Last night was my first experience at a Massillon Football game…an utterly and totally wowing experience. I left the house at 6:30pm with a feeling of anticipation that I was going to experience something completely different. We arrived at 6:45pm so that we could purchase tickets and find our seats with plenty of time to see the pre-game festivities. As Brett Fogle and I approached the mammoth stadium, I was struck at how beautiful the building was in the setting sun. It was 70 degrees outside and as clear as it could be! As we joined the crowds of people making their way to the game, the anticipation began to grow. We purchased our tickets and found our seats four rows up from the field on the 50-yard line. We sat in eager anticipation with choice seats to experience the game.
If you haven’t been to a home Massillon game, you need to go! The pre-game pageantry rivals many college football games and the night has the feel of an OSU game with its rich tradition and meticulous planning. The swing band marched onto the field and played the fight song. The football team ran out of the mouth of a 40 foot long, 15 foot tall Tiger Mouth tunnel, barreling past the towering 30 foot tall inflatable tiger, past the live tiger cub (yeah…a live tiger), through a paper banner and into the middle of the band. The adoring fans yelled and clapped and cheered. It was truly an experience. It cannot be relayed with words, pictures, or video. It must be lived to be understood.
The game itself was fun as well. Only the fireworks that went off after every touchdown rivaled the experience of watching the live replay of great plays on the beautiful scoreboard. I don’t have the time to relay all the experiences and beauty of the stadium and the feeling of community. But all of those moments paled in comparison to something truly amazing to behold: history.
We were playing very well. The Tigers were destroying the other team but in one of the few times they didn’t convert a third down, they were near the 50-yard line. Now Massillon has a talented kicker and so they sent the kicking team onto the field. This young man lined up for a field goal that would have been difficult for any college kicker. With fierce determination he charged the ball and kicked. The crowd stilled. The ball soared through the air, crossing the distance between the kicker and the goal posts. The anticipation was palpable, the hope was growing as it moved closer and closer. The ball sailed through the uprights cleanly and the crowd jumped to their feet as the kicker jumped and pumped his fist around his teammates. The celebration was full of joy! The kicker had set a school record and a state record for the longest field goal kicked in a game at a whopping 58 yards.
History happened! It was experienced as a community. It was truly a “you had to be there moment”. This is what is happening in Massillon on the Living Water campus. We are launching a campus and it isn’t just a building, it is a community and it is part of a plan. God’s plan is do his work in Massillon! God is going to make history in people's lives. There will be lives that are on a one-way journey to destruction and death. In a moment, God will reach down into their lives and radically and supernaturally turn it around. People will be healed physically and spiritually, they will be encouraged, and they will grow. Joy will live in the community! The question is “Will you be there to witness it?”
You have to be present to witness. Being a part of Massillon campus by committing to a year of attendance, volunteering during the clean up and construction, serving during our first gatherings will position you to experience history, to be a witness to the power of God. Experiencing the field goal kick through word of mouth or picture or even video will never compare to being present to witness it. We will all celebrate as Living Water Church when God moves in Massillon. But those of us who are there physically will witness history. We will all celebrate as a church, but those who witness it will say “You had to be there!”
The next Massillon Team meeting is Tuesday September 23rd at 6:30pm and the next workday is Saturday September 27ths from 8am-2pm. Contact Nathan@lwchurch.com to find out more about Massillon.