Thousands of high school athletes, their classmates, and the adults in their lives will gather tonight on football fields across the U.S. Their focus? The Bible.
Hundreds of thousands of young people are expected to participate in more than 500 student-led events across the country known as "Fields of Faith" kick off on Wednesday night (Editor's note: Some have already occurred and others are scheduled for later this month). It's a 14-year tradition of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes that features students gathering at their local athletic fields for Bible reading, prayer, and worship.
Jeff Martin, FCA's executive director of ministry advancement, says the key is that these events are student-driven.
"We see probably some of the most effective 'Fields of Faith' come as a result of students going back to their communities, to their schools and saying [they] would like to do this," he tells OneNewsNow. "And the adults, the communities, the churches – everyone rallies around that."
The FCA spokesman describes it as an incredible opportunity, especially for student athletes, "to be able to express their faith in front of their peers at their stadiums."
Martin says thousands of lives were changed eternally through Fields of Faith last fall as young people across the country were encouraged to engage the Bible and commit their lives to Christ. Even more lives are expected to be impacted this year.
Meanwhile, Fellowship of Christian Athletes reports it had another record summer for its popular and life-changing Camps program. For the third consecutive camps season, FCA experienced record-breaking impact with more than 113,000 coaches and athletes attending 780 FCA Camps around the world.
Martin finds it "just amazing to see what God is doing through FCA Camps, bringing these athletes and these coaches together to learn more about Christ, to grown in their faith, and many times to meet Jesus for the first time in an athletic environment."
Many of the participants, he adds, say they go to camp to get better at their sport – and while there, they meet Christ.
"And it changes their lives," Martin continues, "and as they go back to their teams, their sports, their families, their churches, their schools, their club teams, it's like a wave effect that goes right back into the culture of these athletes who are going to live that out beyond camp."
Martin says more than 9,400 coaches and athletes made first-time commitments to Christ, and nearly 11,000 recommitted their lives to Christ at camps in 45 states and 41 countries. More than 300 of the camps were held internationally.