By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
I love coaches. They make a difference! If I had not been a minister, I would probably have been a coach. Some of the biggest influences in my life were my coaches in junior high, high school, and college.
I have had the opportunity to speak at the Coaches’ Family Conference a couple of times at Black Mountain, North Carolina. I also had a chance to speak at the worship service for the meeting of the American College Football Coaches’ Association in Nashville, where over 7,000 coaches attend.
The first weekend of June I spoke at a Coaches’ Family Conference for coaches and their families. It was held at the Blue Lake Camp just south of Andalusia, Alabama. It was a difference-maker!
Let me tell you about Jimmy Reeves, the coach who put that weekend together. A Coaches’ Conference at Black Mountain, North Carolina had transformed his life, and he wanted to share it with many coaches in Alabama and West Florida who might not be able to go to Black Mountain. Here is his story:
“At the age of 38 years old, I suddenly found myself alone and divorced after an eleven year marriage that produced 2 beautiful daughters. I was fortunate to win custody of my girls, ages 6 and 8, but had no idea how I was going to take care of them. I had a great job as head football coach, baseball coach and AD at a 4A high school but my relationship with the Lord had declined as my success as a coach increased. The life that I had dreamed of had turned into a mess.
That summer, John Gibbons invited me to the FCA Coach’s camp in Black Mountain N.C. I was reluctant, to say the least, about attending a “spiritual” camp but I loaded up my girls and headed north. During the camp, God began to open my eyes to what my purpose as a father and a coach really was.
I was amazed to find that there were men who had the same occupation as me that actually put God and family as their main priority in life. Through new relationships with these Christian families, my family began to grow in the Lord. We returned to Black Mountain Coach’s camp for 12 straight years.
There is no doubt in my mind that God used Black Mountain to save my life. My daughters are grown now and I can’t help but wonder if my marriage would have survived if I had been given the opportunity to attend an FCA Coach’s camp that emphasizes relationships with God and family.
Consequently, the Blue Lake Family Camp in Andalusia, Alabama has emerged. We just completed our 4th camp and lives are being changed just like mine was. I thank God every day for not giving up on me and for an invitation to an FCA camp that saved my family.”
Coaches make a difference. You can participate. Consider giving a scholarship to some coach and his/her family to attend a Coaches’ Family Camp. Pray for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes who has such a powerful influence in the lives of coaches. Contact an FCA staff member from your area and tell them that you are praying for them. Pray for Coach Les Steckel who is the President of the National FCA organization. Pray for Dal Shealy who heads up the specialized ministry for college coaches. Pray for Grant Teaff who is the Executive Director of American College Football Coaches Association
Do what coaches do – make a difference!
John Ed’s posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org