And not just any peace, but a peace that surpasses all understanding.
A health science teacher and coach at Indian Trail Middle School, Nutter helps organize a Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathering every other Wednesday before school starts. Regular attendance has grown to more than 400 students, nearly one-third of the school’s enrollment.
“I just want to see His kingdom grow,” said Nutter. “A lot of these kids are hungry for acceptance. This age is such an awkward age, trying to find their identity. My goal is for them to find their identity in Christ.
“God put me in this position for a reason, and I’m answering that call. My dad wanted me to be a pastor, but there’s a lot of work to be done in the schools. It’s just a great start to the school day.”
At first glance, it may seem like the wall between church and state may have been breached. But Nutter did his homework. He met with Indian Trail principal James Jacobs, and the idea was also presented to Johnson City Schools attorney Lee Patterson.
“We do it in conjunction with Kelly Lane’s intramural program from 7 to 7:40 a.m. every morning,” said Nutter, who has been a teacher at Indian Trail for 11 years and recently earned a Teacher of the Year honor. “It’s completely on a volunteer basis. We take every other Wednesday, and invite students to come to FCA instead of intramurals. At the first meeting, 250 to 300 students attended instead of doing the morning mile.”
And it’s all-inclusive, said Nutter, pointing to an example of a Hindu student.
“He popped into my room and asked to talk to me for a minute,” said Nutter. “He said he had decided to come to FCA. Then he said, “I’m Hindu. Is it still cool if I come?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely.’
“I told him we have people from different faiths. I told him we will be growing together in Christ. That’s what FCA stands for. The vision of the FCA is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. I told him we will be reading the Holy Bible, and looking into God’s word. FCA is for believers and unbelievers. I said ‘we would love to have you.’ He has been a regular attender at our meetings.”
Nutter said the FCA meetings attempt to reach kids where they are. Jordan Copas, a Christian rap artist from Johnson City, has performed at the meeting.
“Jordan Copas resonates where they are in the music side of life,” said Nutter. “It’s Christian rap, instead of the secular music that is being fed to them by friends, TV and media.”
Nutter said he has been able to hand out scripture and Bibles to the students.
“Some students have asked for extra copies for people that live on their street, or for their mom and dad,” said Nutter.
Nutter said there is a possibility of offering FCA meetings each week instead of every other week. Also, plans are being discussed for an FCA camp during June. Former University of Tennessee placekicker Jeff Hall is being lined up to speak, and Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten could also be there.
“I spoke to Jason’s manager, and we’re trying to get the camp in place when he is in town for his football camp in Elizabethton,” said Nutter.
Nutter said the FCA holds a special place in his heart.
“It really played a key role in my life at Tullahoma High School,” he said. “I was heavily involved there. A lot of coaches helped shape my faith to what it is today. The FCA 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.”
For more information about FCA, visit www.fca.org.