A Pastors Perspective,On Being A Fan


By: Mike Upchurch

On Being A Fan

I was texting with a friend the other day and expressing the way I view being a fan of various Sports Teams. I’ve never been one who supported a Team regardless who played with them. I’m probably a little odd, ok maybe a lot odd, but for me, it’s always been about the individual personalities on the Teams that had me following or cheering any particular Team. I remember being a rabid fan of the New York Yankees in the late nineties and early 2000’s. I played Little League Baseball growing up and then Softball till around ‘95, and I’d loved baseball. Back then, when watching MLB, I identified with almost every player on the 1996-2002 Yankees, and had true heroes within those guys. The stellar lineup of the Yankees during those years was Tino Martinez at first, Chuck Knoblauch at second (but I wasn’t a fan of his), Derek Jeter at Short, Wade Boggs at third, (and then Scott Brosius took over in 1998), Paul O’Neil was in RF (loved that guy, he played hurt, which was a lot, and played well), Bernie Williams was out in Centerfield, they rotated utility players in LF, and Joe Girardi and Jorge Posada were starting catchers. And who could top their pitching staff back then? David Cone, Andy Pettitte, David ‘Boomer’ Wells, Roger Clemens, and the best ever closer in baseball with a 99+ mph fastball, Mariano Rivera. These Bronx Bombers were MY guys! Those guys won four World Series Championships between 1996 and 2000! Then, as teams do, they started trading players. Before I knew it, I didn’t recognize the Team at all anymore, except for a couple of Pitchers and of course Jeter. Joe Girardi was hired as Manager when Joe Torre left for the Dodgers, and though I still watched now and then, it just wasn’t the same. I wasn’t a loyal Yankees fan, I was a fan of the individual players and now they were gone. I haven’t watched a game of theirs in years.

It’s always been that way for me. I really enjoyed the Mummy Movies with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. But when they released the third Mummy movie, they replaced Rachel Weisz with Maria Bello. What?? I totally lost interest. I had bonded with Brendan and Rachel. They were believable. I loved them and how they interacted, and how they won battles against their enemies together, but I didn’t gush over the movies necessarily. But with the third movie, this loving couple had been separated by Hollywood and now they were trying to pass this “other woman”, Maria, off as Rachel. No thanks. Not for me. Haven’t watched the movie since.

I’m also the same way in Racing. I follow individuals, not classes. In Indy Cars it was Bobby Rahal. He was the only reason I EVER watched an Indy race. I love Top Fuel in the NHRA because six time World Champ Clay Millican races in it. We raced together years ago when Clay was just starting out, and we’re still friends to this day; this man is my hero! I watch Top Fuel because of him! So if he goes out early in eliminations, I’m done. The rest of the finals might be on TV, but I’m just casually watching. I have other favorites too; in Nitro Funny Car it’s Robert Hight, in Pro Stock, Bo Butner, and it’s Eddie Krawiec Jr in PSM. If they lose, I’m flipping the channels. It’s personalities for me. It’s people, individual people, that I have connected with somehow, that have my adoration and not the sport or the Sanctioning Bodies. NASCAR? Dale Sr & Jr, DW, Bobby Labonte, Kenny Schrader, Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett and a few others. These were men, real men, and most were humble men (ok Dale Sr wasn’t real humble nor was DW lol) but they’re all gone from the Sport and guess who doesn’t watch anymore. I’m just not very loyal to the organizations, but rather the people I identify with who are within them.

Now to Church. Yes, I said all that to say this! I’m not a big fan of Church as usual, especially if that Church is dry and dusty and steeped in tradition. Not a fan of certain styles of preachers. I don’t follow any one particular Pastor although many are my friends. I’m not loyal to any single Denomination. I am not a fan of Church, I am a fan of one person. That person is why I am even involved in Churches at all. This one person is who I follow. If you say or do something that leaves him out, I’m just not that interested. Sometimes I’m even totally turned off. If you’re a News Anchor or media Commentator and you don’t recognize the importance of who he is, or don’t support him, or you make light of him, I’m turning you off pretty quickly.
This one person that has my loyalty?

Jesus Christ.

The Son of God. The second person of the Trinity. The Alpha and Omega. That guy. Plain and simple. I’m not about Church, I’m about Jesus. I don’t particularly like songs that aren’t about him. Be prepared to be offended, but I don’t like songs like “I’ll fly away” or “When the roll is called up yonder” or “I’ve got a mansion”. Why? They’re not about Jesus, they’re about us! Why would you sing a worship song about us? Who are we? Can we save ourselves?? If it’s not about Jesus, I’ve tuned out.

If you were attempting to tell your mate how much you loved them, would you talk about yourself? No. You would talk about how wonderful THEY are! It’s the same with Jesus. It’s about Him! He’s never going to be traded. He won’t ever be fired. He’s not going to resign. He’s the King. As a matter of fact, the King of every King and the Lord of every Lord! Forever! If you want to impress me with your preaching, tell me about Jesus. He’s my hero! He should be the focus and at the center of everything a Church does.

I remember being upset years ago when I learned the Sanctuary of the Church I attended at that time was being used by a secular group to hold business meetings during the week. I complained about it and was told it was ok because they were big tithers. No, it wasn’t okay. Not to me. That was the Sanctuary. It was Holy Ground on Sundays and it was Holy Ground to me every day. It was a sacred place. I used to go in there during the week when no one else was around and just pray. I could feel His presence there. There was a silence in there I loved. We called it a Holy Hush back then. It was where HE was! It was no place for people to stragetize about making money! I got over that eventually, because it was after all just a building, but folks it’s still about Jesus. Church should be about Jesus. Church buildings should be about Jesus. If you don’t agree I understand, but if you don’t make it about Him, I’m just not interested. I’m a fan of His, and not of programs that don’t involve Him. I don’t expect you to agree, but don’t expect me to be all fired up about something you’re doing in the Kingdom if it’s not about Him.

And that’s the way I see it!

Pastor Mike