In a Bar?

I thought with what we’ve been talking about lately, this would be a good time to address the question, “Vince, why does one of your church campuses meet in a bar?” (In case you don’t know, one of our church campuses meets in a bar. We have a service there on Tuesday nights. The bar is open for business when we meet. The service is basically identical to our Sunday morning service. So, yes, we sing songs, preach a sermon, offer communion, take an offering.)

So why in a bar? Well, thinking back on last week … if you wanted to fish for sharks, where should you fish? You can go to the place where fish are, and hope some sharks are in the area. Another option is to hang out in your swimming pool and send postcards to the sharks inviting them to come for a visit. But I’m guessing the most effective place to fish for sharks is where the sharks are. And that’s why we meet in a bar.

Ironically we’ve had a few Christians who go to bars complain, saying it’s okay for them to go hang out in a bar, but it’s not okay for us to have “church” in a bar. I barely think that deserves a response, but briefly I would say that I’m pretty sure the New Testament teaches that wherever a Christian goes, he or she has brought God there, whether someone calls it “church” or not.

Other Christians complain, and these are the types who would never set foot in a bar. I understand their feeling cautious, and probably some of them shouldn’t go in a bar. But saying that no Christian can, that’s a bit extreme. Especially since Jesus hung out in drinking places with drinking people (to the extent that people accused him of being a drunkard).

By the way, I get to talk to a lot of future church planters and most would prefer to meet in a school to a movie theater. And I’ve heard some planters who meet in a theater but wish they could meet in a school. Let me just say this: That’s crazy. Our church has spent years in a theater and years in a school. And if you’re trying to reach lost people a theater is a better option hands down. Why? Because lost people hang out in movie theaters, they like theaters, they go to theaters. If you meet in one, you are going to them, meeting on their territory. That’s a very good thing. On the other hand, who graduates from High School and thinks, “I hope somehow I get a chance to go back. I just loved going to school so much, I can’t imagine not getting to hang out in a school building again”?

Sure, there are some challenges meeting in a movie theater, but they’re not nearly as significant as the challenge of meeting in a school, which is that lost people don’t want to go there.

So that’s it. I’m going to add another two posts that show pictures from our practice service in the bar. If you’ve got a minute, pray for the service we’re having in the bar tonight. It’s our first “official” service there. See ya next time.

And until then, get a theme song – you need one.

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