Don McClanen has founded five major Christian ministries, including the 2-million-person Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the influential Ministry of Money. His life has been a circuitous path, from coaching basketball at a junior college to founding FCA, followed by initiating a ministry to inner-city youth in Washington, D.C.; starting a church-renewal ministry; creating Ministry of Money to help people follow Christ in their financial lives; becoming a spiritual guide for numerous groups of pilgrims to build relationship with people in poverty-stricken and war-torn communities in developing countries; ministering to the wealthy; and raising millions of dollars for projects to aid poor communities around the world.
When Don heard those calls, which most others might have considered implausible or even impossible, he responded with an emphatic “yes.” One of Don’s favorite sayings is from Alfred North Whitehead: “Without the high hope of adventure, religion degenerates into a mere appendage of a comfortable life.”
IN FEBRUARY 1946, the day Don was discharged from the Navy after serving on a submarine in World War II, a Navy lieutenant standing on a train platform asked him offhandedly, “What are you going to do now, sailor?”
Don replied, “Well, I’m probably going to go to college.”
The lieutenant said Don should consider Oklahoma A&M University (now Oklahoma State). The suggestion grabbed Don’s attention. He knew the university’s football team ranked third in the country, behind Army and Navy. And its basketball team, coached by the legendary Henry Iba, had just won its second straight national title.