"One coach will impact more lives in one year than most people will in a lifetime." - Billy Graham
FCA's ministry strategy is TO AND THROUGH THE COACH. We've noticed that coaches are major influencers in our world, and we've decided to structure our ministry activities with this in mind. Our goal is to minister first to coaches and their marriages, and then, when they are ready, to encourage, equip, and empower them to minister to the athletes under their care.
On June 22 & 23, this strategy came alive when 36 coaches and their spouses travelled to Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio for the 2019 FCA Coaches Marriage Retreat. Focus on the Family employees and marriage experts, Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, provided the programming for this retreat. The Smalleys provided practical insights on making the most of the every day moments with our spouses, such as saying hello, goodbye, and goodnight. They also talked about what it looks like to take care of ourselves so we can love our spouses well. During this portion of the programming, spouses were encouraged to consider the following questions and to share their answers with their spouses: 1) what gives you rest? and 2) what makes you come alive? The Smalley's also provided some simple ways that we could work on cherishing and nourishing our spouses. They suggested making a list of all the things that we love about our spouses, and they suggested each spouse finish the following statement and share the answer with his or her spouse: I feel loved when _______.
Attendees also participated in multiple (mostly embarrassing) games and competitions. The Northeast Ohio area showed up in a big way as two coaches from the Northeast Ohio area took home trophies for their accomplishments! Dan Larlham of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and his wife Candice were the fastest to make and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich using only one hand each. Kemp Boyd of Kenmore Garfield HS and his wife Stacy displayed their deep knowledge of one another by winning the newlywed game despite being far from newlywed.
The prayer and worship sessions were my favorite part of the weekend. I really enjoyed watching coaches who will be competing with one another in the fall singing and praising God together at this retreat. Coaches and their spouses were also treated to a few good meals and a beachside campfire on Lake Erie. Overall, it was a great opportunity for coaches and their spouses to unplug from the outside world and connect with one another.
As I close, I'll ask one thing of you. Would you please pray for the coaches and spouses who attended this retreat? Would you please pray for their marriages? Pray that they would grow nearer to God and nearer to one another.
Also, I want to thank those of you who contributed financially to sending coaches from the Northeast Ohio area to this retreat. Thank you for giving money that you could have spent on other things to bless these coaches and their marriages. I'm certain each coach and spouse enjoyed his and her experience. After the event, each coach from the Northeast Ohio area thanked me and expressed interest in sending other coaches to the retreat next year.