In October, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) encouraged students across the nation to gather on school football fields to pray, read the Bible and "open up their life to Christ."
These spiritual events are called Fields of Faith, and as a result, over 120,000 people have either professed faith in Christ or recommitted their lives to Him as a result of these events, according to FCA Executive Director of Ministry Advancement Jeff Martin. Martin clarifies that this number is cumulative since Fields of Faith began in 2004.
Martin tells Charisma News that, so far, 477 fields have been reported on the Fields of Faith website and more events continue to happen. FCA usually waits until the end of November to tally the final number of fields.
Last year, more than 242,000 people participated in the Fields of Faith, and FCA expects the same turnout in 2019.
In fact, the main goal of these events, Martin says, is for the nation to experience a great spiritual awakening. But awakening starts with the individual. One parent got saved even though they weren't actually attending the event.
"A parent dropped off her child at the stadium and waited in the parking lot in her car with the windows down," he says. "She heard the student testimonies over the stadium loudspeaker. After the event, she stopped a pastor in the parking lot and gave her life to Christ.
"In many communities, Fields of Faith is the main or only event that is able to physically unite the community (church denominations, campus organizations, schools, businesses, parents, teams, etc.) around one cause. In a culture that is becoming more fragmented by the day, people are amazed when they walk into those stadiums and see something so abnormal. It gives communities hope and courage to live out their faith."
Some schools that hosted Fields of Faith saw tremendous impact. Texas Tech University had over 10,000 in attendance at its football stadium, according to Martin.
"We hope to unleash an army of true disciples who daily connect to God in His Word and prayer and obey Him no matter what," he says. "... In a world where bad news seems to be the norm, we're happy to share the great news that lives are being changed through Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Fields of Faith.
"From the student leaders who take on the responsibility to bring Fields of Faith to their communities to the skeptical or hurting teen who might be attending for the first time, we see time and again that Fields of Faith motivates, energizes, rejuvenates and unites. Jesus takes hold of lives right there on the athletic fields, and we are continually amazed at what He does each year in young people's lives."
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