Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are youth group Super Bowl parties worthwhile?

This was Sunday's "guys only" blanket... including 2 1/2 week old Levi!  The Vine video from our Super Bowl party is at the bottom of this post.

This is yet another post shared from my other blog.  I've had zero free minutes to work on those upcoming posts that focus exclusively our newborn baby Levi for this main blog.  Chalk that up to focusing on Kathy, Lena, and baby Levi in real life!

For readers who keep asking, the anticipated post with Levi's baby delivery story/photos should drop later next week, after Homecoming weekend at Warner Pacific College is behind us.  In the meantime, I'll continue to include baby Levi in every post and feature new baby pics each time I update "Garth's Blog!"


Until the Dallas Cowboys (remember this trip to Cowboys Stadium?) bring home another Super Bowl ring, I can't think of a happier ending to this pro football season than Sunday's E.P.I.C ministry Super Bowl party. A few students and graduates joined our house party to witness the world domination of the Seattle Seahawks, a.k.a. Super Bowl XLVIII.

Anyone still unaware that the Seahawks utterly defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 is probably blissfully ignorant of sports in general. More power to ya'll. I'm originally from Washington state, though, so I was pumped to cheer on the local team as they won their first ever Super Bowl title.

More important than the big game's outcome, however, is enjoying opportunities like this to spend time with our students. Save for saying a tough goodbye to a deeply loved graduate who is moving away, there were few spiritually earth shattering moments here. The on-screen gladiatorial combat occasionally took a back seat to our laughing, snacking, gaming on the Playstation 3, and playing with Lena and our 2 1/2 week old Levi.

Some youth pastors in the blogosphere have been skeptical that Super Bowl parties can have any value in a Christ centered student ministry. Objections range from the lack of ministry intentionality to the potential of sexual objectification in the commercials and half time show.

My evolving perspective on nonessential, fun events such as Super Bowl parties is this: Why not?

  1. Can't we honestly discuss those cultural excesses that will be seen by students anyway, instead of pretending they don't exist? The ability to view culture through the lens of Scripture is a hallmark of spiritual maturity, and it may not happen without being taught. Not to mention, a DVR tape delay does wonders for dodging future wardrobe malfunctions-- I'll never forget my own relief (and disbelief) the year when EVERY SINGLE ONE of my high school guys somehow managed to miss Janet Jackson's infamous Super Bowl slip on live TV.  I'm not gonna lie... they were unhappy campers.
  2. Does setting aside time for "just for fun" life moments like sports, capture-the-flag nights, and backpacking trips detract from the more intentional ministry opportunities that we as ministers plan? Granted, time with our young people is precious and shouldn't be wasted. But is wasting time a total waste? One person's perceived "wasted time" may be received by another person as an affirmation of love, acceptance, and validated self worth.

So, are Super Bowl parties worth it?  I can't answer that question for you. While we don't plan on canceling our annual Super Bowl parties any time soon, there are certainly more efficient, effective, and purposeful events that should deserve priority on our ministry calendars.

But if a dedicated Dallas Cowboys fan like myself can take a day off to unabashedly cheer for his second favorite NFL team during their Super Bowl spotlight... then perhaps there's room on our ministry calendars to also have fun with the less essential stuff.

Related:  William Lane Craig: God Hears Your Super Bowl Prayers (from Christianity Today)

Here are a couple of extras from our Super Bowl party:

Lena, Levi, and cornerback Richard Sherman (remember this?) are dumbfounded by the Seahawks' staggering lead.

My latest Vine video on Twitter: Go Seahawks!!
Unclick the "mute" button above for the obnoxious audio.track.

Garth's Blog will return in a few days.

No comments: