Jan 312014 2 Responses

How a Baptist Picks a Seat at a Church Super Bowl Party

The greatest pastoral coup of the last 50 years has been convincing deacons that the Super Bowl could be used as an evangelistic event. Evangelistic football? It’s about as likely to succeed as evangelistic dating. (See: I Almost Died By Rear-Ending a Hearse)

For years, pastors died a little on the inside every Super Bowl Sunday as they were forced to hold services on Super Bowl Sunday night. Of course no one attended the services, but the congregation felt better knowing their pastor wasn’t a liberal who bowed to the God of football. It didn’t bother them that they sold their own souls to the culture as long as their obituary read they were members of a church who never changed its worship schedule for any reason.

My earliest Super Bowl memory was returning home from church with my grandparents to find out the 49ers had defeated the Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX. I’m still not sure which Super Bowl that was because I’ve never been able to read Roman numerals apart from knowing to laugh at Super Bowl XXX (but of course you never laugh about that at church because no one knows what that stands for).

In retrospect, I can’t understand why I was with my grandparents. Apparently my parents had skipped church with the rest of their Sunday school class. As they were doing the wave and saying “pass the chips” in front of a big screen, I was doing the head-bob during the hospital report at church. Religious grandparents equaled cheap babysitting, so while Joe Montana was breaking Super Bowl records, my parents were watching, and me and my grandparents were praying for their souls. (See: The Night that Ended My Football Career)

Thankfully, around the time I became a teenager, some pastor (probably from California) came up with the idea of a Super Bowl watch party. I’m still not sure how the inventor of this event kept a straight face when convincing a deacon board that they could use a football game to win people to Christ. I assume it was only possible because very few deacon boards have actually won someone to Christ.

With this invention, I was no longer tossed between my Jesus-loving grandparents and my football-partying parents. I too could watch the game while also feeling morally superior to non-Sunday night church goers like Methodists, Presbyterians, and 90% of my Baptist brethren.

The key to the church Super Bowl Watch Party was seat selection.

Never sit up front. It’s too awkward during the half-time invitation. Someone in that room must pretend to get saved before we could watch the second half. If you are up front, some might expect you to take one for the team and get saved again.

Never sit in the back. It’s too populated by the people against having a watch party in place of worship. They sit in the back so they can pray for the people who are having too good of a time at church.

Never sit too close to the food. Easy access to the food is tempting, but some of the sisters are too proud of their dish to let you watch the game.

The best seat for a church Super Bowl party is always next to the most godless staff member. At a church watch party, the game is shown on a big screen but the commercials and half-time show are switched off and replaced with pre-programmed church announcements or a half-time testimony.

To make this happen, one staff person had to be sacrificed to the carnal slaughter of culture. He had to run the switcher which means he had to watch the commercials and half-time show to know when the game resumed. The seat next to him was always the best seat in the house. You could get full credit for being at church on Sunday night while also partaking of the buffet and watching every commercial and the half-time show.

For most, watching the Super Bowl at church is a thing of the past. Over the last decade, the public party has given way to small groups watching the game in homes. So two decades after I thought my parents were carnal, it turns out they were just cutting edge.

Now if pastors can just figure out how to convince their deacon boards that we should cancel church on Memorial Day weekend for an evangelistic service at the Lake.

Happy Friday.

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