I originally had a youth function scheduled for this Saturday evening, but after a lot of back and forth I rescheduled it.
You don't have to think very hard to guess the reason. There's a football game being played that afternoon that a lot of people take to be a big deal. When I'd scheduled this thing, I hadn't realized that that was the same day.
It finally fully hit me this past Sunday, when I was told by one person that they'd at least be late because they wanted to watch the entire thing. Immediately I started questioning how many others would either be late or not come at all for the same reason. At first, I thought I'd just make do and plow through. But after a while I realized that after an afternoon and early evening of what can really be an involved, emotional event for people (especially in this silly state), would they truly be able to switch gears for what I had planned?
Plus I wanted to see the entire thing, too.
To a certain extent, I feel like I'm in the same category as all those churches that cancelled worship on Christmas day last year. I hadn't agreed with their decision because I thought that it was an act of bowing to the culture, of sending a message that church isn't as important.
I want my youth to be fully engaged and fully present in the experience. This Saturday would have presented some major hindrances to that. That was my main reason. It just wasn't good planning on my part.
So we'll try again right before Advent. College football will be on hiatus. No one is even thinking about the Super Bowl or even Christmas traditions at that point.
In one sense, maybe this does send a message that this stupid game is more important, or that it's okay to see it that way.
The message that I hope it sends is: "Okay, you enjoy the game today and in a few weeks we'll fully engage in fellowship and worship without any distractions. I want you to get something out of this that helps your walk with Jesus and your lives as children of God and as disciples. We won't have to worry about coming late and we won't even be more interested in trash-talking. As your church we hope for your undivided attention and we want to give you the same."
That's what I hope. It really is.