Every Tuesday at lunch, there is a place Lancers can go to eat pizza, make friends, and most importantly, stay connected to God with other Christians.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or FCA, is a club at Thousand Oaks High School with the purpose of giving Christian and non-Christian athletes a place to connect and share their experiences with others. FCA.org, the organization’s website outlines the intentions of the club.
“The mission [is] to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Our relationships will demonstrate steadfast commitment to Jesus Christ and His Word through integrity, teamwork, and excellence,” it says at FCA.org.
It is a large organization that was started in 1954 and has a branch in hundreds of high schools and colleges around the United States.
“FCA is a really big club, so many schools have FCAs, Cal Lu has one, almost every school in our district has FCA, and it’s this big organization that goes to schools and asks them for leaders to create this club,” Reagan Coger, a sophomore FCA leader, said.
At TOHS, the club is run by student leaders and Mrs. Smith, and every Tuesday on the pool deck, everyone gathers to talk and listen to a speaker.
“Usually we play a game at the beginning and they’re pretty fun because the leaders plan them ahead of time. And then we eat pizza, which is free, so a lot of people like that. We usually have a speaker or we get into groups and talk about our week and problems or struggles we’re going through. We get to talk about it with people and have a group of people who you know are there for you,” Coger said.
20-120 people show up each week, and get advice from other Christians.
“We usually have a different speaker every week from different churches. Usually it’s a person like a pasture,” Jesika Magallanes, a junior FCA leader, said.
As much as the speakers talk about religion, they also talk on subjects that are helpful to students and chosen by the leaders.
“We give them topics like anxiety, or different topics that maybe people are struggling with that we hear when people come to us with a problem. A common theme is anxiety, being busy, worrying, or not being able to trust. We have certain topics that we hear from people and we ask speakers to speak on these things. We’ll tell them the theme of the week based off what people talk to us about,” Coger said.
Lancers in the club enjoy it for many reasons, but most agree their favorite part is being with other people.
“My favorite part is meeting new people and building relationships and friendships with them,” Magallanes said. “It’s really helpful in my faith because in school there’s a lot of, like, I’d say like 80% of the people are not Christian, and so to be able to come at lunch and be with other Christians it’s really helpful and encouraging.”
FCA leaders are always there to talk to other students to give advice and words of encouragement.
“I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and talk to me saying ‘I’ve struggled in this area, can you pray for me or help me,’” Coger said. “You can really get close to them, and be their friend and be able to talk to them about what’s going on in your life. It’s just a great way to get closer to people and talk to them.”