EAST ORANGE, NJ - It’s no surprise that in most churches today, women outnumber men when it comes to involvement in the life of the church. The shortage of males in church is an ongoing challenge with no easy solution. “Our church is certainly no exception. What make us different is that we decided not to ignore our gender gap issue, but to proactively address this concern by creating innovative programs such as NFL Sunday,” said Rev. Dwight. D. Gill, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange.
This year, the church is celebrating its 11th Annual New Found Life (NFL) Sunday Football Service. Since the program’s inception in 2006, the church continues to experience a reversal in the usual gender pattern in its attendance as well as participation in church’s activities by men.
The goal of the service is both spiritual and action-oriented. “Men attending the event, for example, will have the opportunity to listen and learn how spirituality can play a key role in helping them with their daily challenges and responsibilities,” said Rev. Gill.
Although one of the roles of the church is to help meet people’s spiritual and emotional needs, it also must be meaningful by connecting with their interests, skills and hobbies. It is important for our community to know that our sermons, church events and ministries are directed toward both genders. The church wants men to know that churches are not just for ladies. “Women and men are eligible receivers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our church always seeks to identify ways to involve our male members in hands-on service projects instead of group meetings,” explained Rev. Gill.
Tackling this issue with great enthusiasm and a sense of purpose, the church’s football service will feature the church decorated in an NFL theme; deacons serving as referees; youth praise dance team performing as cheerleaders; male choir garbed in football jerseys singing “men friendly songs” and a sermon to be delivered by Rev. Gill that highlights the similarity between the church body and a football team. “It is all about communicating with men in a way they understand, but with a spiritual emphasis,” said Rev. Gill.
The event will be held on Sunday, January 29 at 11:00 a.m. at the church, located at 144 Norman Street in East Orange. The public is invited and encouraged to wear their favorite football team’s jersey. The celebration also includes a pre-game show at 7:45 a.m. and a free, post tailgate party immediately following the service. For more information, please call the church office at (973) 678-6710.
About New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange:
New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange, which has a rich history and nearly 2,000 members, has been serving the spiritual and social needs of the community for many years. The church provides numerous Christian education programs and community outreach initiatives such as a Food Pantry Program and programs for Youth, Seniors, Women and Health.