In mid-November, FCA hosted its first All Ability Sports Forum at the Support Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The event was organized to discuss the growing need for ministry to All Ability coaches and athletes. All Ability means the inclusion of all categories of people with disabilities and emphasizes the Biblical message of “in God we are all able.” All Ability Sport encourages everyone with disabilities to participate in sport.
There were 23 in attendance including 11 Field Attendees from all three U.S. Field Divisions, 10 FCA leadership staff, and two facilitators from Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
According to Debbie Jobe, Executive Vice President of Training, key discussion points included how FCA could widen its inclusion lens and integrate this into the ministry focus in reaching every coach and athlete.
“Our ministry is to all coaches and athletes,” she said. “So moving forward, we must be intentional in our prayers, training and programming in determining how God would have us to be inclusive. I can’t wait to see how He leads us in this effort and how different FCA may look in a few years.”
While part of the forum was to encourage leadership and staff to get involved in this opportunity, it was also intended to hear from those who are already serving the All Ability Sports community as part of their ministry efforts or through individual volunteer work.
The need is substantial. For instance, there are more than five million athletes that take part in various Special Olympics events across more than 170 countries. Hundreds of thousands of adaptive sports athletes also compete recreationally and competitively in activities such as wheelchair rugby, wheelchair racing, sled hockey, swimming, hand cycling and blind soccer. These athletes might be found in a community gymnasium or on national television in major international events like the increasingly popular Paralympic Games.
“The All Ability Sports Forum deeply affirmed our mission as a ministry—to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus,” Executive Vice President of Ministry Advancement Kellen Cox said. “‘Every’ is a massive undertaking and we wouldn’t be giving 100 percent if we neglected All Ability coaches and athletes.”
In addition to an introduction to All Ability Sports, the forum took a look at global activity and trends and tackled the enormous but exciting question of how FCA can be more intentional in serving these coaches and athletes in the future.
One of the staff attendees, Todd Cramer shared, “The hands-on activities helped make everything real and gave the opportunity to experience on a small scale the challenges facing All Ability coaches and athletes.”
This event was historic for FCA and will lead to more opportunities that will mature the FCA ministry around the world. The FCA Leadership is confident that new leaders will emerge in the All Ability Sports community to develop new partnerships to serve every coach and athlete.