Sunday Night Services Canceled, Moved So Members Can Watch Super Bowl Instead

footballA number of congregations nationwide decided to move or cancel their Sunday night services so that members can watch the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots during the Super Bowl instead.

The Public Religion Research Institute recently conducted a study that found that 18 percent of Americans are more likely to skip church on a Sunday to watch football, and that statistic is no greater than on Super Bowl Sunday. Therefore, to accommodate those who likely will choose football over church, a number of congregations nationwide decided to either cancel or move their services this weekend.

Mariners Church in Huntington Beach, Calif. canceled its Sunday night services and will instead throw neighborhood “house parties” for the game.

“On Super Bowl Sunday, there will NOT be a Sunday night service at 6 p.m. Instead, we will meet in houses all over the city to watch the BIG GAME!” it wrote on its website. “Let’s be in our community by throwing or attending a Super Bowl party!”

Calvary Church in Manheim Township, Pa. moved its 6 p.m. Bible study up one hour so that members could finish studying the Bible in time to watch the game.

“Some have said ‘You are accommodating the culture,’” leader Beau Eckert told reporters, adding that he doesn’t see anything wrong with the practice.  “We encourage people to get together and watch the game and enjoy the fellowship.”

Some congregations decided to show the Super Bowl right at their facility.

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First Spanish Assembly of God in Lancaster said that it will squeeze in its night service during the break.

“At halftime, we will have a little church service,” newly-appointed pastor Luis Figueroa explained.

Life Church in Tulsa, Okla., one of the largest churches in the nation with over 20 locations, held a Super Bowl themed service last night. According to reports, a giant inflatable Spartans helmet was placed outside of the entrance, and member Gannon Brown cooked hot dogs for attendees in an outdoor tent.

“The premise behind this all is that Super Bowl weekend is a huge weekend that attracts a lot of attention,” he told Tulsa World as he cooked approximately 1,200 hot dogs. “It’s a great way to invite people, to get people through the doors that maybe wouldn’t.”

Leader Craig Groeschel presented a message entitled “30 Second Theology,” which centered on life-lessons found in Super Bowl commercials.

Life Bridge Church in Taylor, Mich. held a “puppy bowl” this morning, bringing in 12 puppies from an area pet store to face off at the facility. According to the News-Herald, videos of testimonies from NFL stars were also played for attendees, who were welcomed to stay for food and snacks.

“Life Bridge Church has always been focused on demonstrating the caring and generous heart of our Christian beliefs in our community,” Grant Agler, the teaching pastor at Life Bridge Church, told the publication. “Our annual Super Bowl Sunday is just one of those many activities and events.”

But some state that that skipping church for the Super Bowl, or revolving the service around the game, actually presents a bad witness to the world.

“Do Christians in other nations, say, South Korea, Norway, Germany, Ethiopia or Peru, cancel church services on Super Bowl Sunday? If it’s just an American phenomenon, American Christians might want to think this over,” wrote blogger Christian Pundit last year. “Would it be okay if Europeans or Latin or South Americans, who tend to be very big soccer fans, called off church services for whatever big soccer games they have? Most American Christians would probably say no to that.”

“Is your allegiance to Jesus Christ or to the NFL?” he asked.

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  • Yvonne Celeste Lee

    Too bad we can`t get as excoted about the Lord as we do about football. American idol.

  • James Grimes

    The Super Bowl is so worldly. What are these “Christians” thinking of?

  • Fundisi

    Let us face facts, sports is a religion in this country, their stars are demigods and their stadiums are their cathedrals. If any Christian puts a football game before the Lord, then that is where their heart is and they have become spiritual whores, apostate and not worthy of the Lord. There is nothing wrong with sports, but when it replaces God in our hearts, where our hearts are there will be our souls also – is that where a Christian wants his soul, in the cathedrals of the sports arenas? It appears so!

  • Weary Warrior

    “Do Christians in other nations, say, South Korea, Norway, Germany, Ethiopia or Peru, cancel church services on Super Bowl Sunday? If it’s just an American phenomenon, …”

    What would Christians in other care about Super Bowl Sunday? Of COURSE this is an American phenomenon. That said, sports takes preeiminence in the lives of many religious people who THNK they are Christian.

  • Andrew

    Super bowl or not, just because an hour church service is missed doesn’t mean the Lord isn’t first in our lives. Plenty of “Christians” are very faithful to going to a church service but disobey the 2 greatest commandments on a daily basis. It’s very easy to be a Pharisee in this. Just as Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners, I wouldn’t doubt HE would be at one of these super bowl parties showing the love of HIS FATHER to anyone and everyone there. We need to be very careful the one hour church service isn’t our god and we are not afraid to go to the non believer to show the love of Christ and witness. I’ve personally seen this in action. My very good friend and brother in the Lord was witnessed to in this way. His god was football. As his walk with the Lord became stronger he was delivered from that addiction. He is a strong witness now to many. I bet he’s not even watching the super bowl today-

    • KenS

      Ironic, our service last night was how to be a soul winner! We discussed how we could use people’s gods in their lives to open a door to discuss the one True God.

  • Just sing God Bless America louder so you don’t have to think about it, and I’m “sure” that Christ, who had the flesh flogged off his back and was hanged from nails until he died for your sake will understand. After all, this country is special, right? So the normal rules don’t apply to us like they do to everyone else.

  • DeEtta Meirose Saunders

    Went to a church service tonight. I am not concerned about the Super Bowl. It is just another game and I am not interested. We need to get on fire for The Lord.

  • Frank

    I am very happy the church I attend didn’t accommodate the world’s god of football but instead we were able to hear a fabulously encouraging message from God and glorify Him with worship.

    • KenS

      Same here, we had a wonderful message last nite, then afterwards, some of the members went to a brother’s house and watched the game off of his DVR. I hear that they had a blast and were glad that they gave their time to God First!

  • Anton Viljoen

    Just got this verse on my phone this morning ….. can all share with me ?? 1John 2:15-16 ….. 🙂

  • Andrew Diamond

    This could easily turn into a very heated debate/argument. But I’d say that part of the perspective would be worshipping God. Is worship going to church every sunday or is it every day that you live, everything that you do. Yes, some people probably would choose watching a sport over God. But taking one evening service isn’t the end of the world. If it was to watch a christian movie or something there wouldn’t be a big deal, even though watching any movie isn’t a form of worship.

  • The Lone Ranger

    I would rather a man tell me he’s going to stay home and watch the game than to go to Church worrying about the game. I myself love football but no game on earth is worth missing Church .Why don’t they play the thing about 2:00 pm like they used too it’s just a game, Oh that’s right it’s the money it was better when it was a game now it’s about the money makes the game stink

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    This sounds idol worship. Big games fuel human trafficking and Christians should do something about it instead of canceling worship services.

  • HarryBallza

    As gladiatorial sports were the norm in ancient Rome, they are still the norm in modern Rome. As Joshua so eloquently stated so many millenia ago, “Choose you this day who you will serve, as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.

  • The definition of today’s lukewarm church…neither nor hot.

  • bwdenman

    They used to call religion the ‘opiate of the masses’. Today it’s sports. Nothing keeps these nominal Christians from worshipping their sports god. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

  • BrendtWayneWaters

    The question “Is your allegiance to Jesus Christ or to the NFL?” would be a laughable false dichotomy if it wasn’t also bordering on blasphemy by conflating Jesus with official services at a specific time.