EULESS—“If you follow Jesus and the Holy Spirit lives inside you, you are the church now,” Shane Pruitt, SBTC director of missions, told a crowd of 545 youth gathered Oct. 26 at the West Campus of First Baptist Euless for the 2016 Hurst-Euless-Bedford-area Fields of Faith event held in conjunction with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and area churches.
“You have a responsibility now…. You are a part of the kingdom of God now. Live it now,” Pruitt challenged an audience used to hearing that they are the “future” of the church.
The Field at First Euless was one of 466 held nationally throughout October. In Texas, 105 Fields were held, most on Oct. 12. The Euless Field was originally scheduled for the HEB school district’s Pennington stadium, but for financial and logistical reasons, was moved to The CITY, the student center at First Euless’s Campus West, said Kent Wells, First Euless student pastor.
FCA provided food for a tailgate party and First Euless and First Baptist Church of Hurst contributed support, Wells said. Area churches brought students.
Pruitt described the evening as one of “high energy” music, interactive games, worship and testimonies by student athletes. It was Pruitt’s second Field of Faith event this year.
First Euless has participated in Fields of Faith for the past six or seven years, Wells said, adding that this year, 20-25 of the more than 40 event counselors and volunteers came from his congregation. The event was part of a comprehensive strategy to reach students in their area. Many students walk from local Trinity High School to Wednesday afternoon and evening programs at The CITY. Wells serves as chaplain for Trinity’s football team, and church members volunteer in a school-sponsored mentoring program.
Due to the broad diversity at Trinity, Wells said, “You can literally touch 72 different countries.”
Local churches have begun following up with the 14 students who made professions of faith and dozens of rededications recorded at the Euless Fields of Faith.
The ninth annual Fields of Faith event held Oct. 12 at Gordon Wood Stadium in Brownwood, Texas, attracted a less diverse but larger crowd, as more than 3,000 students attended.
“In a city, students may have to travel in traffic, come long distances. It’s easier to run a Field of Faith in a rural community,” said Ricky Cavitt, youth pastor of Brownwood’s Coggin Avenue Baptist Church.
The Brownwood Field featured the band Firetown, and Marcus Wasson, a local pastor, spoke of the tragic drowning of his grandson. Kevin Kirkland of San Angelo’s PaulAnn Baptist Church was the main speaker. By the night’s conclusion, 684 students had indicated decisions for Christ with 93 rededications.
“It was beyond our expectations,” said Tony Daniel, FCA area director for Brownwood. Daniel attends Coggin Avenue BC and is grateful for their involvement and 85 other area congregations for bringing students and providing volunteers.
Of the 207 event volunteers, some 107 came from Coggin, Daniel said.
Cavitt echoed the importance of the church’s partnership with FCA. “Our role as a church is to make disciples. Fields of Faith is a target event that helps us carry out the Great Commission. We know the gospel is going to be shared.”
“We encourage our youth to be attenders and bring their friends. We spend time praying for the event. Our whole church gets behind it.”
Follow-up began the day after the Brownwood Field as 10 area youth pastors met to divide the names of students who had professed faith and begin the process of contacting them.
“We invite them to follow-up meetings to take the next steps,” Cavitt said “It’s a process.”
“We [must] make sure those decisions are reinforced and supported. If something happens later on, they may decide it was just an event. If we don’t get them in church, we don’t have that opportunity [to disciple them],” Daniel said, explaining the importance of local church involvement.
Daniel added that statistics for his region indicate that 80 percent of the students are unchurched.
“We’ve got a generation that doesn’t know what God has done for us. I think our young people are hungry for truth and for the Lord, and if we would take seriously the Great Commission, the fields are ripe for the harvest.”
For more information, see http://www.fieldsoffaith.com.