A tongue and cheek proposal to revamp church evangelism to meet it's football competition.
|We have, in our city of Boise, Idaho, a phenomenon that has had our little town buzzing. It is the largest religious establishment in the city. Faithful congregants come on their Sabbath (usually Saturday) for Boise State football.|
As a team, they have had unmitigated success. It was last in 1998 that they had a losing season. A city of some 180,000 basically closes for a Boise state home game and some away games. Stores do poorly and church services can be cancelled.
I think our religious establishments in our fair state could take some pointers from this august organization. I admit; it helps to win. They are 78 and 2 for winning home games since 2001. In the process, they have added on and filled a stadium that ranks as one of the largest cities in Idaho (alright, it is only 35,000, but that is big for Idaho).
Churches here and across the country have been dwindling for generations. I list here a few modest proposals that might right this history of losing seasons. Perhaps we should have a fight song. We do have hymns, but they are not the same thing. I am not sure what that would sound like on a church organ organ.
There are things that happen at football games that don’t happen in churches. Our mascot, a beautiful horse is ridden on to the field. It certainly is an attention getter. I am not sure what it would do to the carpet. People yell. They get excited. They come four hours before the game to join in the hoopla and eat tasty game food. No one ever tailgates to a church service. During the game itself there is the infamous wave, especially if the game is a little boring. I think it would be a wonderful addition about halfway through most sermons. At least it would keep people awake.
We already have worship leaders. Do they need pom-poms and megaphones to set the tone? We think we can come to church and not be involved either at church or later. Are people invested in the latest game? It is all but what six people you might talk to will talk about. I am not suggesting we should have instant replays in church, but we’ve run our churches with such disinterest for generations in church and look where that has gotten us. Four hundred churches close every week. When is the last time a Division One football team folded? With even the modest increase we have had, we have only accommodated twenty-five percent of the population growth.
I admit that the proposals listed are a bit tongue in cheek, but there is a point to all of this. Christianity was never about doing church. Originally, it was called, “The Way” and people were excited about it. It changed everything. People were excited about prayer meetings. Now we can’t get them to come. The early church prayed. Why? It changes everything, even in a losing season.
University football teams change on a year-by-year basis, with the whole team different after four years. Our coaches have left the football program to go other places. They have been largely unsuccessful in their new endeavors. The thing that seems to remain the same is the fans. Fan is a shortened form of the word fanatic.
We, as a public, don’t want to be fanatics about anything. Our political leaders are often the lesser of two evils. You would not choose a spouse that way. You live excitement. You don’t just talk about it.
“Well, what can we do.” Pom-poms and acrobatic stunts are out. We are getting older. If we aren’t excited about what we are doing, we won’t be building any religious stadiums any time soon and will probably be closing them.
“Gimme Jesus. Gimme a new way of life,” were the rallying cries of the early church. Nothing really changes but the fans. I do like football and always will, but there is obviously something bigger.