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Valley Journal Article

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport.

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Kids meet on an athletic field as it provides a neutral rallying point where communities can gather. The goal is for students to invite, pray for, share with and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ, according to www.fca.org. Polson’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes “huddle” and coaches joined with Glacier FCA and area youth pastors to put on Fields of Faith.

FCA uses huddle as a term for their membership, and Polson has about 40 kids in their huddle. They’re expanding with a middle school group, according to Mark Rochin, one of Polson’s FCA coaches. More than 250 students and parents from Polson, Whitefish, Ronan, St. Ignatius, Missoula and Kalispell gathered at the lighted Polson football field for the event, which began with a welcome and an opening prayer by Chris Moore, a youth pastor from Missoula, followed by PHS student Nathan Young summarizing the story of Josiah from 2 Chronicles 34, by saying, “God wants us to go out into the nation and lead.” Throughout the evening, Catalyst Youth Band, from the Assembly of God Church, Polson, played and sang.

Andy Manley, a Polson High School graduate and now a youth pastor in St. Ignatius, gave personal testimony. Manley said as a high-school student he was a “super fan,” a person who plays sports or talks about sports. He lived for sports in high school — football, basketball, and soccer. He was a defensive player in soccer, and then when he was junior in college Manley said he became a sweeper, whose job is to stop the offense from scoring goals. In a previous news article Manley was described as, “the selfless junior (who) focused on helping his team instead of winning personal awards.”

He took his job seriously; so seriously he was named a National Christian College Athletic Association second team All American in both 2011 and 2012, playing soccer for North Central University. One thing all these sports taught Manley is it’s easier to be a fan, to stand and watch, than “actually get up at 6:30 a.m. for two-a-days.”

But being a fan, in sports and in religion, just isn’t as much fun as participating, as actually knowing God, according to Manley. Also sharing testimony were Sarah Rausch, PHS, and Kalen Christiaens, Loyola High School. Rausch spoke about coming from a family of over achievers, both academically and athletically, and worrying about not measuring up to her siblings. She said God spoke to her and told her, “I never said to be perfect. You are my daughter in Christ, and I love you.” She urged other students to remember “God is constant. God is real. He’s what defines you, not what’s here (in this world.)” Christiaens’ challenge to other kids was to “Read your Bible. Make your faith your own.” The crowd gathered on the field and held hands for a closing prayer before kids met with student team leaders, who asked if anyone had issues they wanted to pray about and passed out devotionals. According to Rochin, the books challenge students to read the 21 chapters of the gospel of John in five days. - See more at: http://montanafca.org/#sthash.mG6KtaKD.dpuf