The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport. FCA’s mission is to present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church. FCA has been impacting the world for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes since 1954.
My name is Keith Moore, and I am the state director for South Dakota FCA. I was born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. I lived there until I was 8 years old, then we moved to Lyman County, where I graduated from Lyman High School in 1985. My mom is native, and my dad is non-native, so when I was growing up on the reservation, I was seen as white, but when we left the reservation, I was seen as an Indian kid. My teen years were difficult, I just wanted to be a kid and fit in! Sports did that for me. My confidence and determination as a young man grew on the fields and courts of South Dakota.
After high school, I went to Northern State University on a basketball scholarship and graduated in 1990. After teaching and coaching throughout the state for about a decade, I went back to school for a master’s in school administration and a specialist degree in educational leadership. From there, I served as Indian education director for South Dakota’s Department of Education, chief diversity officer for the University of South Dakota and then went to Washington, D.C, for a bit to direct the Bureau of Indian Education. My family and I returned to South Dakota in 2012, and I have been directing our state’s FCA ever since.
My wife, Kristie, and I have been married for 17 years, and we have five daughters.
I first encountered FCA when I was serving as a high school principal and coach in Onida, South Dakota. My wife and I were asked to lead a middle school and high school huddle during our time in Onida, but after we left, I stayed connected to FCA. I didn’t come to the Lord until my early 30s, so there were a lot of years that I was coaching without Him, but today, my walk with the Lord is a steady progress upward, and through FCA, I get to help other coaches do the same. I’m so grateful to the Lord for this experience.
Our vision at FCA is to see the world impacted by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. The big emphasis for us is to work to and through the coach. In sports, the coach is the big influencer, they are the ones who are with the kids day in and day out, which means they have an opportunity to make the biggest impact on young athletes. So we want to impact the coach and impact their heart for Christ, knowing they will transform and coach differently with Christ in their heart.
“When we work with coaches, we practice three-dimensional coaching. This means we work with the physical, the mental and the spiritual.”
At FCA, we have four “C’s.” First, we have the Campus Huddle, which is a targeted Bible study within a unique individual team setting that encourages and challenges team members to live and compete according to biblical principles. The huddles serve at the middle school, high school and college levels.
Next, we have FCA Camps in the summer, where young athletes develop their sport through instruction and competition while also growing in their understanding of God and the Bible. A couple years ago, we began partnership camps, where instead of FCA hosting their own camps, we team up with coaches and participate in already established camps going on throughout the state. Instead of asking the athlete to come to us, we go to them.
Lastly, we offer Coaches Ministry and Community Ministry, which is simply being in tune to our coaches, our communities and their needs. An example of a Community Ministry is All Sport All Summer, a series of weekly camps for both boys and girls that is led by FCA college athletes. These camps are a labor of love, because they are 10-hour days, volunteer hours, and coaching 45-70 kids a week, so it’s been a really positive impact on the community. We provide a sporting experience, teach fundamentals and also offer devotional time to pray with the kids. Many of these kids come to us as nonbelievers, but because their parents need them to be in a safe place during the day, we not only provide that, but we get a chance to impact their heart for Christ.
We also offer flag football for kindergarten through 6th grades. For 3rd and 4th graders, we have a hybrid league called Iron Man Football, which is where we put helmets on the kids but it’s still flag football. Then, we offer tackle league for 5th and 6th graders as well. Mainly, Dads are the coaches, and we serve about 1,200 kids throughout the region.
When we work with coaches, we practice three-dimensional coaching. This means we work with the physical, the mental and the spiritual. Research shows that 85 percent of coaching athletes is in the physical — it’s coaches trying to make kids faster and stronger and get them conditioned. Then the mental aspect of coaching is motivation, working on kids’ confidence and helping them to believe in themselves. But lastly, and most importantly, coaches need to capture a young athlete’s heart, and that’s the spiritual. If you’ve captured their heart, then you’ve really begun to understand who that child is.
One of my favorite opportunities while directing FCA is the state tournament dinners. Every year, we partner with the South Dakota High School Activities Association, and we serve dinner before both the boys and girls state basketball tournaments. We send an invite to all coaches and teams, and it’s an opportunity to serve around 1,000 coaches and athletes. It’s also a chance for us to deliver our message and build relationships with young athletes. These dinners are just an example of where the seeds are planted, where God does His work, and the Lord is so good to us. Every year after these dinners, we will get an email or a thank-you card, and those are the big wins for us. This is why we do what we do.
Our biggest need is human resources. So many of our FCA leagues and camps are staffed by volunteer coaches. And if we want to do field ministry well, we need human resources. The vision that the Lord has given me is that human resources will broaden our footprint and it will deepen our footprint, but it takes a lot of work. We need to raise funds to bring more human capital on board, but we rely on the Lord and we trust that it all comes in His time. God is good, and we are grateful to be given the opportunity to minister through sports in South Dakota.
When I was coaching out in Lead-Deadwood, South Dakota, I coached a young man there named Eric Rice. When I first came in, the program wasn’t very successful in terms of wins and losses. But I saw a few younger kids coming in who I thought could really be something as athletes, and Eric was one of them. Sure enough, as he came up through the system with me, our season started to get better. Then, his senior year, we made it to the state tournament, and that was the only Lead-Deadwood team to have made it to the tournament in 40 years. We had a great connection, and our relationship was really special to me. Today, Eric is a basketball and football coach at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, and when we cross paths, there is a special unspoken bond. It means a lot to me, and getting to be part of a kid’s life in a way that other people don’t is a neat opportunity. It’s amazing the impact you can have on one person, and the impact they can have on you.