Jesus at the Super Bowl
Jesus at the Super Bowl
I'll be honest, I'm not a football fan. I didn't grow up watching it or playing it, I've never been to a game, and when I'm sitting at a sports bar I'm far more interested in geeking out over the fresh hops that went into my craft beer than I am in the tv. hanging above me. I've also never participated in Halloween; I've never trick or treated, dressed up as a super hero, or passed out candy. I think this has been a mistake, let me explain why...
Culture Comes To Us
There are two holidays that people come to us (the body of Christ): Christmas and Easter. This is so well known that we have a pet name for them - CEO's: Christmas and Easter only. I personally think we should take advantage of these two Americanized holidays and our CEO's. People are coming to us to hear the gospel, it's basically the only time they're straight up asking for it! In light of this, every church I've ever known takes great care to utilize this time, we engage with culture as culture engages with us, even going to such cheesy extremes as ugly Christmas sweater parties and gift exchanges at the church (this isn't a bad thing, I'm just saying you're cheesy ;)
We Can Go To Culture
So that brings me to my point (yes I have one). Why don't we do this same thing on Culture's holidays?
Let's list them out. The biggest non-religious American holidays of the year according to…well…me, include:
4th of July
and…I think we should include the Super Bowl.
Every year I seem to get invited to more Super Bowl parties than anything else and I'm not even a football fan!
If this doesn't prove that the Super Bowl is an American holiday then…well whatever, but I think it's a good point.
So if we are intentional about engaging culture when they volunteer to come to us (Christmas & Easter), should we not be equally as intentional about engaging culture when we have such an easy opportunity to go to them? In many of the stories we see of Jesus in the Gospels, we see Jesus going to people (in the 90's it was popular to say "meet them where they're at"). And what happens when He goes to them? He engages with them; in John 2 he goes to a wedding and turns water into wine, in Luke 19 Jesus has dinner with the infamous cheating tax collector, Zacchaeus, etc.
If Jesus were walking the earth in 2014 I think He'd go to the Super Bowl.
So How Do I Bring Jesus To The Super Bowl?
Whether you go to a Super Bowl party or throw one yourself, here's a few thoughts on how to do it for the glory of God.
Escape your Christian bubble.
It's so easy to build up a close circle of just Christian friends as you get deeper into your faith. I've noticed this as a growing problem in my life the past 5 years I've been in ministry and it's something I'm beginning to intentionally rectify. My Christian friends are important in more ways than I can count, but if I don't interact with anyone who's not a Christian then who in the world do I tell about Jesus?
So at this year's Super Bowl make sure to invite your non-Christian friends or go to their party.
Don't go all Pharisee.
Yes, Paul said to be in the world but not of the world, but pay attention to what the scripture says: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2). It doesn't say don't be around the world (i.e. avoiding anyone who's sinning), Paul says not to be conformed by the world and in turn that you should be transformed into Christlikeness, there's a big difference!
So when you're at the party, don't go all Pharisee on everyone when there's some excited four letter words used after an interception or your friend obviously has had too much to drink. Instead, give e'm a high five and make sure to drive them home.
Show Jesus, Don't Force Jesus.
Lastly, you don't need to bring your Bible to the game or hand out tracts during half time for people to know that you're a Christian. There's something obviously different about you when you show compassion, humility, and love for others. What did Christ say? You'll be known by your love (John 13), he didn't say you'll be known by your judging and holier-than-thouness (yeah I made up a word ;)
I hope this Super Bowl finds you eating good food, drinking good drinks, and loving the people God has brought into your life regardless of their "goodness" - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24).