What The Church And Soccer Could Learn From Each Other
If you are aware of culture at all, you know the FIFA World Cup is happening. It is the biggest sporting event in the world, with somewhere in the neighborhood of ONE BILLION viewers. (Yes, somewhere Dr. Evil utters an evil laugh.)
I have been aware of soccer for about forty years now. There was a soccer boom, of sorts, when Pele’ came to the United States. It has never captured my imagination, though I do want the American team to win. There has always been a bit of animosity between soccer enthusiasts and many of the rest of us. Compared to the rest of the world, soccer has nowhere near the popularity of other sports in the United States.
Sometimes the same attitudes that many have for soccer are directed toward the church. The question is, what can the church and soccer do better in their relationship to those who are ambivalent?
Soccer enthusiasts and we in the church should not cram our enthusiasm down other’s throats. We have been told that soccer was going to take over the United States for about as long as I can remember. I was told that it would eclipse all other sports in the 7o’s, 80’s, 90’s and now. Many have dug in their heels and resisted just to prove those who like soccer wrong.
We in the church do much the same thing. We cram our faith onto others much like the soccer lovers. We irritate with the way we go about telling others about our way of life.
What should soccer and the church do?
Each should take a different approach. Both should share their love in ways that will appeal to others. For example, if you’re a soccer fan, how about inviting a non-fan to watch a match with you? In my lifetime, no one has ever done that with me. So, as I write this, I sit here watching a game I do not understand simply for patriotic reasons.
We in the church should do this as well. Find loving and creative ways to invite people to be involved in church activities. Even better, just invite them to be around believers in non-churchy ways so that they can see that Christians are real people.
Are you a soccer enthusiast? How would you “evangelize” those who don’t like or get soccer? How do you do that in the church?