A Super Bowl Party and Disciple-Making

discipleship steve norris Apr 17, 2022
A Super Bowl Party and Disciple-Making | Dr. Steve Norris

When Barb and I were first married, we got into a BIG disagreement over the Super Bowl. We were attending a small church in the suburbs of Chicago. My favorite pro team was in the game. The church announced that service would be held during the Super Bowl. The announcement was stated in such a way that if you were a Super Saint, you would ditch the Super Bowl to come to the Super Service. Can you feel the sarcasm? 

A small group was recently wrestling with the same kind of question. Can a small group ditch their regular bible study to watch the Super Bowl instead? Someone said during the discussion that maybe we could have the Bible Study during halftime. I thought, bummer, I like the performing half-time group this year. 

The Scared or the Secular

Even for the non-football lover, there is an underlying question for disciple-makers. Can an everyday event be a practical part of the disciple-making process? We have been trained to think that organized, scheduled gatherings are the only way to disciple. Formal teaching is the bread and butter of making disciples.  Is that assumption valid? 

“Come and See”

Let’s go to the brilliant one. Jesus invited the potential disciples to “come and see.” (John 1:38-39). He continually grew the commitment, content, and ministry involvement in everyday settings during their journey with him. Was He intentional? Absolutely. He used everyday life to teach spiritual truths. He was the master teacher. 

A Learned Skill

In the art of disciple-making, there are eight basic skills we can learn to be more effective in disciple-making. The first skill is Balancing: Jesus Engaged His Disciples Formally and Informally. Jesus knew that to change a person from the inside out truly would take more than sitting them in a classroom expecting transformation. People need to see and experience truth. 

At the wedding at Cana (John 2:1–11), Jesus used a social celebration to demonstrate His power over creation. He didn’t plan to do anything but attend a wedding. In Mark 2:1–12, the disciples were with Jesus doing ministry. A paralytic was lowered into the middle of Jesus’ teaching time. The unexpected guest gave Jesus a teachable moment to reveal He was God and able to forgive sin. Later, Matthew (Matthew 9:9–12) invited Jesus to a Super Bowl party. Every kind of sinner was there. The Pharisees criticized him. Jesus used it to teach the disciples about His mission. Were these planned opportunities by Jesus? No. Did Jesus recognize the God moments in everyday events to teach about himself and the kingdom? Yes. 

Truth Demonstrated

It is easy to dialogue about change in a small group. But when a disciple learns the truth in everyday life, he or she sees how you can live out the truth. I regularly met with a group of co-workers for lunch. My role was to connect their stories what His story, the Gospel, as we talked about many things. After a year and a half, I was moving, so we had a last meal together. One member said, “Steve, thank you for discipling us.” during lunch. Was there ever a book or curriculum we went through? No. Causal conversations were shaped to integrate Christ into everyday life. WE changed because of our time together. God was there in the daily event. 

God in Everyday Life

Why are informal times, like a Super Bowl party, important to discipling? You enter their world and bring Christ with you. Life-changing environments don’t have to be religious. Some of the coolest transformational conversations I have had came on a tennis court, in a woodshop, on a boat out to a dive spot, on a train to a ministry location in India, and the list can go on.  

Discipleship in Everyday Life

Who are you investing your life in? You can make an impact for Christ at the lunch table at school or at work. Be prayerful (you need God’s help) and intentional (you need to act). It’s putting on a different filter about life as you go out the door each morning. There are God moments to help others grow one step closer to God if you look for them.  We can learn from the Master because Jesus was intentional. Jesus didn’t separate the sacred from the secular.

Make an impact wherever you may be. You can use everyday life to teach His truth to others. Your mission as a disciple-maker is to make a difference in the world through making disciples. Enroll in our Discipleship Certificate Course at Grace On Demand and learn more about the art of disciple-making.

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