What The Church Can Learn From The NFL

WORDS FROM W.W. May 3, 2011

If you are the typical American you get sick of it!
If you are the typical American you also watch it!
I’m not talking about the number that appears when you step on a scale. I’m talking about professional football, most notably, the NFL.
And if you are a typical American you know that I’m talking about the impasse’…the locked horns…the greed of the owners and the players that just seems to go on and on and on. It was perplexing to have the annual NFL college draft this past week with the “elephant in the room” that there might not be a season, or a team, for these newly-chosen players to even put shoulder pads on for.
People get tired of hearing about it, so why am I writing about it? Because the church can learn a few things about the NFL’s situation.
Not that any church is going to come to a budget approval time where we’ll be hearing things like “We’re close to an agreement, but we’re still about 100 million apart.”
What the church can learn is that although the NFL is made up of a lot of good people, the two sides of the battle are talking as insiders. It’s all about revenue for the owners, and the player’s association getting their fair share of the profits. It’s about enormous amounts of money that none of us can even imagine. Prophetic Utterance: None of the NFL owners or players are going to showing up at Walmart at 4am the day after Thanksgiving in order to buy a cheap TV, or a new toaster oven! The box has become more important than what it holds.
The church can learn that rarely does something good come out of a situation where both sides are trying to get their own way. It’s a battle that becomes increasingly about “who is more entrenched and unmoveable?”
But perhaps the second, and more important, teachable point is that insiders forget that they mostly exist and function for the benefit of outsiders. Think about it! How many people come to a Denver Broncos game wearing a Broncos’ jersey? It’s not that they are putting shoulder pads on underneath the “#15 Tebow”, it’s that they want to be a part of the game, the experience, even though they can’t physically make the grade. The NFL has to admit that it often forgets about the fan base. If that weren’t true 400 people would have arrived at this year’s Super Bowl with tickets that actually had real seats. Instead they got apologies, vouchers, and pointed in the direction of places that had TV’s.
People want to be a part. People want to believe! How many people skip church on Sunday morning if the Broncos are playing an Eastern time zone team? More than I care to admit! How many pastors wish they could be there with them? Not many…since we now have DVR’s!
What goes on in the stadium is significantly linked to those outside the stadium?
The church could learn something from this. What are we exhausting ourselves over that has no direct or relevant significance to those we are seeking to reach and serve?
Are we sometimes seen as being out-of-touch with reality because we just don’t have the eyes to see any more?
A further extension of this second point is that there are also a number of people who are both inside and outside. With the NFL there are those people who are fans who also make part of their living by being concession workers, parking lot attendants, ushers, and on and on. A prolonged lockout will affect them greatly. These are the layer of people who will be at Walmart at 4am on Black Friday.
As a church we have people who are insiders and outsiders. They want to be a part, but sometimes they are sensing a lack of purpose in all the motion.
Perhaps the church can learn how long it takes to recover from selfishness and the tendency to believe that “It’s all about me!”

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2 Comments on “What The Church Can Learn From The NFL”

  1. Friar_Tuck Says:

    Good stuff. I think this should be one of those regional devotionals

    • wordsfromww Says:

      Thanks Clint! I appreciate your encouragement! Perhaps someday it might just make it to the region page.

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