By Rich Brown
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Before the ink had dried on the Declaration of Independence, challenges facing America had already begun.
Every second Wednesday in October for the last eight years, high-school and college students throughout the nation have been coming together to face, as well as issue, challenges of their own -- Christian challenges.
In the Joplin area, members of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Missouri Southern State University, as well as McDonald County High School, will be the ones issuing these challenges to middle-school and high-school students.
The challenges will be presented through the annual FCA-sponsored Fields of Faith events on football fields at MSSU and Mac County. Students will gather from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Missouri Southern and 7 to 9 p.m. at MCHS, in Anderson.
“Fields of Faith is about students challenging students to read the word of God -- to accept Christ and to take a stand for their faith,” said Bev Goff, FCA sponsor at MCHS.
Kellen Cox, president of the MSSU chapter of FCA, said this will mark the fourth straight year FOF is being at MSSU.
Cox, a senior and starting quarterback on the Lions football team, calls the event extremely important.
“It allows students to see their peers and communicate their faith with them,” said Cox, a native of Mount Vernon.
He added that the impact of Fields of Faith is not only felt by making a difference in young people’s lives but also with the support it provides by bolstering FCA chapters.
He said that about 250 students turned out at MSSU last year, and he expects hundreds to attend next week’s rally.
The MSSU agenda will feature a talk by Lee Rouson, former NFL player with the New York Giants. The band Nothingelse, from Pryor, Okla., will lead the praise and worship portion of the event. After sharing testimonies, students will break into small discussion groups. MSSU’s Leggett & Platt field house will serve as the backup site in case of rain.
At the MCHS field, the Rev. Jered Jackson and members of his Christian outreach, Freedom Dream Center, will be featured. Jackson will be the main speaker, while others from the ministry will share God’s word through a painting presentation, as well as a skit.
Freedom Dream Center is a one-year, live-in substance abuse program. The faith-based structured environment offers addiction counseling, life skills training and the opportunity to complete the GED.
The praise and worship band at Anderson will be Sons of the Way, from Tulsa, Okla.
The Fields of Faith theme is “One Day É One Message É One Stand.” Athletic fields across the nation have been picked for FOF rallies to provide a neutral, interdenominational point for students to gather and challenge each other to apply the Bible as their game plan for life, according to the group’s website, www.fieldsoffaith.com.
The FCA-sponsored event began with 6,000 participants from three states in 2004 and has surpassed 125,000 people in 38 states since then.