11 Differences between a College Football Fan and a Church Member


Warning: The article below is a bit of sarcastic humor. I am speaking in hyperbole to make a point. The football fan noted represents a very rabid football fan. The church member represents some, but certainly not all, church members.

Disclosure: I tend to be a rabid college football fan. I see my allegiance as an area of devotion that needs significant adjustments downwardly. So I don’t necessarily practice what I preach. For example, even as I type these words, I am reminded that the kickoff for my team’s first game of the season is exactly five weeks from today.

Caution: While I do write these comparisons with some humor and a lot of hyperbole, you might get just a bit uncomfortable reading them. That may indicate there is some truth in each of them.

  1. A college football fan loves to win. The typical church member never wins someone to Christ.
  2. A college football fan gets excited if a game goes into overtime. A church member gets mad if the pastor preaches one minute past the allocated time.
  3. A college football fan is loyal to his or her team no matter what. A church member stops attending if things are not going well.
  4. A college football fan is easily recognized by his or her sportswear, bumper stickers, and team flags. Many church members cannot even be recognized as Christians by people with whom they associate.
  5. A college football fan pays huge dollars for tickets, travel, and refreshments for games. A church member may or may not give to his or her church.
  6. A college football fan reads about his or her football team every day. A church member rarely reads the Bible once in the course of a week.
  7. A college football fan attends the game no matter how bad the weather is. A church member stays home if there is a 20 percent chance of rain.
  8. A college football fan invites others to watch the game every week. A church member rarely invites someone to church.
  9. A college football fan is known for his or her passion for the football team. A church member is rarely known for his or her passion for the gospel.
  10. A college football fan will adjust gladly to changes in kickoff time. A church member gets mad if his or her service time is changed by just a few minutes.
  11. A college football fan is loyal even if he or she never gets to meet the coach. A church member gets mad if the pastor does not visit for every possible occasion.

Yes, I admit I do enjoy college football. But I really love Christ’s churches even more. I need to demonstrate that reality more readily. Do you?

So . . . what would you add to my somewhat sarcastic list? Do you see the humor? Do you see some truth?

Posted on July 26, 2014

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Lou Alice Collins says on

    The main difference I see is that if a fan is really excited about a game (or even upset by it) it is talked about the next day at work. People seem too shy to discuss their experience at church when they get to work the next day.

  • Thanks for this great list! I have the privilege of serving approximately 80 churches in Tuscaloosa County as their Director of Missions. Some may have heard about the college team here that scrimmages weekly with God for people’ first love. Football season just began, and so it was perfect timing for me to share your blog with our pastors!

  • So true! As a born and bread Cornhusker fan and life-long churchgoer I am guilty as charged. On a side note… I think it is interesting that you felt compelled to attach a “warning” before your post. I am not criticizing you for doing so and I understand that you wanted to guard yourself from potential blow back. Might this suggest that regular church folks — as a body — tend to be so sincere, stoic and sensitive that we don’t recognize sarcasm and hyperbole when applied to us? This could be one of the many reasons modern society —which is naturally wrapped in sarcasm — doesn’t relate very well to a traditional approach to church and church environment. I think Jesus and Paul used sarcasm to make a point. In fact, some comments in the Bible make more sense when read through the lens of sarcasm. Thank you for the challenging thoughts!

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