April 15, 2013 10:24:14 AM
Sarah Fowler - [email protected]
Jason Wells views each day as an opportunity to make a difference. As the new area administrator for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Wells travels to 57 schools throughout northern Mississippi, ministering to middle school and high school students.
A native of Orlando, Fla., the 32-year-old Wells moved to Mississippi in October 2012. A former athlete himself, Wells said he feels an easy connection to the students.
"Being an athlete most of my life helps me to identify with all of the moments in sports, both winning and losing, pain and triumph," he said.
"As a former college athlete, a former professional athlete, as a former high school football coach, that gives me a platform that those kids resonate with."
Wells graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2004 where he played college football, first as quarterback then as a running back. He said his conversion experience came at age 20.
Quoting John 6:35, Wells said "Salvation to me is a coming to Jesus so as to find your heart hunger and your heart thirst fully satisfied in him."
While he has worked as a high school wrestling coach and football coach and even entered the professional world of mixed martial arts, Wells said his heart is in the ministry.
"Certainly it's a calling," he said.
In 2008, Wells and several friends planted a church in Hickory, N.C. In 2009, he became an ordained minister.
With his quick smile and easy-going personality, Wells is quick to talk about how eager he is to make an impact in the lives of young people. He said there are thousands of moments where he feels encouraged that he is making a difference and helping bring young people to Christ. Last year, he traveled to a school and played a pickup game of basketball with several students. After the game, Wells took the opportunity to minister to the students and led them in a devotion. Two days later, the students' coach called him to tell him two of the young boys had given their hearts to Jesus.
"That's definitely a motivator," Wells said.
With 57 campuses in 11 counties, Wells said ministering to the coaches is just as important as ministering to the students.
"I think that's why we put so much focus on our ministry to the coaches, because the coaches are the guys that see the students day-in and day-out," he said. "If we can fire the coaches up and hold them accountable, they ultimately will have much more of an impact than I will."
In addition to working within the schools, Wells hopes to partner with area churches who are interested in the mission of FCA.
"My goal is to lock arms with all of the various churches that service our schools in hopes of adding to their vision and offering them accessibility to do ministry on our campuses."
"Our vision is for both the schools and the church community to see us as a vital and indispensable part of the fabric in those two cultures."
In the few months since he has taken the role as area administrator, Wells said he feels the importance of FCA is more than leading students in prayer -- it's helping guide them to be examples of Christ and live godly lives.
"FCA has been an agent of change in the lives of both coaches and students for years now, not only helping to facilitate the spreading of the Gospel but also helping those involved to have victory in Jesus in their everyday lives," he said.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.