Many Football fans usually try to rush out of Sunday service to see their favorite teams play but a clip that has been making the rounds in the media shows a pastor cutting his Sunday sermon short to watch an NFL playoff game. After much backlash, it has been revealed as just a joke.
At a church in Butte, Montana; Pastor Tim Christensen of Gold Hill Lutheran Church looked like he made it easy for fans that wanted to watch the NFC Divisional Playoff game between the 49ers and Panthers. In a one minute video that went viral, he offered a very short, condensed church service.
"Would you all like to be forgiven for your sins?" Pastor Christensen is heard asking. The congregation answered "yes," and he responded, "Ok, you are."
He continued and said, "There's some bread and some wine up here on the table. You all feel free to help yourself if you'd like to."
Christensen then kisses both biceps, opened his robe to reveal a 49ers shirt, and then shouted, "I'm out of here" as he walked out of frame and everyone laughed.
"It was just a little bit of a joke," a parish secretary who only identified as Mariam told Mashable on Monday. "The entire congregation knows he's a big 49ers fan, so they were in on it and he held a full service right after that."
The one-minute-long video is getting mixed reviews on YouTube.
Some questioned the authenticity, while others approved of the pastor's approach to the sport.
"This guy is THE COOLEST. God gave us football because He loves us!," posted Joseph Ranner.
"Not exactly the kind of video I would want to 'go viral,' " wrote Sue Seiffert, in response to a message on the Gold Hill Lutheran Facebook. "I am hoping that it was just an opening 'stunt' that led to a meaningful reflection on priorities or perhaps on what is core in our worship."
Football is a strong competitor for some of churchgoers. Last Feb, NewSpring Church in South Carolina actually changed Sunday service time to Saturday night to avoid the disappointment with the Super Bowl, The Christian Post reported.
"Anytime we've tried to compete with the Super Bowl ... well, it just hasn't gone well. We've tried different approaches to remedy this, but nothing has worked. People just have not come to church," NewSpring lead Pastor Perry Noble said.