SAN DIEGO, Calif. (BP)–For football fans, there’s no greater day than Super Bowl Sunday. For pastors, there’s no greater day in the pulpit than on Sunday. Fortunately, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes came up with a game plan that would allow pastors to present the gospel of Christ and football players to enjoy the big game — all from the church fellowship hall.
Thousands of churches across the country hosted Super Bowl parties, featuring food, fellowship and the big game packaged together for a time of evangelism.
The churches used the 2003 Power To Win Outreach, a ministry package created through a partnership with FCA, Athletes in Action, the American Bible Society, Sports Spectrum and LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Society places so much attention on sports that certain games attract everyone’s attention,” said Aeneas Williams of the St. Louis Rams. “And there’s so much emotion surrounding the game that people like to gather together and watch it on TV. The Super Bowl is one of those events. I was really honored to be a part of the outreach.”
Williams was one of several NFL players who shared testimonies during the Power To Win Football video. The idea is to watch the big game together in a party atmosphere and watch an evangelistic video presentation before kickoff or at halftime and to offer printed evangelistic materials.
Other players featured on the video included Darren Woodson of the Dallas Cowboys and Darrell Green of the Washington Redskins.
“This will be our ninth year of the program. Over that time, more than two million people have attended a Power To Win Outreach party, and 50,000 have indicated decisions for Christ,” said Michael Wozniak, a spokesman for the national event. “It’s been effective because, whether it’s in your church or home, it is easy to do. It allows you to share your love of Christ in a non-threatening environment. And God is working through the program.”
Many churches turned the event into a family friendly gathering where rival teams can have fun and fellowship.
David Hepburn, senior program administrator of sports programs at ABS, said, “It is clear that this successful low-cost outreach program has a significant return on ministry. As we seek to reach the soul of America, ABS is delighted to be part of a unique outreach that very clearly impacts people in a positive way.”
For the congregation of the First Southern Baptist Church of San Diego, the party was an opportunity to relax after a weekend of non-stop Super Bowl ministry.
“This is a chance for our folks to take a break,” said associate pastor Darrell Armstrong. “We invited our entire community to come to our block party and had nearly 350 people turn out.”
Live bands played a wide variety of musical styles, while football enthusiasts participated in a mini-football camp, all compliments of the church.
Even the local McDonalds got involved, providing the church with free McRib sandwiches to give away.
“We know that at least three people got saved,” Armstrong said. “We have really been encouraged by the support from the community.
“The way they are open to the gospel is exciting,” he added.
At the Super Bowl party, television sets were strategically placed for fans of the Oakland Raiders, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and those not committed to any team.
“We had two purposes for our event — the first to give our folks a break and second to again invite the community to come visit the church,” Armstrong said. “We want to communicate to this community that people matter at our church.”