Though the Super Bowl is one of the most-watched occasions in the U.S., most pastors say their churches continue their Sunday evening routines on the day of the football game, according to a survey conducted by LifeWay Research.
The survey showed that 59 percent of Protestant pastors whose churches normally have Sunday evening activities continue those events as normal on Super Bowl Sunday.
About a quarter (24 percent) said they “adjust Sunday night activities to include watching the game,” and 12 percent said they “adjust Sunday night activities in other ways.” Some 5 percent cancel their Sunday evening activities altogether.
“It is easy to think everyone is watching the game,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, “but even during the Super Bowl, millions of Americans are doing other things that are important to them. For many, that includes attending church.”
Pastors of churches with smaller congregations were more likely to say they continue their Sunday evening activities as usual, as 71 percent of churches with 0 to 49 attendees and 66 percent of churches with 50 to 99 attendees said so. Over half of churches with 100 to 249 in attendance (55 percent) and 44 percent of churches with 250 or more attendees said they will continue normal Sunday evening activities.
Younger pastors were more likely to say they cancel their Sunday evening events. Some 8 percent of pastors between the ages of 18 to 44 said their churches cancel their Sunday evening activities on Super Bowl Sunday, while 2 percent of pastors 65 years old or older said the same.
Out of the denominations, pastors of Church of Christ (78 percent), Pentecostal (65 percent), and Baptist (65 percent) churches were more likely to say that they will continue their Sunday night routines as usual.
“While Christians believe the truth does not change, we recognize practices often do,” said McConnell. “Churches face a difficult task of navigating between wanting to remain countercultural and still reaching the culture. In this study, we find churches coming to different conclusions for their congregation and local context.”