New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow flew to Georgetown, Texas to celebrate Easter Sunday — with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 of his best friends, ABC News reports.
Tim Tebow requested permission to share his story of faith at Celebration Church’s Easter mass, according to Pastor Joe Champion. The appearance attracted an even larger crowd than the already 12,000 anticipated to attend. The church braced for influx of attendees, renting more than 100 buses, enlisting more than 1,200 volunteers and sprawling the service across a hill on church grounds. “Obviously it’s our Super Bowl,” Champion said. “Easter is the resurrection of Christ in which we celebrate in our faith.”
Parishioners and fans arrived in masses in Dallas Cowboy territory, donning Tebow’s latest jersey since he was traded from Denver to the Jets. A game of touch football preceded the service, with children lining up for Tebow’s signature “John 3:16” face-painting, according to the New York Times.
“In Christianity, it’s the Pope and Tebow right now,” Champion said. “We didn’t have enough room to handle the Pope.”
Tebow took to the pulpit about half way through the service, which featured live Christian music, speaking for about 20 minutes with Champion. “My biggest prayer is to kind of make that cool again,” Tebow said alluding to his patented “Tebowing,” or dropping to one knee in prayer – a move that’s become one of 2012’s biggest memes. “For a high school kid to get on a knee and pray and it’s not something that’s unique or different and that it’s O.K. to be outspoken about your faith.”
Though professional athletes have often publicly professed their faith, Tebow is the first active player to preach at an Easter Sunday sermon.