Preaching for Pastors: Sports References Hit a Home Run Every Time!

sports references for sermonsIt is amazing to me how many of my Facebook friends remark on a Monday that they went to church and were inspired by a pastor or priest saying something as simple as “Go Bears.” Sports references are a great way to connect with your congregation and they don’t have to be simple shout outs to a team. You don’t have to be a sports fan to connect and many are great object lessons.
First, and I want to be clear on this, I don’t think God cares as to which team wins a game. God has bigger fish to fry as I write in my book Prime-Time Television Through the Lens of Faith. I do think sports examples have universal appeal.
Even if you are not a sports fan, read the sports section of the newspaper. In an age when athletes get a bum rap, well over 90% do good.  The NFL give millions of dollars to The United Way and players contribute thousands of hours of community service. The Washington Nationals are auctioning game warn jerseys to benefit the families of the victims of The Navy Yard shooting.  A Bryce Harper jersey has received a $4,000 bid at this point and it will probably go over $5,000. The Nationals will probably raise over $100,000.
Sports films are another source of inspiration. Bob Costas of NBC Sports once said that Pride of the Yankees the story about the great Lou Gehrig is more of a love story than a baseball film. Seabiscuit, a film nominated for Best Picture, is the story of a little horse that could.  During The Great Depression 40 million people would listen to the NBC Radio Network to hear a Seabiscuit race. Given the population at that time it was more that watch the Super Bowl today.
A more recent film is 42 the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. it would be great for references in February during Black History Month but his story could be told at any time.
Yogi Berra and Satchell Paige are great for quotations. One of my favorite “Yogism” is, “When you see a fork in the road, take it.” Check them out on Google.
Try using sports references and hit a home run.

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