected a similarly strong turnout to last year’s dodge ball kick-off night. Co-captain Kenny Crane, a sophomore and cross country athlete, said the club will continue to meet Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. at the Hurte lounge for worship, Bible study and teaching.
“It’s just an excuse to get together, have a Bible study and pursue God,” Crane said. “It’s under the name athletes, but we’ll take anyone.”
Last year’s club meetings drew an average of 30 students, he said. While the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has officially existed for years at the University, last year saw a club revival with the start of regular meetings and activities.
“It’s been existent for a long time, but last year was the first year it got serious,” Crane said.
For sophomore Melissa Bakke, the Wednesday meetings offer a time to reconnect both with God and fellow athletes. Bakke plays volleyball for the Golden Eagles.
“It gets difficult with all of the travel, and the papers that we’re missing,” she said. “Sometimes we want to put God on the back burner.”
For Bakke, the club is an encouragement to keep focused on the important things.
Crane said the club will include more student athlete speakers this year. His goal is to help create a place where athletes will feel comfortable being themselves.
“Our heart this year is to be genuine,” he said. “We want to encourage athletes to be vulnerable and open with each other.”
Club meetings usually include snacks, music and discussion or listening to a speaker, Bakke said. She hopes the student speakers will help club members relate to the topics discussed.
Crane said that the athletic culture can be tough for students who want to develop their relationship with God.
“Just because we’re Christian doesn’t mean that we need to stop pursuing the Lord,” he said. “Athletes especially struggle with that because they have a pride issue, they think ‘I’m all that.’ There’s a difference between saying you have faith and having a real, authentic faith.”