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Would You Cancel Services for a Football Game?

I’m continuing this series on “What Kind of Church Would…” to let you know about some of the decisions we’ve made recently as a result of our 2016 Vision. Yesterday, I told you we recently decided to begin meeting in a casino as we prepare to launch a new campus. Today, it’s all about football.

For years, we have had a dilemma during football season. You see, our Granger campus is 4.9 miles from Notre Dame University where the Fighting Irish play football. And many Saturdays, these games happen at the same time as one or both of our Saturday services. And each fall, we continue to pretend that nothing is happening as we hold services and have about 3 empty chairs for every occupied chair.

It’s not that everyone in town is at the game (the stadium only holds 80,000), but those who aren’t are home watching the game, and those who hate Notre Dame are home watching Michigan or Purdue or Ohio State.

We live in South Bend, and this town lives and breathes football. Why? Because there isn’t much else to do.

So, when in Rome, do as the Romans, right? This year, we decided we will work with the system instead of against it. We will no longer pretend that a football game isn’t happening. Instead, we will encourage people to attend. Here is how we are doing it:

We are launching a series on September 8th called Play Like a Champion. That is one of the most well-known motivational phrases in football, and it has a long history at Notre Dame. We will be playing off this phrase, using a sports-related theme, but focusing it toward the discipline and work of the spiritual life. The series will culminate with an opportunity for people to cross the line of faith and even be baptized in the services on the final weekend.

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Tim Stevens served as the executive pastor of Granger Community Church in Granger, IN, for twenty years before joining Vanderbloemen Search Group as the Director of the Executive Search Consultant Team where he helps churches and ministries around the world find their key staff. Tim has a passion for the local church and equipping leaders with practical advice and tools about church staffing and church leadership. He has co-authored three books with Tony Morgan, including Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Volunteers, and Simply Strategic Growth, and authored three books of his own, including Fairness Is Overrated: And 51 Other Leadership Principles To Revolutionize Your Workplace. Connect with Tim at LeadingSmart.com.