Last Saturday night three of my boys and I attended a Kansas City Chiefs football game at Arrowhead Stadium. I attended at least one game I can remember as a child, but the memories are a little blurry. This was my first pro game as an adult. Here a couple of thoughts on my experience and how they might have some application for the Church.
1. People Value Experiences. Many people are moving away from obtaining more stuff to having great experiences with their money. For me, and many others, this was a family experience. We could all attend together, see the sights, watch the game and have fun while building a memory that we will all keep a long time. This quest for a shared memory meant people arrived early and tried to add to the fun. Many took numerous pictures from all over the stadium.
This type of thinking is impacting the Church. Many Churches see the importance of their weekend experience in a desire to get people to encounter God in a life-changing way.
2. Money Means Different Things to Different People. A group of twenty-somethings next to us showed up halfway through the first quarter and left at the start of the fourth. They did not seem to care about the game while purchasing overpriced food and expensive beverages. If you add in parking their night was costly. On the other hand, I used a discount ticker, ate before and after the game away from the stadium and had my wife drop us off, so we did not have to pay for parking. The value of money to many people is very low. Dropping several hundred dollars on an experience they desire is nothing to them.
The Church is frequently resistant to asking for money. The problem is not in the asking; many people have the available resources. The issue is more about people seeing the need and the benefits of giving.
3. People Want to Have Fun. The single biggest driving factor in this quest appears to be alcohol. Anyone who has been to any sports arena will tell you that the alcohol flows all game. Personally, I do not entirely understand the thinking behind it, but numerous people believe they need something to help them drop their guard and have fun.
The Church must lovingly confront the use of alcohol. The Bible allows for people to drink, but when you need it to have fun, a drastic change has happened. In the end, I have seen far more destruction from consumption than fun.
4. People Have Lost Control of their Tongues. I heard the “F” word more at one game than I had in the last year. I sat and wondered how many of these people would call themselves Christian. I also questioned whether the word they were using has any meaning anymore.
The Church must continually confront what the culture says is acceptable. It also should push people to use their words for good and not for evil.
Overall, I had a good time with my boys on Saturday. Since I work all day Sunday, it was a rare treat to go to a game on Saturday night. I value my time making a memory, but I was reminded of the great need people have for Jesus.