October 2008 Lorie Johnson
Nate Lewis, FCA area representative for Western Nebraska, was riding in a school bus full of high school students headed to an FCA event last year when he glanced back to see what the kids were up to.
As his eyes scanned the seats filled with laughing, talking teenagers, one stood out. “He was sitting there on the bus, reading his Bible with his FCA Bible reading plan in his lap,” Lewis said. “I didn’t say a word. I just shook my head and praised the Lord for the work He does in lives.”
Lewis had given out the FCA Bible reading plan at his area’s 2007 Fields of Faith event. He watched with joy as the teenager, under his own motivation, read God’s Word—exactly the action Fields of Faith was created to inspire.
Now entering its fifth year, Fields of Faith is an annual event held on athletic fields across the country event October. While not an FCA-specific event, it was started by Oklahoma FCA’s Jeff Martin, who was inspired by the story of teenage King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34, who inspired his nation to read God’s Word.
A minister for almost two decades, Martin had been frustrated by America’s moral decline and steady drift away from the Lord. He was discouraged that Christians seemed to always be on defense, never on offense.
During his morning quiet time one day, he read the story of Josiah, and the Lord began to speak to him. The Lord showed him how Josiah, too, had lived in a country that had wandered far from the truth of God’s Word. And then He showed Martin what Josiah had done about it.
“Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the LORD with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the LORD. The king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD—to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book.
“Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.”*
Based on the teenage king’s example, Martin was inspired to begin the first Fields of Faith event. The purpose was to bring influential teenagers in front of crowds and allow them to challenge the listeners to read God’s Word. According to Martin, that would take the Christians from defense to offense, with the Word of God—the “sword,” as it is called in Ephesians—being their weapon.
If you would like more information about Fields of Faith, including how to host an event of your own or where to find an event in your area, visit fieldsoffaith.com!
Nate Lewis heard about Fields of Faith in 2006 and immediately loved the idea. He worked with local churches from around the community and held his first event at Scottsbluff High School in Scottsbluff, Neb.
Last year, they hosted the event again; this time, kids came from more than 100 miles away to attend. Youth pastors from all denominations in the community worked together to host, and Lewis challenged the kids to get serious about reading God’s Word. Included with that challenge was Lewis’ decision to distribute FCA’s Bible reading plan, which the students could use for the rest of the school year.
“The beauty of this event is how simple it is,” he said. “It is all about God and the truth of His Word. For that to take place in an athletic arena is a special thing.”
Lisa Dillingham, FCA Huddle Coach in Gordonsville, Tenn., agrees. The students in her Huddle had inspired her to help host a Fields of Faith event after they heard about it at an FCA Leadership Camp.
“It was awesome,” she said. “They were so excited about it and really wanted [the band] December Radio to come. My daughter, Kelsey, e-mailed them, and they responded the next week and said they would love to come.”
Kelsey and the rest of the FCA leadership team were elated.
“Then we realized we didn’t have any money,” Dillingham chuckled. “But we ended up sending letters out to churches and raised $5,000 in donations. We are in a very small community, so being able to raise that kind of money was amazing.”
Gordonsville, located 60 miles east of Nashville on Interstate 40, may be small, but God had big plans for its Fields of Faith event.
Just like in Nebraska, youth leaders from all over the community served together to host. The FCA Huddle worked hard raising money to print T-shirts and purchase FCA Bibles to give away.
“It was amazing,” Dillingham said. “We started by having planning meetings at night in my classroom at the school where I teach, and so many students kept coming that we had to move to a bigger room. We had a revival every night we had a meeting. Organizing it was a great time in itself!”
Dillingham’s high school has barely more than 450 students in seventh through 12th grades, yet more than 1,500 attended Fields of Faith. The altar call lasted an hour and almost 20 students surrendered their lives to Christ.
“Because of the weather, we ended up having it inside the gymnasium instead of on the football field,” she said. “But it was still awesome. The entire night the gym floor was covered with kids with their arms raised, worshipping the Lord. They never sat down. And the bleachers were filled with adults from the community who came to support it.”
Last year, Dillingham’s Huddle hosted the event again, and they will this year, too.
“Fields of Faith is great for our school, for our FCA group and for our community,” she said. “This is what FCA is about: the Body of Christ working together to reach young people for Christ.”
--For more stories about faith and sport, visit www.sharingthevictory.com, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. To subscribe to STV, click here.
*2 Chronicles 34:29-32 (NIV)
Photos courtesy Lisa Dillingham and FCA staff.