DALLAS — Getting people in the pews on a normal Sunday can be a challenge for the clergy.
So imagine what it's like when church goes head-to-head with the NFL conference championship games.
In Southwest Dallas, The Potter's House saw this problem as an opportunity.
The youth service at the church is always lively, but this Sunday, the message — most definitely religious — sounded incredibly like a football rally.
"And the playbook is your Bible," said parishoner LaDonna Thompkins.
"And as a receiver, you have to receive the blessings from the Lord," added Sade' Lee. "Can I get an amen?"
Even though everyone agrees that Pastor Drew Castillo's messages are interesting, his penchant for wearing the jersey of New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson — instead of a suit and tie — might as well be sin for the rivalry it has created.
"You see in the church we are supposed to be together we are unequally yoked," said young parishioner Joshua Reed. "We are segregated by who's playing after church!"
Castillo makes no bones about it; he's a huge New York Jets fan, and a childhood friend of the former TCU standout who became the NFL's No. 5 all-time rusher.
Pastor Castillo even uses stories from their high school playing days to inspire his congregation.
"There's always these things that I've applied in my sermons and the things I taught my kids that I've learned from sports — especially football," he said.
After all, there are a lot of similarities between the 60 minutes they've spent in church and the 60 minutes of play on the field.
In life, sometimes you'll need a Hail Mary; a break when you feel blitzed; and the freedom to celebrate when victory comes your way.