Fort Lupton’s football schedule may change after closure of Faith Christian Academy

Rylee Dunn and Steve Smith Staff writers
Posted 12/14/22

The recent announcement that Faith Christian Academy will close at the end of this school year may cause some athletic scheduling issues for its opponents, including Fort Lupton High School.

FCA …

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Fort Lupton’s football schedule may change after closure of Faith Christian Academy

Posted

The recent announcement that Faith Christian Academy will close at the end of this school year may cause some athletic scheduling issues for its opponents, including Fort Lupton High School.

FCA is closing because of mounting debt, according to school Superintendent Andrew Hasz and the Rev. Jason King. They announced the news in a video message to families.

Grace Church of Arvada acquired the school for $12 million and plans to open the school for the 2023 school year under a new name, according to the Rev, Rick Long with Grace Church. There will be a new leadership team too.

The Bluedevils and FCA were in the same football conference this season. The two teams played in the last game of the season.

“I have seen that, too,” said FLHS Athletic Director Richard Jacoby. “I also read they are being bought out and will reopen under a different name in 2022-2023. Hopefully, they will have a team. If not, we will discuss, as a league this spring, on the appropriate approach.”

The 2022-23 school year is the second year of a two-year league alignment cycle for high-school sports teams. Schools schedule home-home games during a given cycle, both with out-of-conference opponents and those within the same athletic conference.

Football teams often play in different conferences from other sports. The Colorado High School Activities Association allows a separate enrollment count – with lower enrollment figures than, say, basketball or baseball – for the schools that play football.

Financial woes

Faith Christian Academy celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021 but mounting financial woes had been plaguing the church over the past two decades, according to King’s comments in the video message to families, posted to YouTube on Nov. 18.

The ministry’s K-8 school started in Denver in 1971, with the high school opening the following year.  

In an interview with the Arvada Press last year, Hasz said the school’s total K-12 enrollment was “a little under 850,” a figure he said was up 100 from the previous school year. Hasz said his father, Martin, founded the school with the goal “to have a school where the focus on God could be central and students would be encouraged to have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

Faith also has been embroiled in a number of high-profile lawsuits, including a racial discrimination suit filed by former teacher Gregg Tucker and a suit filed by FCA against the Jefferson County Public Health Department over the department’s COVID-19 protocols.

The discrimination suit is ongoing after the 10th Circuit Court declined to review it en banc, while JCPH was granted an injunction in the COVID lawsuit.

Long said that he was a parent at Faith Christian when Tucker was fired and that he was aware of FCA’s lawsuits, stating that Grace Church’s legal team would be “investigating every single detail” of the events that begat the legal proceedings.

“When we launch, with whoever we launch with, we’ll be sure it’s exactly the standards and ideals of Grace Church,” Long said. “We pull no punches with how we operate as a ministry.”

Balloon payment

In the video, King said that between 1991 and 2000, FCA took out a $6.8 million loan to purchase its Carr Street campus. In 2002, Faith took out an additional $14.2 million to finance the building of its worship center.

In 2014, the ministry converted the interest-only load to a conventional load, and by 2017, the ministry had only paid off about $1.4 million, leaving Faith with a debt of $19 million. At that point, the ministry began working to cut its overhead, with King stating that they were “led of the Lord.”

“The Board of Elders felt that the Lord was leading us to make some decisions that were difficult, but we truly believe they were led of the Lord,” King — who became Faith’s pastor in 2017 — said. “From day one decided, we’re going to live between our means, we’re going to trim the fat, we’re going to restructure, we’re going to run lean and run hard.”

King said that Faith has paid down $4 million of the $19 million-dollar debt. Nevertheless, with a looming $7 million balloon payment due in June, the ministry’s Board of Elders unanimously decided to sell the Carr Street property to Grace Church, which is led by the Rev. Rick Long. King called the move a “Kingdom Transaction” that would improve Faith’s K-8.

“In a chain of events that can only be attributed to the leading of God, Faith Church and Grace Church became the answer to each other’s prayers,” King said. “Please know, this decision was not made lightly. With this Kingdom Transaction, it will significantly reduce our debt and allow us to come closer to fully walking out God’s call and purpose for us as a ministry.”

Faith Christian Academy, Fort Lupton High School, Faith Christian Academy closure, new football schedule

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