I spent most of the afternoon watching football. TCU vs SFA (Go Frogs!) and then OU vs Tenn. As I watched these games, with the passion and energy of each, it prompted me to ponder…
What could football team the church?
- Passion is contagious – I am a huge TCU football fan. Last week I wasn’t able to watch the game, so I followed along on an online thread while flying home from a meeting. This week, I was able to watch it with a group of other Frog fans. The difference, last week I followed along, semi-interested, and not excited about the game. This week, I cheer, hollered, yelled at the refs, coached from the coach and was very, very excited about the game. Interestingly enough, last week’s game deserved my attention more than this week, but the people around me made the difference. I believe the same of church community. When the people around you have a positive, energetic attitude about the ministry, then others will to. And…. the opposite is also true.
- We love our teams – From the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive, to the way we dress our children…. we show our love for our teams in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. We give shouts out and waves across crowds to strangers over the college they are supporting on their t-shirt. There is a friendly competition atmosphere about our teams. I am a ferocious TCU fan but I would never say that someone from SMU was evil, I just don’t like them as a football competitor. That is a huge difference in attitude. Can you imagine a world where we walked around support our beliefs as passionately as we support our teams. We would share words of encouragement to strangers. We could have a friendly disagreement about the outcome of a discussion and still be friends afterwards. We could love our communities without devaluing the other communities.
- Community is not limited to place – Football transcends the stadium. All fans count, not just those who could travel to the time and place of the game. People who didn’t even go to school at a particular place can still be passionate fans. There is a general understanding that not all fans can be in the stadium at the same time, and some may never get to be in the stadium for a game. They are no-less fans. The church keeps talking about what the next generation of church will look like. What if it looked more like a football team’s fan base? Intrinsic community transcending place and connected by a passion for their belief.
So how do church leaders prompt these conversations…
- Start with a common language.
- Share your own excitement.
- Model civil discourse.
- Support your community outside of “official” church functions.
- Surround yourself with other who have a vision for the future of the church.
Cheer loud football fans, but make sure that your worshipful praise is just as loud.