Kurt Newton has been in sales most of his adult life, be it vehicles or radio advertising. The only difference now is that he’s selling the love of Jesus Christ.
Sharing might be a better description of Newton’s new role as Brownwood Area Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Newton, who had been on the Brownwood Area FCA Leadership Board for the last seven years, began his new role May 3. He is replacing Tony Daniel, the former popular director who passed away last fall.
“Everybody says, ‘So you took Tony’s place,’ ” Newton said. “Tony was my friend. We worked on a lot of FCA projects together for the last seven years. But the most important thing is that I grew closer to the Lord because of Tony. He helped prepare me, spiritually, for this job.”
Newton attended his first FCA meeting in 1969 while a student at Brownwood High School, where he helped the Lions’ football team win state championships in 1969 and 1970, and where he was an all-state lineman in 1971. After playing three years of college football at Angelo State, Newton returned to Brownwood as an advertising salesman for KBWD and KOXE radio stations. He later enjoyed a long career in sales with Ford -- first with Weatherby Motor Company and later with Big Country Ford Lincoln.
“This opportunity to be a full-time FCA employee is what the good Lord wanted me to do,” Newton said. “We talked about it a lot, and then I went through the hiring process.”
He began as director May 3, and barely a month into his new role, Newton is preparing to host 66 players and cheerleaders, plus nine coaches for the FCA All-Star basketball games in Brownwood Coliseum. The girls’ game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, with the boys’ game to follow at 6.
“That’s a lot of people to find places for them to stay, but the leadership board knows what to do,” Newton said. “I just tag along behind and make sure I don’t get lost.”
FCA all-star games in other sports are scheduled this week in Abilene and San Angelo.
The biggest difference in being director, Newton said, is increased involvement with the coaches and athletes in the eight counties the Brownwood Area FCA serves -- Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Mason, McCulloch and Mills.
“FCA meetings are called Huddles, and we make sure there is a Huddle Coach at every middle school, high school and Howard Payne University. That’s about 50 schools total,” Newton said. “If a school loses its Huddle Coach, we find a new one and get them trained.”
Newton said FCA Huddles depend on when each school can meet. Some meet once a week, others once every other week, and others once a month. Some meet in the mornings before school, others meet at lunchtime, and others in the evenings.
“Huddles are the students’ time with the Lord. It’s a time for them to focus on what’s important,” Newton said. “Kids today are inundated with stuff on social media and the news, and they sometimes get confused. But kids still understand the truth when they hear it.
“We want to give them solid biblical information and truths, and they will embrace it. I saw a study that said 70 percent of kids in the United States don’t attend church. But some of those will come to a FCA Huddle because their friends are there and a coach they’ve spent time with is there. It’s a door to get in and try to reach them.”
Newton said FCA is exploring a new idea called Community Huddles for traveling select sports teams that may have a harder time trying to meet.
“They’re always on the road traveling to tournaments. We’re trying to help them get together -- whether it’s in a hotel room or around the pool,” Newton said.
In addition to all-star games and huddles, a major part of FCA’s ministry are summer camps -- a leadership camp for students June 17-24 in Abilene, a sports camp July 1-4 in Lubbock, and an enrichment camp for coaches and their spouses and families July 8-11 in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
“A lot of the money we raise goes to scholarships to help kids go to camp,” Newton said. “The camps give the kids a time to focus on the Lord with other kids and be away from all their distractions.”
Another major part of the FCA ministry is the annual Fields of Faith program, scheduled for Oct. 8 at Gordon Wood Stadium. The event typically draws about 3,000 local and area students.