Youth ministry and the Super Bowl

Every year, 100 million Americans gather around the TV to watch two NFL teams go head-to-head in an always exciting and brilliant display of football acumen…Ok, maybe the game isn’t that great, but at least the commercials are usually entertaining. Anyways, planning a party for the Super Bowl is a great opportunity to have a fun event that can also be impactful.

So what all goes into planning a super party? For starters,you need to pick a place to have it. If it is in your church building, you need to be aware of some legal ramifications. Unless they’ve been changed in the past year or two, its illegal to show the game on TVs or projectors over 55 inches in a public place. Also, you can’t show the game on more than 4 tvs. You also can’t charge for admission, including for food. You can flaunt the law and its doubtful the NFL would pursue you (though they might) but it wouldn’t be too cool to be talking about integrity while flaunting the law. A recommendation – have it in a home/homes.  When you do that, it suddenly changes the legal dynamic. This also is a more personal experience, rather than have it in a huge church building.

Once you figure out where you’re having it, you need the basic supplies. Food is a necessity. The best thing to do is have your students each bring some sort of treat. Next, you’ll need some sort of TV setup. Have several TVs showing the game if you can. That way, you can spread out a little bit. If you can, set up DVRs to have a 10 minute delay or so. Why? So that you can fast-forward through the bud-light and Go-Daddy commercials, among others. If not, just be sure to have a remote handy for quick muting/darkout. If you want, you can deck out the building in football related decorations. I’ve heard some people go all out, to the point of putting in mini-bleachers in for watching. Be creative!

You also need to consider those who don’t care for football. In my experience, that’s been the surprising majority each time I’ve had such a party. For them, provide stuff like board games and video games. You might even dedicate a TV to something other than the game. Have some room just for hanging out or discussion. What you’ll likely see is that you’ll have a handful of dedicated football fans watching the game, while most of your kids will wander in and out.

The Big Game is a big time opportunity to reach out to others. To make the most of that, you should plan a 5 or 10 minute devotion for half time. You’ll have a receptive audience, and its likely no one will complain about missing the halftime show. Or if you’re looking for something beyond you getting up and talking, there are a number of Christian organizations that make videos especially for showing at church halftime parties. If you don’t want to shell out lots of money for those videos, you can find the testimonies of prominent Christian football players like Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, and Jon Kitna on places like YouTube. Whatever you do, don’t pass up this opportunity to share the gospel!

You can also spice up the evening to make it more enjoyable. There are tons of quizzes and games you can find online to play with your group. Offer prizes for these games to make them more interesting. You can also have a “Make Your Own Commercial” game. Divide your group into smaller groups and give them a camera and a product to make a 30 second commercial with. Show them at halftime and award the best team a prize. Play a “Flick Football” tournament where you fold a paper into a triangle and flick it to score. Whatever you do, come up with some interesting things to make the night more enjoyable (because the game is usually a dud).

Its more than a game, it’s a cultural phenomenon. You might as well make use of the excitement and buzz surrounding it and use it for a ministry focus. I have always found this to be one of our best outreach events. Its much easier for students to invite friends to a SB party than to a “church event.” What are some things you do for the big game? 


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