On Wednesday, October 9th, students across the U.S. met for Fields of Faith, an annual event organized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Over 250,000 students met on athletic fields to encourage one another to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.
“Fields of Faith is always such a fantastic night to me because the community comes together regardless of what church or school you go to,” said Tate O’Bryan, a sophomore at Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Tennessee. “It’s the only opportunity in my year where I get to see that kind of unity between everyone in Bradley County; that’s always one of my favorite parts of the night, along with seeing so many give their lives to Christ.”
What Is Fields of Faith?
Fields of Faith is part of FCA, a ministry whose goal is to “lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.” In 2002, Jeff Martin, an FCA Area Director in Oklahoma, was discouraged about the “temptations and spiritual battles” facing young people. When he prayed about what to do, God led him to 2 Chronicles 34, which recounts how King Josiah (who was a teenager) gathered the Israelites together to read scripture, leading to a revival.
The first Fields of Faith events were held in 2004 by over 6,000 students throughout Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. That year, over 100 students committed their lives to Christ, as have thousands more who have since attended the events. Last year, almost 250,000 students met at 500 fields across the country and even outside of the country.
Fields of Faith events are held on fields because athletic fields are neutral locations where people in the community can gather. The events are also intentionally interdenominational out of the belief that keeping them within one denomination would cause them to be “severely limited.”
View this post on Instagram
Fields of Faith Across the Nation
Thousands of people attended Fields of Faith in Muncie, Indiana, which started off with 17 students from nine different schools leading the crowd in worship. The theme of the evening was the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Three students shared their testimonies from the stage, telling how God led them through difficult times, including their fear of talking about their faith with others. One shared, “I was too scared to talk to people who I didn’t already know were Christians. I always kept that Jesus topic brushed under the rug.” It wasn’t until this student’s friend died in an accident that she became willing to step outside of her comfort zone.
Stephanie Bloom, a volleyball coach and the 2018 national high school girls coach of the year, also spoke, sharing about being challenged in her faith because of tragedies in her life. These hardships included the death of her sister’s fiance and her mother getting cancer. Bloom said, “The question of, ‘Why?’ has never been answered, but who God is has to be enough.”
The Fields of Faith event at Bradley County High School in Cleveland, Tennessee, on Sept. 25th took place the same day as See You at the Pole. Leaders encouraged students attending See You at the Pole to invite their friends to Fields of Faith later that evening, and over 150 middle and high school students committed their lives to Christ that night.
Twenty local churches joined FCA to host over 1,500 students at Fields of Faith in Bryan, Texas. The evening included worship, Scripture reading and student testimonies. High school senior Jacob Franke shared how when he was younger, he thought that he could be a good person by following all the rules. But, he said, “That’s not what Jesus is about. Jesus doesn’t want you going through life checking off your to-do list and never really knowing him. He wants you, and he wants your heart.”
At the Fields of Faith event in La Crosse, Wisconsin, FCA leader Sarah Hitchler told WXOW News that the event was an opportunity to unite people who usually compete against one another: “In our conference everyone always plays each other, we’re always on different teams so this is a night where we want to bring Christians together. Mostly athletes, but some not athletes and that’s okay too. Just to bring them all together to be on one team and to unite for God.”
In Baltimore, Maryland, students gathered at Fields of Faith to pray that violence would decrease in their city. The number of homicides in Baltimore has been increasing, with the most recent occurring the morning of the event.
While October 9th was the official day for Fields of Faith, the events run throughout the month of October, so some schools have yet to hold theirs. You can check here to see if there will be a Fields of Faith near you.