Rick Randazzo, national director of FCA Hockey, has been on staff with FCA for just over a year. Already, he's launched effective ministry to all four Cs of FCA's ministry: coaches, campus, camps and community.
FCA's ministry to hockey coaches officially took off after Randazzo and FCA President Les Steckel attended the natinoal coaches convention in Naples, FLA., this April. After Steckel challenged the coaches by sharing his testimony and reminding them that they coach for a higher purpose, Randazzo began reaching out to a group of college coaches who had expressed interest in staying connected. Now, a small group led by Randazzo meets weekly via teleconference to encourage and challenge each other in their faith.
"It provides an environment in which they can trust each other, bring up certain aspects about what is going on in their lives and talk bout how the Lord is working," Randazzo said. "It's been tremendous. We've done it for a couple of months now, and I've gotten some great feedback from the coaches."
Regarding campus ministry, according to Randazzo, "God works in awesome ways."
This year, out of the blue, randazzo received a call from University of Denver senior captain Rhett Rakhshani, who wanted to know how FCA Hockey could help him start ministering to his teammates. Randazzo helped Rakhshani begin a weekly team Bible study and now helps him live out FCA's four core values-- integrity, serving, teamwork, and excellence-- on his team.
"The leadership that guys like Rhett show is just tremendous," Randazzo said, also citing that other colleges have followed Denver's example, most recently Holy Cross. "They are leading by example in terms of integrity and teamwork and showing them what it takes. And that's what we've tried to do through our initial studies: look at Jesus and the leader that He was and really transform these players. The initiative of guys like Rhett really transforms a team and brings them closer. I really expect Denver to have a tremendous season, because now they're not just playing to win; they're playing for something greater."
As a whole FCA's ministry isn't largely connected to the sport of hockey, so, Randazzo has set out to establish a larger presence through offering free clinics across the country. Through these clinics, athletes are able to sharpen both their hockey skills and their faith in Christ.
"The crowd at that first clinic was about half Christian, and about half non-Christian, and we got some great feedback and some parents who really stepped up," Randazzo said. "One parent came out of that first clinic and then, the next month, he brought his other son to another one. Then they drove eight hours to our clinic in Buffalo (NY) and, over the summer, they drove eight hours down from Canada to attend our Hagerstown (Md.) camp, It is incredible to see how people are following us to attend these camps because we are offering not only good hockey training, but also good bilical training."
Last year, Randazzo received a call from his former church in Buffalo, NY. They had established a group of 50 men in their church who were meeting every month to play hockey. As the spo nsor for the group, the church needed advice on how to transform the hockey games into ministry opportunities.
"I had always thought adult hockey was something that FCA Fockey could get into, but that it would take several years." Randazzo said. "But I was completely wrong about that. It has really been one of the keys for our growth.
Currently , Randazzo is still working with the group in Buffalo and has started a group in Raleigh, N.C., where he resides with his wife and four children. In addition, they are currently working with groups in Minnesota and Texas and are pursuing adult hockey ministries.
"For all the groups that I mentioned, we are using the FCA core value books to share the gospel through other athletes," Randazzo said. "It's great for them to read about guys like Albert Pujols and his faith and then to answer some questions and exhibit that in the hockey rink. I say that the time I spent with the guys in Buffalo is how I imagine playing hockey in heaven will be: no referees, rarely are there any penalties and there are a lot of nice goals."
Posted on Sun, November 1, 2009
by Jill Ewert