FORT MILL --
Fields of Faith treated members of the community and followers of the Christian faith to a moveable feast as Nation Ford High School students spearheaded a recent evening geared towards fostering goodwill and strengthening fellowship.
With a focus on faith and gratitude, the student-organized, student-led gathering Oct. 10 provided Fort Mill area students with the opportunity to come together and show support for one another and their religious beliefs.
While highlighting the teachings of Christ, students participated in prayer, listened to the personal testimonials of their peers, and celebrated their faith through a series of spirited religious-rock ballad performances from the band. And as the riffs and notes echoed loud enough to make the floorboards of the gymnasium wobble, about 100 audience members, mostly students, embraced the rhythm of the music and sang along with the words as they appeared on the projector screen.
Ben Drake, a junior at Fort Mill High School, who also played drums as a member of the band, discussed the key role that both he and his peers played in putting everything together.
“When we met during the summer to plan this year out, I volunteered to head up the Fields of Faith event for the club of FCA at our school. It’s our Christian-based club at Nation Ford and across the nation, and we meet once a week before school to have worship in small groups and that kind of thing,” he said.
About 30 students enrolled at Nation Ford High School are affiliated members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a national nonprofit organization that encourages Christian evangelism. With guidance from their CFA network, students assembled a leadership team and worked together to manage every aspect involved in sponsoring the event.
Fields of Faith is a non-denominational grassroots movement that originated in Oklahoma about 10 years ago after an athletic director opted for a new way to teach younger generations about the temptations and spiritual battles they might face in life. Since that time, it has grown rapidly to become a nationwide collaboration that is held at school athletic fields and gymnasiums all across the country.
“We live in a society …it gets rough sometimes, especially on the teenagers. There’s a lot of things in schools these days like the drugs and stuff, which have really put a damper on things,” Drake said. “We can come together with students from rival schools and have a time of celebration for what God can do for students.”
Acting emcee for the evening, 17-year-old Nancy Farag, said she was first introduced to Fields of Faith as a sixth grader. Now a senior at Nation Ford High School, Farag was selected to serve on the FCA leadership team to help plan and coordinate the event.
“My favorite part is the testimonials because so many things have happened in student’s lives that you get to hear,” she said. “Some of them have gone through some horrible things but to see how joyful they are because of Christ is such an encouragement.”
With microphone in hand, several students from the Fort Mill School District went before their peers and shared their personal testimonials of faith. They discussed the teachings of the Bible by quoting scripture, talked about their life struggles, and celebrated the gratitude they felt through their personal experiences with faith and God.
Following a segment of testimonials, students adjourned to one of several prayer groups that formed in tight-knit circles spread out across the gymnasium floor. Sitting in the front row of the bleachers was Angel Polito, who lives in Fort Mill and came out to show support for her daughter and son, both of whom attend Nation Ford High School.
“I like knowing that my kids have a fellowship with others who are like-minded,” Polito said.
“What the FCA did was connect them to other kids who share the same values and the same morals and they became a support group…because when you go out to school and out into the world or wherever you go, life is hard and sometimes people can be cruel. It gave them the opportunity to find someone that would encourage them to stay strong, stay true to their convictions and stay true to their beliefs.”