AHS’ Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) welcomes all


Kelly Andrews

The outdoors fall fiesta brings Ankeny High School students to the turf field to eat walking tacos and play a series of fall related games on Oct. 4, 2021.

Jaci Shrum, Staff Reporter

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is an organization “working to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes,” reports the national organization on their website. In pursuit of this mission, FCA has spread to over 100 countries and to tens of thousands of athletes and coaches, making an impact as the organization grows at schools including Ankeny High School (AHS).

History At AHS

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is new to AHS. Science teacher Kristen Campbell-Blumhagen, otherwise known as Mrs. CB, supports FCA through sponsorship. 

“We’ve been trying to grow FCA. We’re in our second full year,” CB said. “We’ll be starting our third year officially in March. We’ve been trying to grow in the past few years because there was FCA when we were one [school], but since the split, they met up at [Centennial], and kids got tired of traveling up North.” 

It took a couple teachers and some students to really start it up again at AHS. 

“That’s how FCA really got started in Ankeny. We had teachers working on it and then they left when the Ankeny high schools split – we didn’t have it for a few years,” Des Moines Area FCA representative Dave Applegate said. “Then, a couple years ago, Mrs. Andrews [AHS counselor Kelly Andrews] and Mrs. CB started to really get FCA started at Ankeny. They rounded up a few students who wanted to be on our leadership team (typically that’s how it works in high school; it’s a student-led ministry), and I came in and helped train them, and they now run our large group huddles.” 

Yet, even in the few years it’s been around for, there has been growth. 

“Last year, when I was first a leader, we didn’t have many athletes coming to our large group huddles,” junior FCA leader Larissa Miller said. “This year the numbers have increased dramatically.”

Who can join FCA?

Getting involved in FCA at AHS is not limited to just athletes. 

“Even if you’re not super involved in school – I know it says ‘athletes,’ but everyone is welcome to come,” senior FCA leader Anna Schmitz said. 

FCA sponsor and AHS counselor Kelly Andrews says that FCA is a welcoming environment for everyone.

 “We are not going to turn a single person away. we’re not asking if you’re involved in anything,” Andrews said. “We want anyone and everyone to come. Even though it’s called the The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, it’s open to everyone and I hope that they feel that way.” 

In terms of religious background, FCA welcomes students of all beliefs.

“It doesn’t matter what type of church you go to, or even if you’re not a believer, we’re always going to present the gospel at our meetings and through our speaker,” Andrews said.

Currently, there are many different activities represented in FCA at Ankeny high school. 

“Not everyone there is super super religious, but they’re coming and at least hearing the gospel,” senior and FCA leader Talia Dosh said. “I think we have at least one person from each sport, and then also show choir, band – I mean we just want people to come and listen and be involved in [hearing the gospel].”

Tuesday morning Bible studies

“Why we started our Tuesday morning Bible study is because some of those large events (huddles) are great for gathering people, but we really want to make sure our students are engaging with scripture and that they’re opening their Bible and being changed,” Andrews said.

One of their main points is to provide scripture that students can study in groups. 

“FCA has daily devotions on their website, so that’s one of the things the leaders did at the beginning of semester,” CB said. “They looked at all of the devotions available and picked which ones they thought were relevant to high-schoolers, and athletes and activity people.” 

Dosh speaks a little more as to how the bible studies look.

“We usually have a different topic that we go through each week,” Dosh said. “There’s perseverance or trust, just something that we think that someone in this school could be struggling with, or find encouraging. We have some verses centered around that, and we usually have some discussion about that in groups.”

Bible studies are Tuesdays from 7:45 to 8:10 a.m. in room 2017.


Why make an effort to support FCA in Ankeny high school? 

“Our mission is to impact AHS to introduce people to who Jesus is and what the gospel is and how you can walk in freedom. The fact that this generation has a lot of things distracting them, we want to bring the hope of the gospel; what living for a higher purpose can do for you and the hope it can bring,” Andrews said. “Our student body is feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and tired and culture’s telling them they have to be/act/look a certain way, and we want to make sure they know that that’s not true. We want to bring sound biblical teaching.” 

The way in which they spread the gospel is through creating a community. 

“We want to create a positive environment in whatever sport or activity that they’re a part of, and we really want them to spread the word of Jesus Christ through their actions and the sports they play and participate in,” CB said. “That’s really our message, is to create a positive environment through the love of Jesus Christ.”


In its time at AHS, FCA has made a difference in students individually and as part of a community. 

“It has impacted our student athletes because it has given our students a reason to gather together across sports,” Andrews said. “It’s given us a united purpose to gather together for the sake of our sports, being athletes, but most importantly to learn about the gospel and Jesus and why competing with a purpose as a Christian matters. I think that it’s brought a lot of hope, it’s brought a lot of community and connectedness. It’s just been awesome to see!” 

Schmitz also speaks of the fellowship FCA provides.

“I think it’s a great source of community,” said said. “Especially nowadays, when everything is so segregated and individual. It’s a great place to come and have community and fellowship with people.”

FCA has had a positive impact on the mindsets of student athletes.

“It really leads them to be the best they can be – whether they’re a teacher or a coach, or they’re in a business, or they’re a student or an athlete, when you’re walking with Jesus it gives you freedom to not worry,” Applegate said. “We talk about playing for an audience of one, playing for Jesus. That takes the pressure off, because in his eyes we’re awesome already. The world tells you that if you didn’t play great then you’re not valuable, but Jesus stops it. He says ‘You’re valuable no matter what.’ At the end of the day, that’s not what your identity is in. It’s not in your sports or what you do, it’s in your relationship with him.”


The most popular outreach of FCA in AHS so far has been the huddles.

“Once a month, on the first Monday of the month, we have school-wide huddles, where we play games, do activities, and have a lesson from somebody who’s an athlete or has been an athlete, and is a follower of Christ,” senior and FCA leader Truman Patterson said. 

Not everyone who comes to the huddles has a religious background.

“We have a wide variety of people that know Christ really well and also people who just want to play games, but I think the common denominator is that they’re all coming and listening to truth and wisdom,” Schmitz said. 

There is an emphasis on college speakers coming to huddles. 

 “We’ve also focused on having speakers that will engage everyone and will share a strong message,” Miller said. “For example, we had a wrestler at Iowa State, David Carr, speak to us a few months ago. He was great!”

FCA has also had Iowa State quarterback, Brock Perty, video message the group.

The invitation to these events is open to any student.

“Even if you’re not super involved in school, I know it says athletes, but everyone is welcome to come,” Dosh said. “If you’re not there to play the games, you can just be there to talk with friends and socialize too.”

Students are invited to the AHS Stadium on Monday, May 9, for hotdogs, chips, and cookies, and to participate in various yard games. The event will be held from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. with the yard games beginning as early as 7:45. It will also feature an obstacle course from the National Guard.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a team or not, we’re going to get you plugged in and make sure that you feel there!”  Andrews said.

Ankeny High School athletes enjoy a holiday-themed huddle where David Carr, Iowa State University wrestler spoke on Dec. 6, 2021. Photo by Kristen Campbell-Blumhagen

For more information regarding FCA, see www.instagram.com/ankenyhighfca, www.fca.org