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Preparing the fields

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Johnson, Calling Glory to lead 2013 Fields of Faith

By Chris Cannon

Preparing the field

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ccannon@lafollettepress.comJACKSBORO—“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” — John 4:35.

The fields are ready, and the leaders of Fellowship of Christian Athletes are preparing for the 2013 edition of Fields of Faith.

This year’s event will take place inside L. Hope Dossett Stadium on Oct. 9. The service will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Last year, more than 1,500 people joined in the non-denominational event, as FCA is hoping to gain even more this year.

“We whole heartedly knew to prepare for 1,000 people [last year],” Brian Miracle, who is the advisor for FCA, said. “In 2011 at Jacksboro Middle School, we had 800-plus. Last year, we had 1,500-plus. If we continue that trend and double, we could have as many as 3,000 there. We’re expecting at least 2,000-2,500. That’s kind of what I expect.”

FCA is happy to announce this year’s lineup for the event.

Calling Glory, the singers for the 2011 Fields of Faith, will return this year.

“I was half-heartedly joking with them becoming on main-stream Christian radio on the air with the likes of Casting Crowns,” Miracle said. “Now, they are. We’re actually very fortunate to have them. They’re actually on Christian radio all over the nation.”

Inquoris “Inky” Johnson will be the speaker for the event.

Last year, Roger Woods, Chaplin for the University of Tennessee football program, spoke to the numerous members of the crowd.

This year, Johnson, who played football for the Volunteers, will speak about how God has changed his life.

“His message is strong,” Miracle said. “He almost died on the football field. He was minutes away from dying. He wasn’t mad at anybody. He wasn’t mad at God or throwing a pitty-party. He just took it and ran with it. That’s how we should look at our lives — when hard things come up, take them by the reins and handle it. He’s a true testament to that.”

Johnson was tackling a player during a Sept. 9, 2006 game.

He was hit on a play against Air Force, ultimately ending his career in football forever. His right arm is now immobile, after the injury left the vessels in his arm damaged.

“My injury happened, and for the first time in my life, I literally had to live out of the hand of God,” Johnson said. “Anything that I needed, I couldn’t get from another individual. My faith, it helped me tremendously through that situation.”

While to many lifelong athletes would have seen the injury as the end, Johnson soon found it was just the beginning.

He now travels to various schools, telling the people what God has done for him.

“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “At the time it happened, it seemed like it could be the worst thing that could have ever happened to me in my life. It’s turned out to be the best thing that’s happened, and I give glory to God for that. God has been moving in my life in some amazing ways, and you know, I’m thankful. I wouldn’t change the situation for anything in the world.”

Fields of Faith was started 10 years ago in a Texas high school.

For Miracle and the rest of FCA, it’s a chance to reach those members of the community that may see the stereotypical church service as something that’s not for them.

“The idea is the difference between having service in a church and having a service on a field,” Miracle said. “The service on the field and outside of church walls shows that there’s different avenues of reaching people. Fields of Faith is a perfect example of that — reaching people that may never come to church because they just know church from what they’re told.”

Last year, Miracle said more than 100 decisions were made for Christ.

In 2013, they’re hoping for the same impact.

“First and foremost, all glory goes to God for them putting on such a great event,” Johnson said. “It’s incredible to have that many people come out to hear about Christ. It’s amazing. It’s an incredible ordeal, and it’s just awesome. Anytime you can get people together to fellowship about Jesus Christ, that’s an amazing thing.”

Geared toward high school ages, the event hopes to help students who are stuck without decisions.

Johnson said that’s one of the most important things to do for today’s generations.

He said the constant warfare and identity crisis due to all of the different religions is more than some kids can handle.

“They have to have a solid foundation,” Johnson said. “If they don’t have a solid foundation, that’s where they’re going to go wrong. That’s where they’ll be stuck in the identity crisis. They won’t know who to turn to, and that’s where they can’t get a peace of mind from. God is the ultimate. If it wasn’t for God in my life right now, I don’t know where I would be. When I think back on my life, I came from extenuating circumstances. If I didn’t have a relationship with God, there’s not telling which way I would have turned.”

While the lineups have been set and the date has been picked, there’s still some things left to do, according to both men.

Facing the Giants has a quote that many people turn to, as Mr. Bridges talks to head coach Grant Taylor.

"Grant, I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain. And both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?...God will send the rain when He's ready. You need to prepare your field to receive it."