Gath­er­ing In Fields Of Faith

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Humphrey

FARM­ING­TON — Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, a wor­ship band isn’t re­quired at a “Fields of Faith” event, yet there’s some­thing about live mu­sic that at­tracts teens.

Some events, such as the one held at Farm­ing­ton’s Allen Hol­land Field on Oct. 10, chose to use a band, which is OK with the Fel­low­ship of Chris­tian Ath­letes, which spon­sors “Fields of Faith.” The FCA em­pha­sizes “Fields of Faith” isn’t a concert, it’s a night where the word of God is read pub­licly and stu­dents are chal­lenged.

Ma­son Downs, a 2018 Farm­ing­ton grad­u­ate and for­mer Car­di­nal bas­ket­ball player, was on stage per­form­ing wor­ship songs as a vo­cal­ist and on guitar. The wor­ship leader told those gath­ered, “I just want you to know this is a time for you and God. If you want to raise a hand, raise a hand, if you want to dance around, dance around.”

Later the wor­ship leader spoke di­rectly to those who might carry heavy hearts or were feel­ing chal­lenged in their faith.

“If you’re in the shad­ows and you feel like you can’t make it, like you can’t see the light; God says, “No, child, for you are the light of the world. Here’s a can­dle, light it with my glory.”

The band, which in­cluded Isaac Guess, 13, play­ing elec­tric guitar and Isaac Tustin, 12, drum­mer, both of Farm­ing­ton, per­formed sev­eral wor­ship songs. At one point a younger teenage voice coura­geously be­gan com­ing over the mi­cro­phone sound­ing a tinge un­com­fort­able at first, yet gain­ing strength while he sang.

“Je­sus, Je­sus, you make the dark­ness trem­ble…”

The crowd bore wit­ness to a young man con­quer­ing any fears of per­form­ing live in front of a lot of peers as the voice grew in con­fi­dence as the song pro­gressed.

“Your name is light that the shad­ows can­not deny … Your name can­not be over­come.”

In­ter­act­ing with the au­di­ence the voice in­formed the band was go­ing to go back to the bridge of the song.

“Don’t worry about your neigh­bor, just sing along with me. Speak to God. Feel his pres­ence. He is here.”

Al­most as if on cue, at 7:23 p.m. the foot­ball lights came on.

Host­ing a “Fields of Faith” event re­quires a blend of youth and adult in­volve­ment. Many peo­ple serve the event, each with in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and func­tion in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties.

Stu­dent lead­ers, such as Farm­ing­ton sopho­more Alina Curry, who mas­quer­ades as Car­di­nal mas­cot “Lit­tle Cu­tie,” are re­cruited and ex­pected to be the driv­ing force in help­ing to bring Fields of Faith to an area.

The stu­dent lead­ers hang signs and posters inside their school, and cap­i­tal­ize upon peer-to-peer re­la­tion­ships as a stu­dent to get the word out. The stu­dent lead­ers pro­mote “Fields of Faith” by wear­ing of­fi­cial gear. A Stu­dent Tes­ti­mony Man­ual pro­vides guide­lines for pub­licly shar­ing faith.

Adult lead­ers work along­side stu­dent lead­ers and youth pas­tors to help bring Fields of Faith to an area. They help se­lect “Im­pact Stu­dents,” who speak at the event. Brian Dean, who teaches spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion and broad­cast jour­nal­ism at Farm­ing­ton High School, and Farm­ing­ton ath­letic trainer Melinda Rec­tor were among adult lead­ers work­ing with schools, churches, and busi­nesses to pro­mote the event.

Youth pas­tors play a key role in act­ing as the spir­i­tual barom­e­ter for the event and en­sure that the three key com­po­nents of “Fields of Faith” come to fruition. Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, the three key com­po­nents of “Fields of Faith” are to bring many peo­ple to­gether at one time, have stu­dents read scrip­ture and share per­sonal tes­ti­monies, and en­able stu­dents to chal­lenge fel­low stu­dents to read the Word of God and come to fol­low Je­sus Christ.

Each of those ob­jec­tives was ac­com­plished. Dean es­ti­mated those in at­ten­dance around 1,000 to pos­si­bly 1,100. Speak­ers fea­tured: for­mer Ra­zor­back and Cincin­nati Ben­gal of­fen­sive line­man Jonathan Luigs; for­mer Ra­zor­back and Seat­tle Sea­hawk de­fen­sive end Jeb Huckeba; plus Farm­ing­ton var­sity girls bas­ket­ball play­ers Alexis Roach and Makenna Van­zant. Huckeba gave an al­tar call and stu­dents scat­tered across Farm­ing­ton’s Allen Hol­land Field an­swered by form­ing cir­cles and join­ing hands in prayer.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion in the FCA “Fields of Faith” game plan, youth pas­tors are uniquely po­si­tioned within com­mu­ni­ties as an im­por­tant in­flu­ence. They know stu­dents, other youth group stu­dents, area churches, schools and a va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity con­tacts. By bring­ing a cross sec­tion of the com­mu­nity to­gether for “Fields of Faith,” re­gard­less of de­nom­i­na­tion, the

outreach is max­i­mized. The FCA be­lieves, “When churches in a com­mu­nity unite for a Fields of Faith rally, the po­ten­tial spir­i­tual im­pact is tremen­dous.”

The Farm­ing­ton event drew church buses from Stil­well, Okla.; Huntsville; Faith Covenant Church of Prairie Grove; First Baptist Church of West Fork; and Unity Covenant Church of West Fork, among oth­ers.

Since 1954 the FCA, head­quar­tered in Kansas City, Mo., has been chal­leng­ing coaches and ath­letes at all lev­els to use the pow­er­ful medium of athletics to im­pact the world for Je­sus Christ. Fields of Faith is a min­istry outreach of FCA. The FCA can be con­tacted by writ­ing: Fel­low­ship of Chris­tian Ath­letes, 8701 Leeds Road, Kansas City, MO 64129, or by call­ing 800-289-0909, or on­line at fca.org.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Ma­son Downs, a 2018 Farm­ing­ton grad­u­ate and for­mer Car­di­nal bas­ket­ball player, per­forms a wor­ship song do­ing both the vo­cal and play­ing guitar dur­ing Fields of Faith, spon­sored by the Fel­low­ship of Chris­tian Ath­letes at Farm­ing­ton’s Allen Hol­land Field on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 10.

Youth en­joyed an op­por­tu­nity to play on Farm­ing­ton’s foot­ball field dur­ing the Fel­low­ship of Chris­tian Ath­letes event called Fields of Faith held at Farm­ing­ton’s Allen Hol­land Field on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 10.

Isaac Guess, 13, who plays elec­tric guitar (left); and Isaac Tustin, 12, drum­mer; both of Farm­ing­ton, helped pro­vide mu­sic for Fields of Faith.

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