Thousands of Students, Coaches Across US Join 20th 'Fields of Faith': 'Transformed by His Son'
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Thousands of athletes, coaches, and sports fans lined stadiums across the country Wednesday to take part in praying, reading God's Word, and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities.
Fields of Faith, a student-led evangelism outreach event sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), is now in its 20th year and the organization's leader expected this year to be one of the largest turnouts.
"Fields of Faith was created to spark a spiritual movement for God, to encourage students to stand together against the pressures and temptations in our world and be a generation that is committed to reading the Bible and applying it to their lives," FCA Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Jeff Martin said in a statement.
"One of the reasons this has continued for so long is that we haven't changed it," he added.
FCA's theme for 2023 is "Greater," based on John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease." FCA reminds Christian coaches and athletes that their identity and value is in Christ rather than their sport.
Martin helped start Fields of Faith after becoming frustrated with the "moral digression in our country."
"I couldn't help but think about my three kids who were about to become teenagers. Everywhere my wife and I went, we were, as parents, always on the defense against the culture and the media. And anyone who knows anything about sports knows that if you're always on defense, you're not going to win. At some point you have to go on offense," he told Sports Spectrum.
His dream to spread the Gospel among student-athletes became a reality and now more than one million people worldwide join together to worship, pray, and encourage each other through testimonies and the reading of the scriptures.
"Fields of Faith is one of the most amazing things I've ever been to," a student named Micah said on the group's website. "So many people were able to worship God, at our school, in front of everyone. This is a wonderful event all states and schools should try to start."
People who participated in the event at Tyler Legacy High School in Tyler, Texas talked about their "game plan for life."
"It's so awesome that if we just impact one person tonight, we've won," Charlie Sizemore, head tennis coach of the school told KETK-TV.
Altogether, 12 high schools in Tyler hosted a Fields of Faith event.
"It's continued to grow here in northeast Texas and to see the impact it has on students and adults in our communities is truly incredible," said The Northeast Area FCA Director Robert Bardin.
The movement started in 2002 in Oklahoma and has since spread nationwide.
"God is clearly raising up a young generation to see the world transformed by His Son, Jesus Christ," reads a statement from FCA. "Fields of Faith events give hope in a world in which students face many challenges, such as loneliness, depression, suicide, drugs, alcohol, and more."
The event's organizers believe an athletic field offers a neutral rallying point for a community of believers. On that turf and standing side by side, student-athletes invite, pray for, share with, and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ.
"Fields of Faith helps entire communities experience God's saving grace and gain the knowledge that lives can be transformed through Jesus while encouraging them to get into the habit of reading God's Word. It's a powerful event that God is using to reach local campuses and bring the next generation to Himself," FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson told CBN News last year.
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