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NFL Bad Lip Reading

Main Point of Discussion: Too often, Christians come across as confusing, so we need to make sure we communicate the Gospel clearly through our words and actions.

Introducing the Video:
If you’re an NFL fan like me, you’ve always wondered what the coaches, refs, and players are saying down on the field. For years, these guys have been recorded with high tech mics, but we’re just now getting a chance to hear what they’re actually talking about. Take a look at this video clip to see what you’ve been missing in the stands.

The Video: Bad NFL Lip Reading
The video can be found online at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zce-QT7MGSE



Transitional Statement:
OK, that’s obviously a joke, but it got me to wondering: How often do we as Christians come across as a joke to others when we try to talk to them about Jesus and our Christian life? No matter what the topic, some of us sound as silly as that clip from the NFL. Since we have the most important message in the world – the Gospel – we need to take great care in making sure we are clear when it comes to our words and actions. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about that now so we can avoid sounding as silly as these guys from the clip.


Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we dive in, everybody take a second to share your name and a time when you were misunderstood about something you’ve said.

  2. ASK A FEW: What are a few of your favorite ‘bad lip readings’ from the video?

  3. ASK A FEW: This video has been watched over 30 million times. Why do you think it’s so funny and popular?

  4. ASK A FEW: What would you think of the players/coaches/refs if that’s what they actually said on gameday?

  5. ASK A FEW: How are Christians sometimes guilty of ‘bad lip readings’ with non-Christians?

  6. ASK A FEW: What happens to the reputation/perception of Christianity when we say things that sound ridiculous?

  7. Read the following passage from the Bible:

      1 Corinthians 2:1-5

      When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

  8. ASK A FEW: What does it mean to use ‘lofty words and impressive wisdom’ when talking to others about Jesus? Is that a good thing or not?

  9. ASK A FEW: What are some “Christianese” words or phrases we use that must sound like a bad lip reading to those outside the church? (Leaders – How about “invite Jesus into your heart,” “washed in the blood,” “get in the Word,” etc.)

  10. ASK A FEW: Why do you think Paul was “timid” and “trembling” when he interacted with the church in Corinth?

  11. ASK A FEW: Paul said he only talked about one thing while he was with them: Jesus and His crucifixion. How does focusing on Jesus Christ and His crucifixion in our words and actions help us communicate our faith more clearly?

  12. ASK A FEW: What does it mean to rely on the Holy Spirit, like Paul did?

  13. ASK A FEW: What is the difference between “human wisdom” and “the power of God” when it comes to talking about Jesus and our faith?

  14. ASK A FEW: Is Paul saying that we shouldn’t try to be clever or persuasive when we share the gospel? Why or why not?

  15. ASK A FEW: How should we change our message so the world doesn’t see silliness like we saw in the video clip?

  16. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Who are you going to talk to about Jesus in the coming week, and what are you going to say?

Wrap Up:
As funny as that video clip from the NFL was, it’s not funny at all when we Christians are guilty of communicating either a confusing or ridiculous message when it comes to our faith. Our message is far too important to come off silly. Yeah, we can have a good time, and we can certainly have fun, but when the rubber meets the road, we need to make sure others understand us when we talk about Jesus.

One way to avoid these scenarios is to be more aware of how we sound when we actually talk about our faith, so let’s take a few minutes and look at our own “video” so to speak.


Divide the students into pairs, and then ask them to take turns talking about various spiritual subjects for two minutes at a time. (Here are a couple of topics they can talk about: their testimony, salvation, the cross, baptism, faith, the Bible, prayer, etc.) Have the listeners tune in for any “bad lip reading” that the talker uses. When they are done, reverse it and have the listener talk for two minutes while the talker now listens. Repeat as many times as you can in the allotted time.

As we wrap up our time together, let me say this, no matter how good or bad you were at talking about your faith, you can get better. So, if you sounded just as silly as those guys from the clip, relax, you can study and practice and get better at talking about your faith. It will just take a little time and diligence, that’s all. But it’s worth every bit of attention you give it.

Close in Prayer

Written by Lane Palmer

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