It is my favorite season of the year, football season. You were probably thinking that I was going to say autumn, fall, or something similar, but hear me out. Even though I love the changing of the leaves, apple cider, bonfires, and the cooler weather, for me the sound of pads crunching against each other as two teams try to get a brown oval shaped ball into an end zone gets me super excited.
As the son of a football coach, I’ve watched hundreds, if not thousands of hours of football over my 28 years of life. I remember vividly having games on television of teams we didn’t care about just because we wanted to watch football. I spent every Friday night watching games under the “Friday Night Lights” and almost every Saturday going to a local college game. Sundays were spent with my neighbors as we cheered on the Indianapolis Colts. (Indy is where I grew up.) My point here is, I’ve seen a lot of football in my life so far.
So imagine this scenario with me. The teams hit the field. The defense lines up against the line of scrimmage and they are fired up, angry and in position to destroy the ball carrier if he chooses to cross their path. The offense heads to the huddle. The quarterback, after talking with the coach, heads to the huddle. The offense bunches up closely together. They stay close together. They continue to be close together. They are discussing the play. They are explaining how the play works. They even pull out playbooks and begin discussing the ideologies of how their plays should work. The defense stands patient, wondering when the huddle is going to break. The refs begin to check their watches. The crowd slowly grows silent as the offense continues to just stand in their huddle, going over the plays closely and quietly in their huddle.
Sounds boring right? So why do so many followers of Jesus do the same thing?
Imagine Christianity as a football game. Yeah, we get in our huddle every Sunday, learn about the play we are supposed to run, but that’s the only thing our team often does. Sounds boring right?
Some of us rarely ever leave the huddle. We prefer the comfort of the huddle over playing the actual game. But as the title of this article implies, our faith isn’t about the huddle. God calls us to play the game!
Jesus’ final words to us were,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In a way, you can say that Jesus is our coach who is giving us the big speech before the game, and this is what his big rallying cry to inspire us to play is.
This is why…
*WARNING: Shameless plug is about to happen in 3… 2… 1…*
…our student ministry works so hard to fuel students’ faith by challenging them to serve. We provide multiple ways that they can go out and play the game, not just huddle up and learn the plays. Here are some of the ways we challenge our students to serve outside of the huddle:
- Hope House Mission – On the first Saturday of each month, we go to Hope House Mission in Middletown and provide lunch for our homeless neighbors. Not only do we help supply the food, but we also help prepare and serve the food.
- Hope’s Closet – On the first Wednesday of each month, our Senior High Girls’ Group serves at Hope’s Closet in Hamilton. Hope’s Closet helps provide clothes to families in need and our group goes in and helps sort and restock used clothes for people to take them.
- Mission Trip to Wheaton, IL – Next July, we will be taking a group of students to the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, IL to serve locally and spread the love of Christ. We will be partnering with an organization LEAD222 who help organize student mission trips as well as teach leadership throughout the week. Registration is going on now and all students in 6th-12th grades are eligible to go. Sign up today.
All of these are great ways to get out of the huddle and play the game that Christ calls us to play. If you or your student would be interested in any of these opportunities, then please contact me at zach@HitTheRiver.com.
Remember, staying in the huddle the whole time defeats the purpose to which God called us. Break out of the huddle and go play the game! See how fun the game can actually be.