It’s no surprise that Belichick and Brady are leading the Patriots back to Super Bowl 51, but it’s been 18 years since the Atlanta Falcons earned their way to the coveted championship game. Matt Flynn and company are confident and ready to face off against the four-time Super Bowl champs in Houston’s NRG Stadium on February 5.
The Super Bowl has become one of America’s most sacred national holidays, and many church leaders are planning a dynamic “friendship evangelism” celebration. The “Big Game” viewing parties provide churches with a warm and dynamic evangelistic opportunity to reach out to their community. Here are five ideas that will help you host an enjoyable and meaningful party:
- Invite – This is a great time to invite a neighbor, co-worker or family member who doesn’t attend church. It’s a non-threatening environment and a viewing party provides a relaxing and fun setting. An open atmosphere can help nurture relationships and deepen friendships. You may want to consider inviting someone who is homeless or having a difficult time in their life. What a great way to share your blessings to the “least of these.”
- Big Screen – If your church has a big screen, that can be a real draw to invite friends to watch the event at your church building. And, the NFL is OK with showing it on a big screen if it is equipment used all the time and not rented just for the party.
- Refreshments – Of course, food and refreshments are always a crowd pleaser. You could ask guests to bring snacks and drinks, but it might be better to express hospitality by providing all the food and drinks. Don’t forget plates, cups, and utensils, and you’ll have everything you need for a great outreach party. Here are some links to special Super Bowl food ideas: Food Network, Delish.com, Pinterest, Southern Food, Cooking Channel.
- Half-time video – Provide some type of entertainment or inspiration during the half-time show. Sports Spectrum, the top Christian sports magazine in the country, develops a Super Bowl halftime video every year called “Power to Win.” For this year’s Super Bowl, Power to Win will feature Israel Idonije, a defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions. As always, the video will finish strong with the plan of salvation. A free copy of the video is available to all host locations, according to First Baptist Church Adrian, Michigan.
- Understand Copyright Issues – Thanks to concessions by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL will not block religious organizations from hosting Super Bowl viewing parties. There are some important rules, however, to follow to side-step possible copyright infringement:
- Churches must show the game live on equipment they use in the course of ministry at their premises; recordings of the show are not permitted.
- Churches cannot charge admission for the party. The NFL has stated, however, that churches may take up a donation to defray the cost of the event.
- It’s advisable for churches to call the event a “big game” party rather than a “Super Bowl” party, as both the “NFL” and “Super Bowl” are trademarked and protected intellectual property. For example, one church last year called their event a “Souper Bowl” party and asked for donations of canned soup for a local ministry.
There are several elements of intellectual property rights involved in the Super Bowl, which falls under both Copyright and Trademark protection. This gives the National Football League (NFL) ownership of the rights to the text, images, photographs, video, audio, graphics, user interface, and other content provided on their services, and the selection, coordination, and arrangement of such content. This also gives them the rights to the product names, company names, trade names, logos, product packaging, and designs. Any non-official of the NFL who is advertising or transmitting any of this content is viable to infringement. You can learn more about Super Bowl copyright issues in our article “How to Avoid Copyright Penalties.”
CCS’s Founder and CVO, Susan Fontaine Godwin is an educator and long-time member of the Christian arts community with 30 years of experience in the Christian media industry, church copyright administration, and copyright management. Susan is an author and speaker and frequently writes for several Christian magazines and online publications. She serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Mobile.
About Christian Copyright Solutions: CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches, as well as representation, administration, and advocacy for copyright owners. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.