Honestly, I love football season. I enjoy watching games, talking about intriguing storylines, and playing Monday morning quarterback. As I sit here, I can look over and see the Sports Illustrated sitting on my desk with the college football season preview and Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett on the cover…GO BUCKS! Football can certainly become a tremendous distraction in my life, but it also could be a great opportunity.

Our mission at Grace is to honor God by multiplying devoted followers of Jesus, and I think the fall is one of the best times of year to do this. People all over our city and country will be gathering around televisions to watch football on Saturdays and Sundays from the beginning of September until the beginning of February, so let’s be intentional and take advantage of this massive cultural opportunity!

Here are a few suggestions for how you can use football season strategically for the sake of making disciples:

Pick an important game on the schedule of your favorite team and host a party for your neighbors and coworkers.

Making disciples is a relational task, meaning we need to find ways to deepen our connections with people around us moving from transactional relationships to transformational relationships. Sitting around for three hours watching a football game gives us time to get to know people beyond our ordinary settings and time to ask good questions while enjoying the game together.

Go to your local high school football games with your neighbors.

I went to Columbus Academy where high school football drew only modest interest, even among families of players on the team. However, the larger public schools love their football teams and pour out in significant numbers to watch their games. Living near Gahanna Lincoln High School, I remember going to a game and having to park a mile away to walk to the stadium. What a great place to get to know your neighbors and develop relationships with people from around your town!

Put Super Bowl Sunday (February 4, 2018) on your calendar and begin planning and inviting people over to watch the game.

There are few cultural events that receive as much national attention as the Super Bowl. People who don’t watch another game all season will come to hang out at a Super Bowl party, even if it’s just to watch the commercials. Don’t find yourself watching the game alone! Start thinking now about how you can take advantage of this unique event for the sake of the Gospel.

These are just three simple ideas for how you can make the most of football season this year, turning it from a distraction into an opportunity. Making disciples of all nations starts by engaging relationally with people, so why not make plans to get started this fall?

How will you be intentional this fall to make football season an opportunity for Gospel advance?

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Dustin Speaks is the Mission Mobilization Pastor. He and his wife, Lauren, arrived in Columbus in the fall of 2012, after several initial ministry experiences. Dustin previously served as an associate pastor in South Dakota and as a missionary to university students in Berlin, Germany. Dustin studied history at Ohio University, where he met Lauren, and was involved in campus ministry with Cru. After graduation, the Speaks went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago) to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. He enjoys playing nearly all ball sports—basketball, golf, and soccer are his favorites. Dustin and Lauren have three young children.