Hard to believe, but a new football season is upon us. As an avid fan of the NFL my entire life, it’s interesting to consider how the game has changed since my childhood. When I first began watching games on TV, “tear-away” jerseys and “stick-um” were still perfectly legal. For those of you too young to remember, “stick-um” was a gooey adhesive substance, resembling molasses, that wide receivers slathered all over themselves, enabling them to make spectacular catches with not only their hands, but also their elbows, knees, legs, and any other body part covered in the thick goo. [Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely gave the receivers a little extra help holding on to the ball].
However, I think the biggest change that has occurred in relation to the NFL in recent years is something that doesn’t even take place on the field. The biggest change has been the phenomenal growth of “Fantasy Football Leagues”. From being virtually non-existent ten years ago, it is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise with tens of millions of participants.
In case you’re unfamiliar with this “virtual” world of football, the participants basically act as owners of NFL franchises: holding player drafts, making trades, setting rosters & starting lineups, etc… A scoring system is in place that calculates how well a real player does in an actual game and then credits your “virtual team” with those points if that particular player is on your fantasy team. The fantasy team with the most points accumulated during the season wins.
It’s interesting to note that the fantasy footballers don’t actually DO much of anything – they merely feed off the achievements of the real warriors of the gridiron. I think this is representative of what has happened within many churches. We have become “Fantasy Christian Leagues” where the vast majority of us don’t actually DO much of anything; we merely live off the toil and hard-fought accomplishments of a tiny handful of real Christian warriors.
A revolutionary church, on the other hand, is one where everyone engages in the work of the church. There isn’t supposed to be such a thing as a “fantasy” follower of Jesus who watches while others work. We’re all called to be committed workers for Christ. It’s time to give up the game of “virtual church” and join the Revolution!
Post by Eron Elswick, leadership team of Revolution.