Last Friday, over 1,300 jr. high and high school students flooded Mariners’ Irvine campus for FCA Night of Champions! There was free In-N-Out, breakdancing, spoken word, spike ball, a graffiti artist, popcorn, a blow-up slide, pool, jousting, basketball, a red carpet, beach volleyball, and a DJ. But of course, that’s all just before the students got inside. Then there was music, candy, an athlete testimony, a FCA camp video, the electric slide, more spoken word, a camp coupon give-away, a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th athlete testimony, an award winner, a message from Barry Martinez, worship music, and a call to accept Christ.
It was a crazy, fun-filled, whirlwind of a night, with the focus always centered on drawing kids to Jesus. All the excitement that surrounds free burgers or watching FCA staff make fools of themselves leading line dancing, pales in comparison to the incredible glory of God as His spirit moves in the hearts of students discovering Him for the first time.
After the festivities had come to a close, chairs were stacked against the wall and students were trickling out the door, one of my students leaders came up to me to share the story of a life changed. He had been helping coach the freshman football team at his school and has been using his influence to invite his freshman guys to huddle, week after week. And at Night of Champions, this leader had the joy of witnessing one of his players stand up in front of 1,300 of his peers and welcome Jesus into his heart.
This freshman courageously declaring his commitment to Christ in a crowded room was just one of the hundreds of students who discovered Jesus that night. Whether it was a first-time decision or a rededication of life, student after student committed their hearts to Christ and left Night of Champions forever changed with their eternal destiny secured.