There’s a common theme among six diverse current and former MNU students and alumni who work for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes National Support Center in Kansas City, Missouri. They all say they were led to work there and they have passion, not only for their jobs, but for the mission of their organization.
(left to right) Issac Yamamoto, Nick Hill, Quinten Johnson, Zach Johnson, Fred Olson and Steve Beckerle. MNU alumni serving at the FCA National Support Center.
FCA unites faith and sports to impact others for Christ. With more than 11,900 certified huddles (clubs) in 47 countries and 86,500 youth attending FCA camps, the organization makes a global difference for Christ. The National Support Center in Kansas City resources the thousands of FCA field representatives, athletes and coaches who are boots-on-the-ground in this mission.
Nick Hill ('15), FCA’s technology support consultant, majored in interdisciplinary studies in communication and design at MNU. Hill always gets involved in a big way. As a student, he was a co-founder of MNU Productions (audio/video), a member of Associated Student Government, Residence Hall Government and Heritage Choir, as well as a yell leader and football team manager. He also used his love for technology as a res-tech, providing student IT help. Not surprisingly he belonged to an FCA huddle in high school. Now he puts that enthusiasm to work at FCA.
“I get to support, train and troubleshoot for staff nationally and internationally with a variety of technology and software questions,” Hill says. “I use technology in new ways to support our field staff who are actively serving their communities and spreading the Gospel. It’s a big team!”
Hill was referred to work at FCA by Zach Johnson (FS ’07), the organization’s Apple product support and online events coordinator. Both Hill and Johnson wanted to work for FCA for several years before an opportunity presented itself.
“Another alum, youth ministry major Steve Beckerle (’05) worked at FCA as intranet manager and loved it,” Johnson says. “When I decided I might be a good fit here, it was actually another four years before I came on staff. God was working out the details during that time. I am a servant by nature, so behind-the-scenes support fits the gifts God has given me.”
Hill and Johnson interact daily with other MNU alums including Beckerle, FCA accountant and intercultural studies major Quinten Johnson (’09), and Fred Olson (’83), the ministry’s director of finance.
An accounting major, Olson spent six years in the field of public accounting. After taking a year off to study at a Bible school, he got the opportunity to assist FCA’s chief financial officer. Promoted to his current position in 2000, Olson now has 25 years of service at the organization.
“I oversee day-to-day financial operations of the FCA ministry,” Olson says. “Serving with FCA has been a real privilege for me, and has allowed me to utilize my professional background.”
Though not at the National Support Center, Brett Stillman (’12), a field associate in St. Louis, also works for FCA. The mass communications major interned in St. Louis the summer before his senior year and says although he was preparing to be a play-by-play announcer – he was KMNU’s general manager and the “voice” of Pioneer athletics – working at FCA full time became a “longing.”
“FCA has been the main channel of spiritual growth and fellowship in my Christian walk,” Stillman says. “It’s where I was saved, strengthened and encouraged in my walk during high school. It challenged me to serve in college, and now it’s my calling and vocation.”
Like the others, Stillman has no plans to work elsewhere.
“Honestly, [in five years I see myself] still serving the coaches and athletes of St. Louis and North County,” he says. “God is working in some tough environments and it's awesome to be on the front lines of it!”
Pioneer linebacker Isaac Yamamoto ('16), a senior from Sequim, Washington, landed an FCA internship this summer. A transfer student from Lower Columbia College, Yamamoto came to MNU to play football and major in kinesiology and had not considered working in sports ministry. But having joined MNU’s new FCA huddle last spring, Yamamoto learned about the opportunity to work at FCA summer camps. Placed in three Missouri camps from Table Rock Lake to St. Louis and Excelsior Springs, Yamamoto discovered a new calling.
“I wasn’t sure what my response would be to sports ministry,” he says, “but I realized I have a calling for it. We’re like the coaches of the coaches, regarding spiritual leadership. Athletes spend so much time with their coaches. What better way to spread the Gospel?”
Yamamoto intends to complete his degree and work in some area of strength and conditioning for athletes. He knows that God will lead him to an opportunity to use his education and calling for His glory.
Whether behind the scenes or on the front lines, each of these Pioneers have found their calling and passion at FCA.