To many sports fanatics across America, football is like a religion. We are dedicated believers in those we idolize, we dutifully watch every game even if we don't agree with the coach's plays and we laugh, cry and chant our cheers for the team we love. Unfortunately, NFL trumps church on Sundays for most of these fans. Most churches meet in the midst of prime football time and a lot of traditional church services don't appeal to people the way they used to.
Many churches are trying new approaches as congregation numbers decline. Today, it's possible to stay loyal to the Packers — or Bears — and not miss any games while incorporating your faith in God. We all know man cannot live on Sunday football alone. Now, the same concept applies to church — or its alternatives.
Video/Audio Sermons and Books
Many pastors today are putting out audio or video versions of their sermon series. These sets are handy for when looking for a certain message or guidance from a sermon. Ed Young, the well-known reverend of Fellowship Church in Texas, which is one of the most-attended churches in North America, even has a website that streams his discussions and teachings 24/7 called Ed Young TV.
He uses contemporary-relevant themes to relate to spiritual lessons. Several of his books and lectures have gained national recognition among religious and secular readers, including the New York Times best seller, "Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse." Many modern and creative pastors like Young are using these methods of teaching themes that apply to everyday life and not just church-goers.
A good way to get the whole team (i.e. your family) involved in the game (i.e. church) is hosting your own fellowship at the home field (i.e. your home). Work, school and weekend activities can get hectic for a family, and it's difficult to get everyone together. Set a weekly time that works for everyone to meet in the kitchen or living room to have your own church service. If you want a lesson plan to follow, buy a Bible self-study guide. If you don't want to follow a strict plan, just come together, take turn reading scripture or lessons and discuss anything that your family wants to bring to the table. You can play games, sing songs, or whatever makes it interesting and fun.
Bible Study Groups
Most churches offer Bible study groups and most are during the evening on weekdays. Do some research and find one that works with your schedule, obviously not during Monday or Thursday night games, and your needs. The great thing about concentrated study groups is their focus is usually on specific topics that apply to you. Classes are offered for high school and college kids, single young adults, married couples or seniors.
Most Sunday games don't start until 11 a.m., so why not check out an early service? You might be tempted to sleep in on Sunday morning, but most churches offer an earlier service that is more relaxed and not as crowded. There usually aren't as many children, so it's quieter and the pastor isn't tired from preaching the same sermon three times already. Plus, you can feed your spiritual need early in the day and still make it back in time for the game.
Remember that worship doesn't have to be scheduled. Whenever you want to pray, read the bible or a book, or listen to a spiritual lesson because any time is the right time. You can live your life, do what you love and still save some time for God. Even if it's a quick prayer for a field goal to send a game into overtime.