WALLACE — Students from across Duplin and Sampson counties joined thousands of other youth on athletic fields all across America on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to share their Christian faith with fellow students during the sixth annual national Fields of Faith event. This rapidly-growing, interdenominational outreach event, hosted by the Wallace-Rose Hill High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), was held simultaneously at more than 475 locations throughout the nation.
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 movement. 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.
“We’ve got people here from all over Duplin County tonight,” said FCA sponsor and Fields of Faith organizer Joey Price. “Tonight it doesn’t matter what school or what field we come from. We are all here representing the same team — God’s team.”
Attended by over 400 people, this was the first Fields of Faith event for Wallace-Rose Hill. Many in Duplin County have already begun to express the desire for it to be an annual event.
“This was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. It’s so good to see the kids doing positive things like this and setting good examples for others,” explained Wallace-Rose Hill Principal M.D. Guthrie. “The participants were being role models to those in the audience. This experience is something that will carry over into school and life for these kids. There were folks there from all over the county. The more we have events like this the better we will be as a school, a community, a county and a nation.”
The national growth of Fields of Faith has been remarkable. Since the beginning of Fields of Faith in 2004, over half a million students have joined in the movement. In 2010 alone, more than 150,000 students gathered on 475 fields across 40 states 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 3,568 students make first-time faith commitments to follow Jesus Christ, 5,290 recommitted their life to Christ and 12,786 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. We are seeing entire communities changed because 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.
“I truly loved this event. We can never be afraid to give God all the glory! There are two things every child needs for success in life. They need to know God and they need a sound education,” explained Duplin County Schools’ Superintendent Austin Obasohan. “For me this was rewarding, refreshing, and uplifting to see that our next generation knows God. To be a believer one must have courage and must be willing to carry the cross. At ‘Fields of Faith’ we saw males, females, blacks, whites, Hispanics, scholars, athletes and people of all ages come together to represent one body. I commend the organizers, the students, and the pastors who allowed this event to serve as their Wednesday night worship. Duplin County is spirit-filled with the love of God. I thank Him for bringing my family and me here.”
More information about Fields of Faith is available at FieldsofFaith.com.