Colin Wiseman, worship and media director at Cornerstone Christian Center in Avondale, Arizona, was one of the over 2,000 church leaders who took advantage of Football Sunday 2016, after partnering up with us last year for the inaugural Football Sunday. Colin shares Cornerstone’s 2016 experience:
“We first heard about Football Sunday through Open.church,” says Colin. [Open is a ministry branch of LifeChurch.tv, which offers free media resources to churches around the world.] “Having used many of their resources before, I was interested when I saw that this one was football-themed; I knew we have a lot of football fans at Cornerstone! When I watched last year’s video, I was immediately impressed and knew we wanted to use it at our church.”
Recognizing this resource as a key part of a potentially great outreach opportunity, Colin and the leaders of Cornerstone planned a Sunday event that would engage first-time visitors and life-long members alike. For weeks leading up to the day, they lit up the LED sign in the front of their church inviting the community to Football Sunday. In both 2015 and 2016, Cornerstone—a church of 600 regular attendees—experienced Football Sunday attendance on par with Easter or Christmas Eve service attendance.
“Last year,” Colin remembers, ”we had everyone come wearing their NFL jerseys. We set up a field goal on the stage and had people come up and try to kick it through for prizes. Everyone had a lot of fun with that. This year, we set up a ‘Quarterback Challenge;’ a running course through the aisles, ending at a backdrop on the stage for target-throwing. After our regular time of singing worship songs, we chose 10 people from each service to compete in the challenge and had prizes for the winners as well as an MVP award. The whole thing took about 10 minutes and added a lot of fun and energy to the service.”
Setting the tone for a day of worship, football, and fellowship, Cornerstone followed up the Quarterback Challenge with the Football Sunday video.
“The testimonies from the players were so powerful,” Colin affirms. “After the video was shown, we had at least 15 people come up and commit their lives to Christ—this was about the same, powerful result we experienced last year on Football Sunday.”
Colin and the rest of the leaders at Cornerstone are continually looking for creative ways to share the Gospel with their congregation and the community around them. For them, Football Sunday is now an annual event that they look forward to using both as an outreach tool to people to don’t attend church as well as a way to impact and encourage their regular members.
“It didn’t matter if someone had been in the church for 20 years or for 20 minutes. God spoke to each person in our church on Football Sunday,” Colin states. “The testimonies of these players were used to change the lives of many. A week later, we’re still hearing our people talk about it; everyone came away from the service so excited.”
The impact has continued to grow as word of Football Sunday spreads through social media. As football lovers and sports-agnostic people experience the power of the Gospel of Christ shared through the stories of athletes, their eternities are being changed.
“You see [these athletes] on TV and think, they have it made,” says Colin, “but to hear their stories, and see that they need Jesus just like everyone else, is really powerful.”
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” —Romans 1:16
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