Christian Groups See Opportunity at Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is not usually considered a spiritual experience. But Baptist minister David Garrett -- who heads the Jacksonville Baptist Association's Super Bowl Ministry -- believes the game offers a prime opportunity for evangelizing.

"We love our city and we love our savior," he said, "and we can serve both at the same time."

Garrett's group has recruited roughly 2,000 local believers to welcome visitors at the airport, to sign up as staff at the NFL Experience, an "interactive theme park" the NFL is running near the Super Bowl, and to report for volunteer grunt work at the game venue. They have 200,000 pieces of promotional material ready to distribute.

The group's volunteers say they hope they can make a difference after last year's event, when Janet Jackson bared a breast during the halftime show. "Just by us being here, maybe we can set a positive example and change what happened last year," said Jennifer Eliot, one of the volunteers.

Spreading the Message

Christians have been volunteering at the Super Bowl for years. By attaching themselves to secular events, they hope to spread their message to people who don't usually go to church to hear it.

This year's Christian participation appears to be bigger and more intense, in part, because Jacksonville is a very religious community.

On a drive through town, practically every other building seems to bear the name "Baptist," and the local newspaper, The Florida Times-Union, features a daily scripture passage on its editorial page.

Garrett admits there is concern that he is trying to push religion on unsuspecting fans.

'Leave Our Game Alone'

"I've gotten e-mails actually," he said. "And that's what they say: Leave our football game alone."

"We don't force our message upon anybody," said youth minister Tom Burke. "We're just happy to be here -- happy to be part of the experience."

The group's volunteers say they only share their faith when appropriate and often evangelize simply by setting a Christ-like example of kindness.

"I think it happens through natural conversation, just by me saying, 'Hey, what's up?' And it goes from there," said one volunteer.

As one local pastor said: "This Super Bowl is like a big missionary project -- except the people are coming to us."

ABC News' Dan Harris filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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