Students 'on fire' Wednesday despite cooler temps
by Mark Andrews
Oct 20, 2011 | 2492 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kody Holder from Rockmart High School provided much of the music at the Fields of Faith event held at Cartersville High School Wednesday night. This was the third year for the student-led Christian outreach event in Cartersville that is held annually  across the the country. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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The Storm Shelter at Cartersville High School came alive Wednesday night as students from five local high schools and students from Rockmart High School professed their faith in Jesus Christ and provided open ears and advice for those seeking a new life.

Drew Startup, an assistant CHS baseball coach and Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor, said Fields of Faith is a nationwide campaign challenging young Christians to maintain their walk with Jesus Christ and to help others who seek the faith. Originally scheduled to be on the football field, cooler temperatures moved the event indoors.

"The goal of FCA is to give our young people a chance to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, and one thing that these young people are doing is they're taking responsibility for their peers who may not have that relationship. And they are living life as an example to them, they're sharing their life stories," Startup said. "One thing that FCA is doing is preparing these students to be bold in their walk with Jesus Christ."

He said this year the students themselves took the role of organizing Fields of Faith and promoting the event to their peers.

"There was a committee made up of people from all the different schools ... and we met once a month and decided all the decisions and the details and we all got shirts we wore [Wednesday] and Friday [Oct. 14], and we announced it every day and just sort of used word of mouth," said CHS senior Anslee Sims. "Everybody posted [Fields of Faith] on Twitter and Facebook [Wednesday]."

Startup explained the history of Fields of Faith in Bartow.

"Adairsville High School started [Fields of Faith] a few years ago and Cartersville wanted to start one as well, and so last year, one of the parents called me up and said they had been reading about the Fields of Faith event that summer," Startup said. "I had actually been reading about it too and praying about it and God just kind of laid it on our hearts that it was something we needed to do to challenge Christians to read their Bible and to pray daily and also to give others a chance to have a relationship with Jesus, so we started with a group of about eight to 10 students last year trying to come up with what we wanted to do, and that's really how it started for us."

Excel Christian Academy sophomore Denver Harris said a mission of Fields of Faith is to show an example of how many teens want to create a positive impact on their community.

"I think it's important people know this generation cares, this generation wants to make a change by coming to Fields of Faith along with the community," Harris said. "Hearing these testimonies of how kids would get as low as they could get but then God just brings them back and how on fire they are for God now, that's really what Fields of Faith is about -- rekindling that flame in this community so the generation before us will see we want to change this earth."

Eight students shared their testimony at the event, including Brett Gutkowski, a sophomore from Adairsville High School.

Gutkowski said at age 10 while living in Arizona, he lost his mother to breast cancer.

"It felt like the world was just coming down and that nothing else mattered," Gutkowski said. "I would constantly ask myself, 'Why? How can there be a God if I've got this stuff happening in my life?'"

He said his father was an alcoholic, rarely staying sober except for once every several months.

"On those days I was the happiest I had ever been because I thought, 'So this is what it's like to actually have a dad,'" Gutkowski said.

At the age of 12, he lost his father to liver cancer. Gutkowski said he and his brother then went to live with their aunt and uncle in Georgia and began attending church. He also began to pray, finding a new outlook on his situation.

"I started thinking, 'Maybe this is all happening for a reason, maybe God has put these things in my life for a reason,'" Gutkowski said to the crowd of students sitting on the floor of the gym as parents and faculty looked on from the stands. "... As you're going through trials right now, just ask God for his guiding spirit and just trust him that it's for the better. Trust him that he knows what he's doing."