The purpose of this post is not to say whether you should, or should not meet for Awana, or other church ministries on Super Bowl Sunday, but rather to have you think about the decisions that you make for evnets like this.
When we began a new church and decided to meet for Awana on Sunday evenings, we were faced with a decision of whether to have Awana, or to cancel all Sunday evening activities on Super Bowl Sunday. Our decision? We decided to hold activities on Super Bowl Sunday and see what response we received. We promoted it, I held a “Super Sundae” night with a “Super Bowl” and everything and guess who showed? Yep, only a few faithful workers and their children. The following year, we began to not hold evening activities on Super Bowl Sunday.
Some may say that we have given in to the culture and that the Super Bowl is an idol we have yielded to and worship that night. While that may be true for some, I would not generalize things with that statement. We encourage people to fellowship with other church members, or reach out and watch the game with neighbors. There are several good “half-time” studies that are available and this event can be used for God’s glory and often is in the testimonies of players in the game.
Many of the same thoughts are present for Halloween. Some dogmatically say that Christians should not participate. Others offer a “safe” Halloween alternative (some call that a Fall Harvest Party, Trunk or Treat, etc) and say it is outreach. So have we given in to the culture by holding events like that? Some would say yes, some would say no.
I would argue that by hosting Super Bowl parties in lieu of holding Awana or other church activities would be the same as hosting a Fall Harvest party.
This all goes back to where the heart is. Is it focused on Jesus, or focused on the activity? It does sadden me that several people who profess Christ would select a football game over attending Awana or another service, but then it is not only football that often pre-empts participation in church activities. This often trickles down to sports in general and other activities.
I’m not looking for a debate of “sports over Awana”, we need to remember that we do not know another’s heart and where they stand with God. Look at why you choose to do the things you do. Do you attend Awana because it makes you look good and spiritual and you can “look down” upon those who don’t, or are you doing it because that is where you know God wants you to be that night.
When I was in college, one of the college staff (a minister) stated that he would be in church Super Bowl Sunday even if he was flat on his back. Well, as it would happen, I was helping someone move the day before the Super Bowl and I pulled some muscles in my back so I was literally “flat on my back” trying to get my back better preparing for the week and I did not see any of the game. What do you think that minister thought I was doing?
So we cannot know the heart of others, we can only know where our heart stands with God and be focused on our doing what is pleasing to Him. As we walk in the will of God for our lives, people will be drawn to Him.