Fields of Faith: 150 students make decision for Christ

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. (BP) -- Thousands of middle school and high school students gathered at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsored event, Fields of Faith, for an evening of worship and revival.

By the end of the evening, ministry leaders reported, about 150 students from throughout Bradley County, Tenn., made professions of faith in Christ.

The annual event –- held Sept. 25 at Bradley County High School in Cleveland -- rotates through three different campuses in the county, as part of a nationwide opportunity for students to come together and challenge each other to share their faith with fellow students.

Jordan Easley, senior pastor of First Baptist Cleveland, preached a Gospel message centered on the issue of hopelessness and how true hope can be found in Christ.

Jeff Lovingood, associate pastor of First Baptist Cleveland, noted that students filled up the entire home side of the football stands.

The evening rally followed that morning's "See You at the Pole" event where students all across the country gather at their campus' flagpole to pray for their fellow students.

Students were encouraged to use the time of prayer at the flagpole as a way to invite friends to the rally, said Curt Duncan, high school pastor at First Baptist Cleveland.

"[See You at the Pole] was a great segue to promote 'Fields of Faith' that evening and equip and empower our students to get their friends to 'Fields of Faith' that night," Duncan said.

The event was a picture of how a community can come together around building up the next generation, Lovingood said.

"With so much pressure and a feeling of hopelessness, they [students] can find hope in Christ in a community event," Lovingood said. "It really impacted the whole community."

In Easley's message, he showed a grade card from his great grandfather's time in school with the letter grade "G," which meant he received the evaluation of "hopeless" in that particular subject.

Easley used the grade card to explain to students that although the pressure surrounding them may make them feel hopeless, they can ultimately find true hope in Jesus.

The event brought together student pastors from the entire Bradley County area, each filling a role for the rally, Duncan noted.

"It's a great time for all of our student ministries to come together under one night and one stadium," he said. "It's a great picture of unity for all of our student ministries to come together and all the student pastors to each have a role, to each have a lane, and then get to see God do His thing."

Students also held leadership and service roles during the event.

Tate O'Bryan, a sophomore at Cleveland High School who attends First Baptist Cleveland, noted it was encouraging to see his efforts to invite friends pay off at the rally.

"Fields of Faith is always such a fantastic night to me because the community comes together regardless of what church or school you go to," he said. "It's the only opportunity in my year where I get to see that kind of unity between everyone in Bradley County; that's always one of my favorite parts of the night, along with seeing so many give their lives to Christ.

"This year," O'Bryan said, "Fields of Faith truly showed me how far a simple invite can go, as I saw a lot of people I knew give their lives to Christ."

Tess Schoonhoven lives in Nashville, Tenn. and is a freelance writer focusing on religion and culture.

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