About 250,000 coaches, student-athletes and their friends have been coming together this fall for what they call “Fields of Faith.” Their goal is to show that God and sports make an awesome and powerful combo. It shows that at both public and private schools across America, there’s a thriving network of Christians, often meeting right on the same fields where they play sports.
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes – or FCA – has been a force helping about 2,000,000 coaches and students-athletes each year combine their love of sports with their desire to know God better. The biggest FCA events during the school year are Fields of Faith. On various evenings across October, some 500 athletic fields see kids, coaches, friends and family worship, pray, testify and share words from the Bible.
CBN News attended one such gathering in Loudoun County’s Ashburn, Virginia. Area director Matt Diener exclaimed, “On a public school field, we get to hear the Gospel presented. And that’s powerful.”
Athletes like Washington Redskins center Chase Roullier spoke to the crowd, and he compared a life with Jesus Christ to one without Him.
“Going out and partying and chasing things you shouldn’t be, you’re going to be very lonely,” he stated. “But if you have a relationship with God, you’re going to be very full. Your heart’s going to be full of Him. There are a lot of people who say they think they have it figured out, but they’re still searching. But those who have found Christ, they’re like ‘I’m not searching anymore. ‘I’ve found the truth. I’ve found the way to live. It’s found in His Word and it’s found in Him and it’s the Holy Spirit that’s leading and guiding my life.'”
Defensive safety Connor McCarthy spoke of a sports injury that would have crushed him had it happened before he came to trust in a God who’s always good. “He has a plan for everyone. If you trust His plan and really accept His grace and His love, things in life will just start turning around,” the Briar Woods High School student shared. “And you’ll start viewing the hardships as opportunities to get better and closer to God. Having Him in the center of your life can really have a large effect on you.”
“I would not be as at peace as I am right now,” Roullier added. “I wouldn’t be down the right path, and it’s hard to say where that path would have gone. I just know that path that Jesus has brought me on and I’m very happy with where He’s bringing me.”
Asked why he sees working with coaches and student-athletes as a mission field, Matt Diener told CBN News, “Everybody loves sports. You know, it’s just in our culture. Why do we focus on coaches and athletes? Because they’re influencers in our society.”
What the Fellowship of Christian Athletes gives these students is an ability to not just love and care about the sports they play, but also their fellow athletes and students. It teaches them to act as leaders, but also to think like servants…of Jesus Christ.