A group of four Baylor students, Jess Bost, Jack Clemans, Maddy Davis and Joshua Martin have partnered to create Freedom City FC, a non-profit organization focused on changing the lives of students in the Waco community through soccer, service and the Gospel.
The organization began by Sayville, N.Y. junior Josh Martin responding to his calling to cultivate Godly community through the game of soccer and his plans to do so post-graduation. Through friends, his fellow directors and support by Sports Outreach Initiative, an international sports ministry, his dream is already becoming a reality.
“We want to build community. Jesus so clearly lays out that we are all equal in love and our wealth or status is so meaningless on the large scale of things, when it comes to who he is. So that’s why we’re called Freedom City FC, because we’re a community. It’s a place where we will teach them what we know, and they will teach us what they know and we will do our lives together despite the differences that may be present. That is where the gospel is really at the core of our ministry and the core of who we are — that we are all one in Christ,” Martin said.
Martin, Davis, Clemans and Bost have encouraged friends and family to join them in support with prayer, financial contributions, donations and serving as coaches, tutors and mentors. Natick, MA junior Jess Bost claims the reason behind their shared passion for kids stems from their various yet similar experiences of knowing God.
“We are all, every single one of us, enslaved to sin, and we are broken people who are so desperately in need of Jesus Christ our Savior. All of us at this table and everyone else who is a part of this. We each have individual stories of how Christ has transformed our lives, and how he has brought us freedom. And if he can do that, as people who are being made more like him, we can give up an hour and 45 minutes on a Wednesday to invest in their lives and just be present with them however they need or want,” Bost said.
Freedom City FC will begin their first weekly program at Kendrick Elementary School in mid-February hosting after school clinics that partner children with coaches to help them develop both their soccer skills and personal faith. Along with the weekly soccer practice and devotional time, the group will also provide tutoring for kids in need of academic assistance.
With 93 percent of the children that attend Kendrick Elementary classified as living under the poverty line, the need for the resources Freedom City FC is willing to bring in Waco community is great.
Melissa sophomore Jack Clemans gave a run-down of a typical afternoon in the Freedom City FC program: multiple stations with coaches will be set-up on the field in order to help the kids with their soccer skills. Additional coaches will tag-along with the kids as they go from station to station in order to provide an opportunity to build relationship with them as they play. After this, there will be a teaching and connect time to ensure time is invested and valued with each child.
The group finds this integral to their mission and vision of Freedom City.
“We want to do what we can to break those economic and emotional chains of poverty. Because even though this is a small thing that we’re doing on the large scale of these kid’s lives — it means something. They may only come for one semester and never come back, but if we can have some kind of impact in those four or five months, and if we can show them who Christ is and that there’s hope for a future and that there is a God who loves them no matter whether they are looked at as successful or unsuccessful, rich or poor—that’s what we want.” Martin explained.
Though the start date is still weeks away, Martin is excited about the reality of Freedom City FC and grateful for the ability to take part in it,
“It was so cool to watch God do this—he gave me this idea and now it’s actually happening in a way that I never envisioned or ever planned, and I’m so not qualified to actually be doing this. He has just done so much and it’s been really incredible,” Martin said.
Students can learn more and interact with the organization, its members and their vision by visiting Facebook or Instagram and following @FreedomCityFC.