Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How Football Depicts Church Life
...where the grid-iron sharpens the grid-iron


All three of my sons have played football and have done very well at the game. I always tell them before each game to, "Honor your coach; display good sportsmanship; and go out there and hit someone to the glory of God!" How I love this game!

So in the spirit of "football" - here are some tongue and cheek mentions of how this sport and life in the church really do intersect. I am sure you will all come up with a volume of your own entries as well. I can hardly wait to hear many of you opine.

I want to personally thank "littlegal" (who posts regularly on this blog) for sending me the initial list of entries from a site called Get Amused. She also contributed to this article by adding some of her own footballisms which are fantastsic. I couldn't resist; and began writing, editing, and expanding too. Great fun and very good stress-therapy :-).

I hope you enjoy this...

Benchwarmer: Show up on Sunday eleven o’clock sharp and leave twelve o’clock dull. They do not sing, pray, work, and apparently do nothing but take up pew space.

Sidelines: where lukewarm Christians always are.

Running back: one who is unafraid to meet the opponent head on by faithfully proclaiming the truth of God’s Word.

Linebacker: one who defends the faith against all attacks.

Back Judge: one who only criticizes and never gets in the game.

Nose tackle: method the pastor's wife uses to try and keep church gossip to a minimum.

Assistant coach: an associate pastor.

Stiff Arm: do not lay hands on anyone quickly.

Off-season: summer vacation when church attendance falls off.

Overtime: sermon continues past noon.

Coin toss: taking up an offering.

Pigskin: smoked ham at the church potluck dinner.

Punt: point in the sermon where due to lack of response from the congregation, the pastor veers off-course from his sermon in desperation to regain the attention of the people.

Punt return: congregation's response to pastor's punt.

Defensive holding: gripping the back of the pew in front of you when under conviction.

Delay of game: method special singers employ when their performance track is not cued to correct song.

Offensive guard: persons who are constantly looking for something to be offended by.

Quick count: estimate of Sunday attendance.

Dead ball: awkward silence during the sermon in which pastor is pausing for an amen, which he never receives.

Roster: official list of church members whether they are currently attending or not attending.

Excessive timeouts: crying babies interrupting the service numerous times.

Eligible receiver: a faithful servant of the Lord who can be trusted to do the work of the ministry.

Unnecessary roughness: where gossiping has become a spiritual gift.

Formation: with whom we gather with in the foyer after the service has ended.

Signals: silent communication between the worship leader and the guy manning the sound board.

20 Second Time Out: pastor hasn’t prepared effectively to preach the Word of God on Sunday. Therefore, he extends a time of corporate prayer and singing that he claims is led by the Spirit, so that only ten minutes is left in the actual service time. He then uses remaining moments for congregational testimonials as an expression of “encouraging one another.” He concludes by saying, “I guess we’re out of time today, we’ll have to pick up the text again next week… but hasn’t the fellowship been sweet this morning?”

Field Goal: getting at least something out of a poorly prepared sermon.

Safety: proof that no one on the elder board had your pastor's "back."

Touchdown: preaching the gospel in all its truth and seeing a non-Christian come to Christ for salvation, or a believer repent of their waywardness in sanctification.

Special teams: church committees and home fellowship groups.

Scrimmage: informal meeting of a "special team."

Extra Point: when you thought that the pastor said, “now in conclusion” at least twenty minutes ago.

Fumble: when the minister mispronounces a key word or O.T. name in his message, quotes the wrong verse, or theologically misspeaks and everyone notices.

Penalty Flag: when a member of the church acts like a faithful Berean in confronting the pastor(s) when something unbiblical was preached and affirmed.

Game ball: the Bible.

Home-field advantage: where long-time attendees think they are entitled to sit when newcomers show up.

Dime back: giving a tenth of your income.

Huddle: Meeting of the elders and pastoral staff.

Head coach: the pastor.

Reverse: a former Arminian who is now Reformed.

Too many men on the field: congregational rule.

Interference: when pragmatics captures the hearts of some of the members absent of sound doctrine—methods vs. message.

Incompletion: John Mark.

Unsportsmanlike conduct: when tolerated undisciplined sin manifests itself.

Winning percentage: sanctification is daily occurring.

Quarterback Sneak: when the pastor makes a move that the elders and deacons weren’t prepared for.

Draw Play: what children do with the church bulletin during worship.

Half-time: the period between Sunday School and the main worship service where many choose to leave.

Backfield-in-Motion/Man in Motion: too many restroom or water fountain runs during the service.

Staying in the Pocket: what happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord's work.

Two-minute Warning: the point at which you realize the sermon is almost over, but it somehow goes on for another half an hour.

Instant Replay: the minister forgets his notes and falls back on last week's sermon.

Sudden Death: what happens to a church where sin is tolerated.

Trap: you're called on to pray the benediction and sleep through your cue.

End Run: taking the long way around a difficult situation.

Flex Defense: the ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.

Halfback Option: the decision of 75% of the congregation not to return for the evening service.

Screen Play: using video and PowerPoint as part of your Sunday morning worship.

Blitz: the rush to the parking lot to get to the restaurant first following the closing prayer.


pilgrim said...

Those are good--I saw one before using baseball comparisons--I'll have to look that one up again.

Sparks said...

False Start - what happens when a new believer never experiences any spiritual growth.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Offsides- when asked for testimony or word of praise you give prayer request for your wife's grandfather's brother who is sick.

Sparks said...

Illegal Procedure - preaching "seeker sensitive" sermons instead of the whole Gospel.

Waterboy - the unnoticed, unappreciated servant who works faithfully seeking not treasure on earth but the Kingdom of God.

Owner - Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Owner's Luxury Suite - Heaven

Brad said...

pass interference - When leading someone to Christ, requiring more than simple faith

Jim V. said...

another one for Draw Play:
Visiting pastor at local Methodist church drops back to lob a feel-good sermon, then tucks it under and comes straight up the middle with the Gospel!

Denise said...

Don't forget the necessary tail-gate parties, aka "Potlucks". =P~~~~ <----such a Baptist!

Brian Ring said...

Great list! I love seeing parallels to Christianity in every day life. I think it was R.C. Sproul who said he could "see God in a football game", which ironically, is not unlike what you've just shared.

Hey, if you get a chance, check out my blog:


If you check out my very first post, you can see why the strange word "snodung" is in my URL.


Jeremy Weaver said...

U. T. Vols-the church gone apostate.

Bhedr said...


Are the Vols back in purgatory?
The two minute warning made me think of the little story about a Grandpa taking his grandson to his church when he visited. As the preacher opened his Bible he took off his watch and laid it in front of him on the pulpit. The little boy asked, "Granpa, what does that mean?"

"Not a thing son! Not a thing."

littlegal_66 said...

To Jeremy--

I bet you're thinking (about me): "teacher's pet, teacher's pet.......doing extra credit work." Well, just think of my initial contributions to this article as my "writing lines" on the blackboard for talking too much and being disruptive in class. : - )

Brian--R.C. Sproul said that? Hmmmm..........our football/church analogy must be a pretty valid one.....wow. That's pretty reassuring!

Striving to be His "watergal" (P.C. version of "waterboy".......thanks, sparks),


Shawn L said...


I think you crashed blogspot again with your posts!!!!!!!!! or at least made everything really big.

Maybe the blogspot server is repenting!!!!!

Mike Perrigoue said...

I liked the "punt". Very funny!

Breuss Wane said...

Excessive celebration - Every Sunday at the Toronto Airport.

Breuss Wane said...

12 men in the huddle - Bill Donahue at an evangelical rally

Breuss Wane said...

Unnecessary roughness - Robert Schuller's last plane flight

Breuss Wane said...

Hail Mary - last ditch attempt by ECB to be culturally relevant

Breuss Wane said...

Sideline reporter - token babe with nominal talent given Christian music deal to spice up the ratings

Breuss Wane said...

ineligible man downfield - Tony Campolo smirking w/ the president in "tough love"

littlegal_66 said...

Br-e-u-u-u-s-s....go Chad, go!

SJ Camp said...

Oh my... someone's had a bit too much caffine this evening :-).

Great stuff from you all! I will be adding to this article tomorrow many of your "thoughts."

A couple of my personal favorites so far:

Chad said, "ineligible man downfield - Tony Campolo smirking w/ the president in "tough love""

Sparks said: "False Start - what happens when a new believer never experiences any spiritual growth."

Doxo said: "U. T. Vols-the church gone apostate."

Ouch!!! Thought he was going to say Notre Dame :-).

Let's win one for the "Gipper"

PS - Who is the Gipper anyway? Let me know.

littlegal_66 said...

El Sledge-

"Gipper":.......wasn't that D.J. Tanner's next-door-neighbor and best friend on "Full House?"
Oh, wait, that was "Gibbler," wasn't it......my bad. ; )
P.S. Thanks for that edit you made-I appreciate it.
Isaiah 43:18 (referencing out of context, I'm sure, but I like how it sounds).

pilgrim said...


George Gipp-I knew the name so I looked it up to find some link.

This is the oficial site-

littlegal_66 said...

I should clarify my last comment by adding that I was the one who was referencing the scripture from Isaiah, not Campi.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful, worship-filled day, especially on this beautiful Lord's Day.

2Tal said...

Unnecessary roughness-Waiting in line for the second time at a Pentacostal healing rally due to a headache brought about by the faith healer hitting you on the head too hard the first time round.

DOGpreacher said...

BINGO!! We have a winner...

2TAL...that is 2 funny...well, sad actually.

Pastor Sloan said...

Another one for Staying in the Pocket -a minister who feels like he must remain behind the pulpit while preaching or else get sacked by the congregation.

Pep Rally - a service that is designed to make you feel good say "Yeah Jesus.", but lacks conviciton of sin, motivation for Christian living, or improves the understanding of Scripture.

Cheerleaders- Those that are consistant in their encouragement of a pastor who is faithful in his calling.

As for waterboy, I actually have a person who faithfully has a cup of water for me on the pulpit on Sunday mornings.

donsands said...

wishbone option- pre-mil, post-mill, or a-mil.

4given said...

I realize I am late in the game here, but our head coach, who often takes on the position of linebacker and running back who has defended the gameball diligently, which at times, causes defensive holding, thankfully has few leave during half-time even though we tend to go into over-time... though some have gotten sick on the side-lines and have attempted a blitz; but are often headed off by the running back and encouraged by the head coach whose assistant then attempts a necessary nose tackle.

Clay said...

Just a thought . . . never blogged before but wanted to chime in. Two years ago there was a pastor's son in the SEC that played offensive line. He would finish off each of his blocks by saying, "In Jesus name . . ." Hard for opposing players to hate, cuss or even be blocked by someone saying this.

Marcia said...

Cute post.

The comments are funny, too.

Matthew2323 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.