I can see it now – sports-fans lined up with sodas, chips and dip in hand at grocery stores across Canada. E-vites have been sent, couches in living rooms have all been arranged to make room for folding chairs, extra tables, and the main attraction – the big screen TV.
What’s all the fuss about, you ask? It’s Super Bowl weekend!
To be clear – I am a major football fan (can you tell?!
As I’ve been counting down the days to the Big Game, it got me thinking – as football fans everywhere prepare for the Sunday game, I couldn’t help but wonder why society doesn’t eagerly count down the days until the “Lords day?” You know, Sunday.
I recently, spoke with Pastor RJ McEwan, who serves as pastor of theREACHcentre, located in Ottawa. Growing up, Pastor RJ McEwan was no stranger to the realm of sport. So, I asked him his thoughts on if the church can learn anything from Super Bowl Weekend, here’s what he had to say to me…
SN: What can the church learn from the phenomenon that is the Super Bowl, in spreading the gospel?
RJM: “What we can learn as a church is the that the Super Bowl meets a certain need desired from an audience. People watch the Super Bowl, not just because of the football – but because it meets an audience need. Advertisers know people enjoy the game, but they also tell viewers, here is what you need to enjoy the game. When it comes to the church, as a denomination – we have a high degree of people who say they are “Christian”, but how many of those Christians show up in an actual church on a Sunday? This speaks to a point of relevancy. We have church buildings etc., but how many churches are working to meet the actual needs of people? People love football, but Super Bowl is used as a platform to, in actuality, cater to and meet other existing needs in humanity
SN: The second biggest cultural stamp held on Sundays, besides church, is Sunday night football. What do you feel keeps fans plugged-in, as “disciplines” to the game, and what are the spiritual implications?
RJM: “The love for the game is what keeps people plugged in to football. Not long ago, the owner of the Ottawa Senators hinted to fans the possibility of moving the Senators to a different city. But he received a lot of backlash. What had happened, was people felt their dedication was wrongly interpreted, because they indeed did love the Senators.
What keeps people loyal to football, is at the grassroots level, people’s love for football. The question is, is the average person THAT passionate for God? Would we spend our money for the things of God? Do we know the scriptures, just as precisely as we know stats o the biggest stars in the game? We must ask ourselves, do we have a passion for God? That passion only comes through revived hearts for God!”
SN: One of the biggest draws of Super Bowl weekend are the commercials. Companies spend multi-million dollars on commercials ad space. People eagerly await
RJM: “The church does need to do a better job at marketing. A lot of people market, “Hey come to my church” Or, “meet me on Sunday.” But are we saying, “Hey if you are depressed, come and you’ll leave forever changed.” This is what you need. We need to market the gospel to people’s needs, in a way that is relational and cutting-edge. The church has come a long way in terms of its marketing appeal. But we need to ask ourselves, from a marketing point in sharing the gospel, “What is God saying about what you’re going through?” The world has been talking about #MeToo in recent weeks – we must ask ourselves, what does God have to say about that? We must market or share a message that says, God speaks to your current place of pain, and He brings with Himself a solution!”
SN: So, let me ask you this then, in this present day, what’s bigger? God or Football?
“At the end of the day – God is and will always be of utmost importance. But if I love football, in a way that it displaces God in my life, then football is bigger. We have to understand that it is possible to have a passion for something, but not make it your God! It depends who you ask this question to that will influence the answer. For me, God is always bigger, even with having a passion for sport. If you ask an agnostic or atheist who doesn’t believe in God, they might say God is bigger.”