Over the past several years more and more churches in America are canceling services on Super Bowl Sunday. Yes, there’s no verse in the Bible that says you have to go to church at 9am and 11am or else… but could there be some dangers in this growing trend? Even if churches have the best of intentions, could they be sending the wrong message?
One writer says, “The Super Bowl unites everyone! Even churches are closing their doors because nobody shows up!”
A famous pastor announced, “A church should meet together, however there are not any verses mandating a biblical time for worship. Our job as a church is not to try to make a POINT by competing with culture, but rather to make a difference, by leveraging what is going on in culture to reach as many people as possible.”
One church cancelled it’s full services to watch the game online and promoted a “mini-service” during half-time. Another church ditched services altogether to throw a block party and cook hotdogs. Even another well known pastor presented a sermon called, “30 second theology” based on life lessons found in Super Bowl commercials…Let’s hope they skipped over a few.
If the argument, “We don’t compete with culture” stands as valid reasoning to let the cultural “tail” wag the “church-dog,” why not cancel services for the World Series, US Open, Daytona 500 or Taylor Swift? Then the church can throw parties and call it evangelism. How big does an event need to be for it to be considered “culturally competitive?”
It’s no wonder American neo-evangelicalism is largely questioned by Christians in other countries. Funny thing, by and large, Christians in Asia consider America their largest mission field! Other nations cancel church for things like burnt down churches, tsunamis, and terrorist attacks (if that). We think not owning a house or two cars is “suffering for Jesus” and may call posts like this one “legalism”. What’s wrong with this picture?
The Christian Pundit writes, “Do Christians in other nations, say, South Korea, Norway, Germany, Ethiopia or Peru, cancel church services on Super Bowl Sunday? If it’s just an American phenomenon, American Christians might want to think this over.”
People shouldn’t be worried about what day of the week the church worships as much as they should be concerned about leaders who crumble under peer-pressure. Do you recall in Luke 23:23-24 when Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, but the roar of the crowd and fear of man overtook him? Do you recall when Paul called out Peter for acting like a hypocrite just because some other guys showed up to a meal? (Galatians 2:11-13). As Christians, we are called not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2) and that doesn’t mean we can’t watch football, and it doesn’t mean we’re hell bound if we skip church to see a game. What it does mean is that we ought to tread carefully when changing our tune to tickle the fancy of a crowd.
Any successful coach, parent, or leader knows that people don’t improve without a set of values, a commitment to higher principles, and consistency from their leadership. If little Timmy doesn’t feel like eating his vegetables do we change the entire meal? If Ted in accounting feels like finger painting instead of number-crunching do we change his job description? No! Good leadership remains consistent even in the face of opposition, indifference, or immaturity. Or in the church’s case – less people.
There isn’t one true Christian who will approach their pastor and say, “We are so glad you canceled church services on Super Bowl Sunday so we could sleep in, eat chips, and party.” True Christians will approach godly leaders who remained steady and dependable and say, “Thank you for being consistent all these years, even when I wasn’t. I learned from your example, and I am better off today, because you led me by biblical principle.”
Ultimately, our Super Bowl choice is simply a reflection of our spiritual condition. Are we going to bend and break because there’s a big party on the same day we worship our Lord? After all, it’s only one Sunday…
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15