First Nazarene Church used to start Sunday services with announcements and a generic welcome from the associate pastor. Now service starts with whirling spotlights, stadium music and a cougar mascot bounding down the center aisle slapping high fives and making "raise the roof" gestures.
"Adding Christian Cougar was a great move for us," says the pastor. "No one calls our church boring anymore."
Churches across the country are adopting mascots to pump up Sunday mornings and rally people in worship.
"Our new mascot energizes things," says pastor Del Richards of Valley Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., which just introduced Lift-Him-Up Lion.
On Sunday morning during worship time, the Lion rushes on stage and does the running man dance to "Blessed Be Your Name." He then makes "I can't hear you" motions and broad clapping gestures, then kneels with his hands raised when the songs turn slower.
Sure, it's satire now. But there's a liturgy committee somewhere that will read this article and treat it as gospel. Liturgy committees can be fooled into doing anything.