On Wednesday, October 8 over 240 students (and some adults) representing 10 different schools gathered at Biddle Park in Wauseon for FCA’s Annual Fields of Faith.
These students gathered along with thousands of other youth on athletic fields all across the nation to share their Christian faith with fellow students during the ninth annual national Fields of Faith event. This rapidly-growing, interdenominational outreach event was held at more than 450 locations throughout the nation on this same date. While many Christian rallies are anchored to an entertainer or professional speaker that creates a spectator event, Fields of Faith is structured as a student-to-student ministry. Peers invite their own classmates and teammates to meet on their school’s athletic field to hear fellow students share their testimonies, challenge them to read the Bible and to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Besides a local church worship band from True North church, the entire evening was planned by FCA Area Representative Alexa Short and student leaders from Archbold and Wauseon High School FCA Huddles. Joshua Kauffman (Wauseon Senior) and Gavin Morton (Archbold Senior) shared their testimony and a challenge while other students read scripture (Erin Erbskorn, Morgan Bzovi, Maddie Richer). A few students led in prayer (Quintin Reiser and Mason Creager), while others gave directions and helped lead prayer in small groups and organized the night. (Collin Stump, Luke Fisher, Carter Stump, Luke Rychener, Ally Tefft, Ty Leininger, J.J. Kauffman, Avery Giguere, Elijah Esquibel, Derek Walker, Malinda Lugbill, Alexa Coressel, Madison Kohler, and Zac Robinson) ALL student led!
The national growth of Fields of Faith has been remarkable. Since the beginning of Fields of Faith in 2004, over a million people have joined in the movement. In 2013 alone, more than 170,000 students gathered on 463 fields to participate in the event.
It’s not just those numbers that have FCA organizers excited about Fields of Faith. It’s the real-life impact that these gatherings are having on young people. Last year’s series of events saw 5,397 students make first-time faith commitments to follow Jesus Christ, 7,921 recommitted their life to Christ and 9,834 committed to reading the Bible daily.
“The impact of Fields of Faith has been incredible in just these past few years,” said Les Steckel, FCA president and former veteran NFL coach. “It’s all about young people in these communities coming together on their school’s athletic field and challenging each other to go back to the fundamentals of reading God’s Word and coming to faith in Jesus Christ.”
The impetus for Fields of Faith began with Jeff Martin, an FCA staff person, who conceived the idea from an Old Testament reference in 2 Chronicles 34 after searching how to help today’s generation of students face spiritual battles and temptations. In the scripture, King Josiah, an influential teenager very similar to Fields of Faith attendees today, gathered his people and challenged them to read the Bible. As a result, they changed their culture.
In 2004, the Josiah-influenced dream came true when 6,000 students gathered on school athletic fields throughout three states for the first Fields of Faith event. That was the beginning of what has become one of the most significant faith-related gathering of students in a single day.
“Fields of Faith challenges this generation to be committed to reading the Bible and living a transformed life for Jesus Christ,” said Martin. “It’s students challenging students, peers challenging peers and that’s the heart and soul of Fields of Faith.”
While Fields of Faith has its roots with FCA leadership, the event is designed to include multiple national Christian organizations, local churches and ministries.
As the evening closed, students left the field and received a complimentary book of John to make sure they are reading God’s Word.