The NFL generates tremendous excitement and enthusiasm in America, while the church is mostly ignored. The NFL fills stadiums, while a great many churches have almost empty buildings. The NFL even gets people excited about their draft when they pick their players. What can the church learn from the National Football League?
* Coaches aren’t the center of attention in NFL games, players are. Coaches train and inspire the players to win games. However, churches tend to be centered on pastors. Perhaps pastors could learn from this. Instead of presenting a program and a talk on Sundays, perhaps they could train, inspire, and allow people to minister to one another during church services.
* The NFL gets people to care deeply and passionately about the outcome of essentially meaningless physical competitions. Meanwhile, the church frequently leaves people passive and/or apathetic about life’s most meaningful aspect, our relationship with God. (Maybe church should begin with a song boldly asking: “Are you ready for some worship?”)
* The National Football League turns grown men into emotional, expressive, and loud flameheads, cheeseheads, and terrible towel wavers. The church however, repels men, and if they do come, causes them to clam up and quietly slouch in the back pews. Perhaps the church should allow men to get themselves worked up and allow them to yell and cheer for God!
* NFL games are not predictable. When you attend you have no idea of what is going to happen on the field or what the final outcome will be. However, church is so programmed that nothing unusual is allowed to happen. Each week church is pretty much the same as last week. Yes, church desperately needs a kickoff returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery, a safety, or even a Hail Mary pass (or almost anything to disrupt the routine).
Paul of Tarsus (who I think might have liked NFL games) said that people will be “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Then he says, “from such turn away.” Clearly Paul wanted a church of power, passion, and excitement, not one of protocol and passivity.
Wouldn’t it be great if people expressed love and commitment to God as much as we Americans express enthusiasm and commitment to NFL teams? To learn more about how church can be as exciting as a Super Bowl, check out my new book Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia at this link.
To experience a church that generates deep excitement about God, visit The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center, 225 Berry Street, Nashville, 37207, Sundays at 10:45am.