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The Impact of the 12th Man in the Church

February 6, 2014

Seattle is still rocking and celebrating. For the first time in the 38 year history of the Seattle Seahawks, we are celebrating a Super Bowl victory.

At the end of the game, 50 well-conditioned athletes were giving exuberant interviews, despite their physical exhaustion. After the obligatory acknowledgement to God and their teammates, a third expression of gratitude consistently came up – the 12th man. Seahawk flags sporting the number 12 are everywhere in Seattle. The team has embraced the city and invited us into the championship arena to share the victory in a more personal way. Some have even gone so far as to claim that the noise of the 12th man in New York contributed to the errant snap on the first play of the game that led to Seattle’s first 2 points.

In most churches, a core of people are fully invested in leading and serving in ministry. But no matter how talented this core is, the church will never perform at a championship level without the complete support and participation of the 12th man. Church was never intended to be a spectator sport where a few performed and the masses watched. In church, it doesn’t even work to have a few performing and the masses cheering them on. Church is where everyone is on the field, suited up, and engaged in the game.

12th Man Art courtesy of Dennis Duffy

12th Man Art courtesy of Dennis Duffy

People are in to the numerology of the victory as well. The errant snap happened 12 seconds into the game. The first touchdown was scored with 12 minutes left in the second quarter and the kickoff returned for a touchdown happened 12 seconds into the second half. 12 – what a great number.

Jesus liked 12. He picked 12 to change the world. They changed it by extending His invitation to everyone to personally follow Jesus and become one of the 12. The invitation stands today. In Seattle, everyone feels like when they support the team, they are on it. That is an awesome description for everyone who participates in a local church. The pews are not bleachers for watching, they are benches where players eagerly wait for their opportunity to contribute.

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