HOUSTON (ABP) — The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans may not make it to the Super Bowl this year, but Texas Baptists plan to be there anyway.
They hope to share the gospel with many of the 200,000 people, including 35,000 media personnel, who will descend on Houston for the Feb. 1 game. Most of the crowd will not go to the game but will attend events surrounding the competition.
“We have a great opportunity to share God's love through Christ. It's not only people in the Houston area but the whole world,” said Wayne Shuffield, an evangelism consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
The Super Bowl evangelism steering committee is looking for churches to reach out to football fans the week leading up to the game by holding block parties or Super Bowl-watching gatherings. The group also is organizing volunteers to do street evangelism and encouraging mission teams to do projects throughout the city. Believers will distribute tracts and Bibles.
About 10,000 volunteers are needed to serve in 30 projects. Available positions include airport greeters, halftime volunteers and game managers. Volunteers can work events such as Taste of the NFL and the NFL Experience. Workers are needed to stuff bags and put them on stadium chairs.
Opportunities to share the gospel evolve naturally as church members serve in secular capacities, said Timothy Knopps, who has been contracted by the North American Mission Board to work with the steering committee. When other workers ask why someone volunteered, a person can talk about their faith.
“It gets [church members] involved in the community,” Knopps said. “What we've found is when a church member gets involved in the community, the community gets involved in the church.”
Cooperation between Texas Baptists and Super Bowl officials benefits both parties, Knopps added. As many as 3,000 people have made professions of faith through efforts prior to the Super Bowl in the past, and the National Football League has looked to local groups to facilitate the events.
“The NFL wants to leave a legacy of good things they've done locally,” he explained.
Because of the league's preference for area workers, there is ample opportunity for Baptists to minister during the Super Bowl weekend, Shuffield noted.
“Hundreds of churches carry a greater impact for the cause of the kingdom than any one single church has,” Shuffield said. “All Texas Baptists are invited to Houston.”