It is Super Bowl Week. I just read an article about what people would give up to watch the Super Bowl. Here’s an excerpt:
“What exactly would you be willing to miss to be able to attend the big game if your favorite team was playing? According to a couponcabin.com survey, 23% said they were willing to give up a vacation in order to watch the game in person. The survey showed that participants were also willing to miss major life events. 20% would skip seeing a close friend get married and 15% say they would miss the birth of their child.”
Now that’s commitment! Meanwhile most people, in the Western world, will give up very little to follow and obey Jesus. So, what can the church learn from the Super Bowl?
1) If it is okay to sacrifice, celebrate, and be passionately consumed by a desire to watch a game of football, then surely it is important to sacrifice, celebrate, and be passionately consumed, in order to follow and obey the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. What exactly would you be willing to miss to obey a prompting from the Holy Spirit?
2) If advertisers can give their best shot (purchasing many millions of dollars on Superbowl commercials) to persuade people to spend their money on meaningless stuff and hyped-up services, surely we believers (who are the church) can give it our very best shot to persuade people to actively follow and obey Jesus.
3) People are looking for something that excites them, something that is not prearranged to the point of boredom. When you watch the Super Bowl you can feel the excitement in the air — you don’t know what is going to happen, so you are on the edge of your seat ready to jump up and give a demonstrative shout-out.
However, when you go to church, you already know the routine. You (at least many people) are nodding off, watching the time, and thinking about what you are going to do when it is finally over.
So is church boring and the Super Bowl exciting? Unfortunately, at least in many cases, you have to admit that is true. However, if you look at the First Century church as portrayed in the New Testament Book of Acts, you will see a different kind of church — a church filled with passion, power, and excitement.
4) The Super Bowl honors its past traditions, but it keeps them fresh and exciting. The Super Bowl doesn’t let its tradition get routine. Rather than merely looking back to past Super Bowl games and trying to program the present game conform to the past Super Bowls, it allows the present game to freely flow and develop on its own.
Meanwhile the church is too often trapped in the trappings of the past, unable and/or unwilling to allow its meetings to freely flow and develop. And, nowadays, lots of people are showing their weariness of ruthless repetition by leaving the traditional church.
The Super Bowl demonstrates that millions of people are looking for something to passionately follow. The church has so much more to offer than a football game does. So why should we, the church, remain willing to settle for little or no influence in the day to day life of our society? Shouldn’t we follow the example of the Super Bowl and find a way, like the First Century Church did, to “turn the world upside down”?