Sundays are for Football

The following is a walkthrough of “Zombies, Football and the Gospel” by Reggie Joiner If you want to know more about why I’m writing this series or a quick place to check for the previous chapter posts click here.


Ch 3 Sundays are for Football – “Re-imagine ways church can influence active communities.” 

In this chapter, Reggie connects two primary ideas tether in a powerful and extremely relevant way. The first is that Sunday are for Football, that most people would rather not attend Church on Sunday mornings. Reggie states, “At some point on the sacred day, there will be playing, napping, drinking, golfing, hanging, reading, sunning, swimming, Web-surfing, or watching Football… it’s not that they hate Church. They just don’t think about it. (pg 41)

The second is that “Statistically, 25 percent of Americans treat Sunday like a Holy day. Everybody else treats Sunday like a holiday (pg41)”. Mainly 75% of Americans just don’t think about Sunday because Sundays are or Football. Reggie adds that 35% of people are also working on Sunday mornings and will never be able to come to a service at 9:00 am because they are at work.

“I’m going to oversimplify and say I think it’d because 75 percent of the population has decided Sunday is for football, or fun, or family or friends (pg43)”

In the middle of the chapter, Reggie shares a story about a girl names Jen and the reasons why Jen won’t go to Church. Here are a few of the highlights…

  • I feel like they are judging me
  • my questions aren’t answered
  • it doesn’t feel worth my time
  • No one invites me to go with them

Despite the last comment, however, Jen does mention that “If a friend invited me, I’d go (pg44)”. It is here where the “Game-Changer” comes into play. “Communities have shifted away from a Sunday’ s-are-for-church mindset (pg44)”

See Jen’s of the world will not natural just wander into church o a Sunday morning, but the Church is also not doing anything to attract the Jen’s of the world either. Reggie asks the question, “What if you started counting the people who come on Sunday and started cutting the people in tour community who don’t? (pg45)”.

This question is powerful and almost mind breaking. It almost seems like an impossible task, but don’t we follow a God who specializes in the impossible. This chapter is profound because it asked us to examine our motives as a church. Do we exist for the 25 or the 75 percent? Or both?

The chapter ends with two statements that summarize both the power of the chapter and the potential of the future if we are brave enough to think outside of a Sunday box.

“If Jesus said leave the 99 to go find the one, maybe we can stop thinking about the 25 long enough to brainstorm, ideas to reach the 75 (pg46)”

“To reach people no one else is reaching we must do things no one else is doing Craig Groeschel (pg 46)

My Original Notes and Insights

Q – How are you going to connect with the people in your community who will never step inside your building?

  • I don’t know, but I need to figure something out. It needs to involve students reaching students. But also adult leaders empowering, equipping and modelling what it looks like to be the Church the other six days a week.

Looking Back: When I look back, This chapter changed me personally, not programmatically. I don’t think anything about my program was affected by this chapter, which might be a sad fact. I remember having a goal of having 10% of every high school in the city have representation in our youth group in some capacity. But as I re-read this chapter, I’m reminded that they probably would never have crossed our doors, because I was expecting them to come to us. The change for me happened in my heart. It created a burden for students. Yes, I wanted to see kids come to know Jesus, but the difference was the realization that “I could not meet that goal”… it was too big for me. But as a collective “we,” the goal was possible. I remember this chapter setting me/us free to try, fail, succeed and repeat.

In a Covid-19 World

I continue to find this book almost prophetic in this season of life. Again this chapter is speaking directly at the heart of the current issue the universal Church is facing. We can no longer go to a physical building on a Sunday morning, and since this book, The number of people attending a church was also declining. I think 75 percent of people not thinking about the Church at all is now a low number, and I guess that it’s much higher.

Yet Covid-19 has forced the Church to stop and ponder some of what Reggie mentions in this chapter, “If Jesus said leave the 99 to go find the one, maybe we can stop thinking about the 25 long enough to brainstorm, ideas to reach the 75 (pg46)”.

See Sunday are about Football and don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s not, because it’s 100% about anything but Church. For the first time in maybe a long time, the Church has an opportunity to make the other 6 days a week about Church. But it will require somethings of the Church…

  • We need to consider new ideas
  • We need to be willing to try, fail, succeed and repeat
  • We need to be ready to ask for help
  • We need to seek out the needs of our community first
  • We need to invite others to journey with us in community

In my personal opinion, let Sundays be for Football because the “Church” wasn’t built just for Sundays.

Jesse Title Grey Background
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

Welcome to 98118

The following is a walkthrough of “Zombies, Football and the Gospel” by Reggie Joiner If you want to know more about why I’m writing this series or a quick place to check for the previous chapter posts click here.


Ch 2 Welcome to 98118 – “Learn to be a good neighbour in a complex culture”

Reggie opens this chapter talking about the 98118 Zip Code. At the time of writing this book, 40,000 people lived in that zip code, and they spoke 59 different languages. It was considered one of the most diverse spots in the United States. Reggie begins to make the connection that we may not have similar religious/political viewpoints, but we all have more in common than we might think.

“They have emotions, they get sick, they have jobs, they are in relationships, they have families, they know Harry, they want a better future (p29)

The challenge is, what happens if culture is getting more complicated? What Reggie doesn’t know at that time is that culture is going to become extremely complicated and that in some ways, a culture war is coming to parts of the world.

It is here that the “Game-Changer” comes in, “people are embracing diversity and rejecting those who show signs of intolerance (pg29),” and again, he is 100% right. Reggie moments that prejudice is going out of style and that it’s going to force is as Christian to rethink how we discuss our values and beliefs.

“Many of our conversations will not be with people who, think like us, know is or trust us”

The above quote will set the foundation for the rest of the chapter, and Reggie unpacks 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

He focuses on the bolded words as a way of outlining our position as Christians, and we engage with not just the world but also our neighbours. A neighbour is someone who is different than us but is a person, not a project. We are to love those who are not the same as us in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15.

“The church convinced me for years that I was supposed to love people who are different, but never gave me permission to like people who are different (pg34)”

My Original Notes and Insights 

Q – What steps can your church take to begin to build a bridge to a group of people who are different than those who attend your church?

  • Diversity, the leadership team
    • Include people who were not like me and more like the community we are serving
  • Challenge students to think outwardly and not inward
  • Rethink community strategies by engaging community students in the conversation. What do you need?

Looking Back: When I look back, I see how much more I could have done to meet these goals, especially in light of how the world has changed since I first read this book. Culture drama and intolerance in some ways is on the rise because we have lost sight of 1 Peter 3:15, especially the word “gentleness.” I think we ran toward attack too quickly, and the lack of diversity and conversation in youth ministry added to the drama students were facing. We didn’t teach them that different was okay and that we could love and like those that were different.

In a Covid-19 World

I believe this chapter is more relevant today than ever before. Our world is shifting to a “take care of myself” mentality. But the heart of the Gospel is to love your neighbour as yourself. Your neighbour is anyone different than you, including those you can physically see and those you interact with on a digital landscape. We need to circle back to this idea and ask ourselves tough some tough questions?

  • Is our community welcome in our church?
  • Is our community represented in our leadership and volunteers?
  • Have we asked community students and adults what we can do as a church to support them?
  • How are we teaching students to love 1 Peter 3:15 in a digital landscape?

FREE DOWNLOAD: In this chapter, Reggie gives a few tips on how to be a good neighbour. Using his information as a guide, I put together a short devotional you can use. A Cheatsheet to Being Neighbourly Devo

Jesse Title Grey Background
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

The Gospel is Messy

The following is a walkthrough of “Zombies, Football and the Gospel” by Reggie Joiner If you want to know more about why I’m writing this series or a quick place to check for the previous chapter posts click here.


Ch 1 – The Gospel is Messy – “Never settle for a version of faith that doesn’t take risks.

When Jesus stepped into the world, things got messy. He has a way of shaking things up, and in many ways, that’s what the Gospel is all about. In this chapter, Reggie comments that “this generation believes the Gospel is not messy enough. Today, people want to trade in their carpeted, air-conditioned, Sunday school version of the Gospel for something that compels them to make a risky collision with a hurting work. (p16)”

He goes on to connect the fact that leaders are worried that this generation will “abandon the true meaning of the gospel for something to social.” This generation wants to get into the messiness and play around, and that is scary for leadership.

It is here that the “Game-Changer” comes in, “There’s a growing frustration with churches who do not respond passionately to a broken world. (p17)” Millennials view the church as a “business” and not as a Body of Christ caring for the world around them. The church is has a reputation of being too busy taking care of itself that it misses the needs of the world around them.

“This generation is not walking away from the church because they haven’t heard the story of the Gospel. They’re existing because they were never invited into the mission of the Gospel. (p18)

Reggie spends the rest of the chapter connecting the mission of Jesus and the messiness of the Gospel that it’s not about a theology debate or fancy blog post. The foundation of the Gospel is that Jesus came to save us from our Sin; he came for the hurting and the lost. This generation wants to let a messy gospel compel them to action, and it’s going to get messy.

“This generation just seems ready to embrace a version of faith that is willing to care and love the people around them, regardless of the risks (p22)


My Original Notes and Insights 

Q – “What is one thing you can change in your life or ministry for the sake of the Gospel – even if it gets messy?”

  • Engage students with the conversation. Not just teach them but teach with them. Invite students into their journey in the Gospel.
  • Involve myself and students in the community where we have the most connections.
    • prayer walk
    • youth get outside
    • be willing to adapt and change what we do
  • students programming for students

Looking Back: When I look back, this chapter inspired me to think about life outside of the church walls. How was I going to take the Gospel into our community? Or better yet, how were my students? This chapter (and book) were the start of the belief that student can and should reach students for Jesus. I always knew that to be true, but it was here that some fo that language formed for the first time. But I had to invite them into the mission. I had to learn how to cast a vision that said the Gospel didn’t just exist on Tuesday nights; rather, the Gospel was where ever you were.


In a Covid-19 World

When I think about the world we are living in right now, I realize that this chapter may be more relevant than ever before because what we know as “church” has been stripped away. In some ways, all we have left is just the Gospel. That is 100%, okay, but the process has been messy and continues to create a mess.

However, we still are not inviting the current generation into the process, and I think we’ve been playing it safe. We have allowed programs to trump the Gospel and left the ministry to the professionals. Both the Millennials and Gen Z want and need to get involved because frankly, they know where we are going better than any generation before.

“This generation is not walking away from the church because they haven’t heard the Gospel. They’re existing because they were never invited into the mission of the Gospel.”

We need the emerging generations now more than ever because they are in the best position to help the church navigate what’s to come. The challenge is still the same; however, will leadership get out of the way and help position this generation to become part of the mission of the Gospel.

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If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.