Lance Pickens has been named as director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the local New Albany and Union County schools. This will be the first time for local schools to have a director that lives and serves in Union County.
Pickens has a long history with FCA dating back to his high school days at Shannon High School in Lee County. He served as vice president of his chapter during his junior and senior years.
Pickens answered the call to ministry at the age of 19 while he was in college and he felt his calling would be with the youth. He served 12 years at Troy Baptist Church and later he felt God's call to Ellistown Baptist Church where he is currently serving as youth minister as he marks 15 years in the ministry.
"I'm really looking forward to getting into the schools and really share the Gospel with students," said Pickens.
Pickens will be actively involved with New Albany, East Union, Ingomar, Myrtle and West Union FCA activities at the respective schools and will be working with high school and middle school students.
"My personal vision and calling is to reach students for the Gospel calling of Jesus Christ and I think with FCA, their vision is to grow by shrinking," Pickens said. "What that is, I'm just going to be a more personable person through the FCA through that sport to reach those coaches and students.
"My goal is to begin with the coaches ultimately, they are our most influential people and for a lot of students, they are the most influential people that they have consistently through a year, so I really want to try to impact them. Get them engaged, get them involved, so that we can evangelize and can reach these students so that they can grow into the God-fearing and God-loving people that we want them to be. FCA is just that outlet that can get us there."
Pickens plans on attending the FCA meetings at each school on a weekly basis. He also plans to use the team huddle concept of taking a particular sport and focus on that team having their own personal huddle.
"They would have their own little huddle and their own devotional time," he said. "We want to do that in every school and it will be a weekly thing."
Pickens hopes to have everything in place to begin by March which will be the official kickoff of his plans.
"I have a passion for students, there were people who impacted my life when I was a student and it just carried over when I was in college," Pickens said. "God just created this burden and passion to reach students for the Gospel of Jesus and FCA is just a perfect outlet to let us into the schools. This is the most crucial thing that students need to know and hear about. The schools here have graciously allowed us to come in and we don't want to take that for granted."
Scott Carter currently serves as an ambassador with FCA in north Mississippi while focusing on Chickasaw and Pontotoc counties and he formerly served as the area director for Northeast Mississippi for FCA for 12 years. He offered his support to introduce Lance to local people that he knows or had worked with in the past through FCA during their swing though Union County recently.
"I support Lance and want to help him, I have some dear friends here in Union County that I wanted to connect him with, so I'm here today just to support Lance and support FCA in Union County," Carter said. I just wanted to come over and support the effort since I have friends and contacts here.
"He is trying to raise his support and currently he has a monthly budget of $600, so if anyone wants to support Lance financially, we would greatly appreciate it. It is tax deductible."
The current area director for FCA in Northeast Mississippi is Mark Boren and Pickens will be working under him in this ministry endeavor.