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View Full Version : What do you think of a church in a bar?



adamshell
Apr 28th 2008, 07:42 PM
Recently, my fellowship at Penn State University has started a new church in a bar downtown called the Phyrst. We have named our church the "Phyrst Church" because it hearkens back to the first century church. What do you think? It has met a lot of criticism by people who have not attended because "a bar is no place to hold a worship service." We disagree by saying a bar is exactly the place to be holding a worship service... by taking it to the people.

What do you think?

karenoka27
Apr 28th 2008, 07:46 PM
Do the people that started this church drink at this bar along with everyone else?

Athanasius
Apr 28th 2008, 07:47 PM
And of 1 Corinthians 5? And of being above reproach?

daughter
Apr 28th 2008, 08:00 PM
If people are drinking during the service, it is disrespectful to say the least. I wouldn't hold a church service in a crack house, and really there's no difference.

However, if nobody is getting drunk during the service I don't think there's a problem - though personally I'm rather uncomfortable with the idea, for the reasons Xel-naga hints at.

Pastor Rodney
Apr 28th 2008, 08:14 PM
We opened Open Arms Outreach Ministries in Elkin NC in a former Pool Hall, we opened Jan 6th this year with 3 small families and today we have over 70 enrolled.
Just a thought, Where two or three are gathered in His name He will be there too

Pastor Rodney

www.openarmsoutreachministries.com (http://www.openarmsoutreachministries.com)

adamshell
Apr 28th 2008, 08:23 PM
Do the people that started this church drink at this bar along with everyone else?

Yes, people, including the preacher, drink but it is not a requirement and no one is getting drunk. The bar has actually trusted us enough to allow those under 21 years of age in the bar provided they do not drink alcohol and sit in a place away from the bar itself.

adamshell
Apr 28th 2008, 08:25 PM
If people are drinking during the service, it is disrespectful to say the least. I wouldn't hold a church service in a crack house, and really there's no difference.

However, if nobody is getting drunk during the service I don't think there's a problem - though personally I'm rather uncomfortable with the idea, for the reasons Xel-naga hints at.

And to respond to this, I'm certainly not opposed to holding a worship service in a crack house, however those are decidedly more difficult to find and because crack is illegal, I doubt we would condone participation by anyone.

Whispering Grace
Apr 28th 2008, 08:28 PM
Sounds like more seeker-sensitive madness to me.

adamshell
Apr 28th 2008, 08:41 PM
Seeker-sensitive in which way? Are you for or against?

daughter
Apr 28th 2008, 08:50 PM
Actually drinking during the service is a very bad idea. People with drink problems come to bars. What about causing your brother to stumble through your drinking? Maybe the pastor doesn't have a problem, but what about the clientel? You are normalising drinking. I'm not saying that Christians should never drink, but I would have thought that during some kind of service it's a really bad idea.

adamshell
Apr 28th 2008, 09:17 PM
This is a very good point, daughter, and I should have clarified. This bar is in a college town and is frequented by college students. Alcohol is flowing through the veins of the vast majority of people anyway and alcohol does not in any way play a significant role in the service at all. We are just patrons of the bar who also hold a church service. Does that change your opinion?

Whispering Grace
Apr 28th 2008, 10:30 PM
Seeker-sensitive in which way? Are you for or against?

Sharing the gospel with unbelievers in a bar is one thing. Worshiping the holy and righteous Lord of the universe in a bar is quite another. I can't fathom ever thinking such a thing is okay.

karenoka27
Apr 28th 2008, 10:59 PM
I'm disappointed that the pastor would drink along with them. It's one thing to be a testimony among the people, but it's another to join in and do what they are doing.

Athanasius
Apr 28th 2008, 11:35 PM
And of 1 Corinthians 5? And of being above reproach?

Any reason this was ignored? The church 'service' is to be for believers, not unbelievers. There are 'tares' along with the 'wheat', that's to be expected, and a portion of the service needs to be directed at those 'tares', but with that said, church is for believers.

adamshell
Apr 28th 2008, 11:54 PM
Any reason this was ignored? The church 'service' is to be for believers, not unbelievers. There are 'tares' along with the 'wheat', that's to be expected, and a portion of the service needs to be directed at those 'tares', but with that said, church is for believers.


What Paul writes here talks about sexual immorality and then goes on to include:

"But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." (v. 5:11 NIV)


The thing is, the people in our church are not drinking to excess, and the ones who might at another point of the week are not calling themselves brothers. We feel that we are bringing Jesus into the lives of these people just as Jesus went to places that were very questionable.

aurora77
Apr 28th 2008, 11:56 PM
Are you holding services while the bar is open? I think even having services while the bar is closed is odd, but having it while it's open is just plain bizarre to me. It's not a worship service then. I have heard of the "theology on tap" concept, which is more of a faith sharing/bible study group, not any kind of religious service. I think having some kind of worship service sets a bad example for non believers.

adamshell
Apr 29th 2008, 12:27 AM
We got the bar to open a few hours early so we could hold our service there. We have a bartender who serves drinks... he is a non-Christian but he pays attention to every service and we usually have a couple people who are sitting and talking without realizing that a church service is about to start.

karenoka27
Apr 29th 2008, 12:43 AM
Do you sing hymns or praises? just curious...

adamshell
Apr 29th 2008, 01:05 AM
We have a Christian musician who comes and plays in the background. Some people sing, others just talk through it. Some people do a mixture. We don't want to scare away non-Christians

aurora77
Apr 29th 2008, 02:20 AM
We have a bartender who serves drinks...
During the service? Nothing wrong with having a drink now and then, but during your church service? That's just too out there for me.

Athanasius
Apr 29th 2008, 02:50 AM
What Paul writes here talks about sexual immorality and then goes on to include:

"But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." (v. 5:11 NIV)

The thing is, the people in our church are not drinking to excess, and the ones who might at another point of the week are not calling themselves brothers. We feel that we are bringing Jesus into the lives of these people just as Jesus went to places that were very questionable.

Here's the thing--it says right in there about drunkenness. Do you think combining university students, 'church', bar, and a 'pastor' who drinks is the wisest thing to do? Hardly! You're going to cause young Christians to stumble! You're going to put those who did have a problem with alcohol in a very bad position to boot.

This is hardly 'first century church'. Though to add that there's a reason we call it the first century church--they couldn't do it any other way (and not in bars, either, in homes).

Matt14
Apr 29th 2008, 02:55 AM
Recently, my fellowship at Penn State University has started a new church in a bar downtown called the Phyrst. We have named our church the "Phyrst Church" because it hearkens back to the first century church. What do you think? It has met a lot of criticism by people who have not attended because "a bar is no place to hold a worship service." We disagree by saying a bar is exactly the place to be holding a worship service... by taking it to the people.

What do you think?
I think it would be similar to holding a worship service in a brothel.

Matt14
Apr 29th 2008, 02:58 AM
Sounds like more seeker-sensitive madness to me.

Yes. (15 characters)

doug3
Apr 29th 2008, 03:05 AM
Quote: Recently, my fellowship at Penn State University has started a new church in a bar downtown called the Phyrst. We have named our church the "Phyrst Church" because it hearkens back to the first century church. What do you think? It has met a lot of criticism by people who have not attended because "a bar is no place to hold a worship service." We disagree by saying a bar is exactly the place to be holding a worship service... by taking it to the people.

What do you think?
:eek: Totally wrong! :cry::giveup:-------------------------------------------

adamshell
Apr 29th 2008, 04:31 AM
Here's the thing--it says right in there about drunkenness. Do you think combining university students, 'church', bar, and a 'pastor' who drinks is the wisest thing to do? Hardly! You're going to cause young Christians to stumble! You're going to put those who did have a problem with alcohol in a very bad position to boot.

This is hardly 'first century church'. Though to add that there's a reason we call it the first century church--they couldn't do it any other way (and not in bars, either, in homes).

Drunkenness hardly implies casual drinking. No one gets drunk, I've never even seen someone get more than one drink and it's nothing more than beer (from what I've seen). Also, attendance is not mandatory. Anyone who does have a problem with alcohol should probably stay away from a bar, church or not.

Athanasius
Apr 29th 2008, 11:37 AM
Drunkenness hardly implies casual drinking. No one gets drunk, I've never even seen someone get more than one drink and it's nothing more than beer (from what I've seen). Also, attendance is not mandatory. Anyone who does have a problem with alcohol should probably stay away from a bar, church or not.

Sure, no one who is part of the church gets drunk (assuming they don't go back later). But I'm also sure there are plenty of people just visiting the bar that get drunk.

I know attendance is not mandatory, but do you understand how people think? You're turning this 'church' into something only certain, privileged people can attend. Lest we forget that the church is made up of very many sinners, including ex-alcoholics. Those who have an issue with drinking are going to, if they are not strong willed enough, rationalize their going to 'a' bar whether or not a church service is being held--because we all know the wonderful atmosphere Cheers™ presented.

Now either that or the alcoholic is not going to go and be completely dead set against this concept of a church in a bar exactly because of the struggle they once faced.

It's not a good thing.

walking4him
Apr 29th 2008, 12:26 PM
I don't at all agree with drinking while having service, but I say take it to the streets! Better to maybe influence one to come to Christ than to not bring anyone to the word.

daughter
Apr 29th 2008, 12:39 PM
I think we can guess who voted that it was a great idea... :rolleyes:

I agree, walking4him, we should take it to the streets. But this thread has slightly saddened me, because I imagine the original poster has not taken on board the scripturally based concerns of the respondants, and will probably walk off thinking that we're a bunch of pharisees and legalists. It's a real shame. I can't imagine this being a good witness. It may be very succesful and popular... but I am not entirely sure how many people will be genuinely converted by it. It seems like a gimmick to me, and cheapens the word of God.

By the way, I've witnessed in bars, so I know the gospel can be preached everywhere. But to mix worship and social drinking seems like a very bad idea.

Matt14
Apr 29th 2008, 02:45 PM
I wonder what the OP would think about a mainstream church service that was "BYOB." :hmm:

(Bring Your Own Bottle, for anyone who may not have heard the terminology before.)

What sort of witness to the world would Christians be if they were tossing back shots of whiskey while the message of the gospel is being preached?

walking4him
Apr 29th 2008, 03:42 PM
By the way, I've witnessed in bars, so I know the gospel can be preached everywhere. But to mix worship and social drinking seems like a very bad idea.

If people use people's intoxication to get them to do not good things, I'm for using it to lower their walls so that God can touch their hearts. I'm not saying the bar should provide or allow drinking during service, but I'm not going to let any opportunity go by where I can't share the word,

adamshell
Apr 29th 2008, 05:40 PM
I think we can guess who voted that it was a great idea... :rolleyes:

I agree, walking4him, we should take it to the streets. But this thread has slightly saddened me, because I imagine the original poster has not taken on board the scripturally based concerns of the respondants, and will probably walk off thinking that we're a bunch of pharisees and legalists. It's a real shame. I can't imagine this being a good witness. It may be very succesful and popular... but I am not entirely sure how many people will be genuinely converted by it. It seems like a gimmick to me, and cheapens the word of God.

By the way, I've witnessed in bars, so I know the gospel can be preached everywhere. But to mix worship and social drinking seems like a very bad idea.

I actually have not voted in the poll at all. No I do not think you are all Pharisees and legalists, and I'm sorry I saddened you, but we feel that we are being very responsible with the people who attend our church and we feel that they are responsible ourselves. We are going into ALL of the world and preaching, and what better place to do that than a bar? Like I said, I don't feel that we would stop if we could find a crack house either... we're always looking for more opportunities.

daughter
Apr 29th 2008, 05:47 PM
If people use people's intoxication to get them to do not good things, I'm for using it to lower their walls so that God can touch their hearts. I'm not saying the bar should provide or allow drinking during service, but I'm not going to let any opportunity go by where I can't share the word,
I've witnessed in bars as well. Some bars in the UK serve meals and are family friendly. I remember one time my son and I went in for a meal, and there were two soldiers just returned from Iraq who'd had rather too much to drink. They were perfectly friendly, but obviously needing to hear the good news. So myself and my then eleven year old son just sat and talked to them about Jesus. I'm almost one hundred percent convinced that one of them was genuinely seeking Jesus. He was an Irish man, and I'm Irish too. Hearing from an other Irish person, who didn't condemn him for having been part of this unpopular war, and hearing my son quote scripture to him, seemed to really get to him. He took a bible tract, and I felt at the time that God would save him.

So there's nothing wrong with witnessing in bars. In fact, I'd say it's necessary.

Playing Christian music quietly so as not to scare people away, and drinking during the service really does seem more dodgy to me.

Oh... I don't know any crack houses, but if I did, and if they'd let me in, I'd witness there too. But I wouldn't partake in the sin, not even just a little bit.

adamshell
Apr 29th 2008, 06:03 PM
First, I would not hit up crack at all either.

Second, I'm glad that we've at least reached some middle ground! Remember, a few hundred years ago, having a church service outside would have been unheard of. Perhaps we're just on the edge of a shifting scale, perhaps not. Either way, the church is the people of God and we're trying to follow God's Will. If God wants us out of there, we'll go, but we will press on until we get a no.

Thank you for your input, daughter

daughter
Apr 29th 2008, 06:33 PM
Well, there is no biblical basis for not having a service outside... Paul preached outside, so did the disciples and apostles in the first century. Saying it was wrong to preach outside couldn't have been defended biblically in the slightest, it was based on the traditions of man... and I suppose if it was in Britain an honest appraisal of our atrocious weather.

I've not been to one of your services, so in all honesty, I can't really comment. It still makes my skin crawl. But I do believe that the gospel should be preached everywhere. I remember the last time when I was at a political protest, when I thought I might be arrested, I was almost keen to taken away. It annoyed me, I've been wrongfully arrested in similar circumstances so many times... this time they decided to let me alone. (After beating me up, I hasten to add.)

I'd have been honoured to preach to the arresting officers and in the cells!

I don't attend that kind of rally anymore, but maybe I should. For the sake of the gospel... not politics.

JordanW
May 6th 2008, 06:51 AM
A bar is no place to hold a Worship service!

Equipped_4_Love
Oct 11th 2008, 11:22 PM
I don't think this is a good idea at all

Izdaari
Oct 16th 2008, 08:32 AM
I wouldn't think a bar would be the most suitable venue for a worship service... but I do think it'd be great for a small group meeting, maybe to discuss theology over beers. Martin Luther used to do a lot of that.

Esperanza32
Oct 16th 2008, 04:43 PM
To me, it seems disrespectful to down a beer while "worshiping" God in a designated "worship" service. It seems rude to any recovering alcoholics who might be there, but more so it seems rude to God. I mean, really! Are you there to have a drink, or to WORSHIP?

For just hanging out and casually talking about theology, sure, a bar might be OK...or for intentionally reaching out to non-believers, a bar could be a good venue for starting conversations...but for worshiping our creator/sustainor/savior????????

A church near my home serves espresso (and breakfast!) during their worship service, and people love it...and I think that's terribly inappropriate and disrespectful. I also don't think 10-year-olds should play with their Gameboys during the service...but don't get me started on that topic....oh my, I can already feel my blood pressure rising.

Emanate
Nov 21st 2008, 05:25 PM
Having a good buzz might make most of the preaching in today's christianity tolerable. Then again, one might argue with the preacher.

GitRDunn
Nov 22nd 2008, 07:41 AM
We opened Open Arms Outreach Ministries in Elkin NC in a former Pool Hall, we opened Jan 6th this year with 3 small families and today we have over 70 enrolled.
Just a thought, Where two or three are gathered in His name He will be there too

Pastor Rodney

www.openarmsoutreachministries.com (http://www.openarmsoutreachministries.com)
Very good point. While I don't think the drinking during the service is a good idea, I don't think there's a problem with sharing God's Word in a bar. We want everyone to have a chance to hear God's word.

sheina maidle
Nov 22nd 2008, 08:57 AM
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

You are bringing the world into the church. The born again child of God is to take the gospel TO the world, not bring the world into the church. The church is to equip believers to witness to the lost. Having a bar in a church WILL bring the lost to that church....and it is not the preaching of the gospel which is bringing them in...it is the lust of the flesh. And what brings them in will keep them there. Doesn't sound like this church is much different than the world.

Let me ask you this: What gospel are you preaching at that church? Are you teaching that one can be "comfortable" in the world on one hand and serve God with the other hand? One cannot serve God and mammon.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

As far as being a good witness:

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

MercyChild
Nov 22nd 2008, 01:28 PM
At first, I answered yes, but reading some posts, I cannot agree. Yes did Jesus not go and sit between the sinners, and No I think it would quite disrespectful to use liquor and trying to keep a place holy. But sharing the gospel with addictive people, I think we sometimes long to know the full truth! (speaking as an addict). People tend to push them away, but we have to keep in mind that Jesus came for everyone, and He instructed us to go and share the Word, He also did not speicify where. Believe me, if you start shearing the truth and nothing but the truth, people will feel rather uncomfortable to sin in His presence, without a doubt!

Connie Sue
Nov 22nd 2008, 04:47 PM
I think it is a very bad idea. It would be a bad idea to have a new born christain in a bar, and a bad idea to be around that, if you have had a problem with alcohol. Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witness, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which doth so easily beset If you have a burden for the drunkard why not preach the word on the street? ...........2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [theses things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. us, and let us run with patients the race that is set before us, Proverbs23:19-21 Hear thou, my son, and be not among winebidders; among riotous eaters of the flesh:

livingwaters
Nov 26th 2008, 03:42 AM
In my opinion, I don't think "feeling good" and having "numbed" thoughts, because of alcohol, glorifies JESUS!!! No where in the Word of God does it say that JESUS went into the synagogue or any other building to teach and preach about the ONE(GOD) who sent HIM and why GOD sent HIM, and who HE(JESUS) was, while enjoying a few drinks!! That's implausible!!!!!!!!!!!If you want to go to a bar to preach, only, that's fine...everyone needs to hear the Word. But, to go in a bar and drink with the lost and try to teach them the Word of God totally blows me away!! Do you think that Jesus went through the "Cross" for us to tell others about HIM in this "mockery" you mentioned???? I DON'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!
http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii245/hawkshock/the%20passion/28.jpg

Connie Sue
Nov 26th 2008, 04:12 AM
This is a gruesome site, and this he did for me. St. Matthew 27:29-31

Bob Carabbio
Nov 30th 2008, 08:18 AM
Properly done it's a fine idea. I know a fellow who's a SERIOUS Blues Guitar (Pat Coast) that quit being the song leader in his toxic Word of Faith CHurch and started a Blues band that plays in Bars, and shared the WOrd, and has Bible studies for interested folks. JEsus went where the "Rabble" was and brought life - why shouldn't we?????

JesusMySavior
Dec 4th 2008, 05:39 AM
Yes, people, including the preacher, drink but it is not a requirement and no one is getting drunk. The bar has actually trusted us enough to allow those under 21 years of age in the bar provided they do not drink alcohol and sit in a place away from the bar itself.

How is the world going to see a difference, when there is none? It's the difference that sets the world free.

Scripture counters this idea all over the place.

If you were to hold church in a bar, helping people come to Christ by showing them the light, that would be different. But to create an environment where an outsider couldn't tell the difference between the church-goer and the drunkard is extremely pathetic to say the least.

I'm sorry man but the Word of God binds you here.

cindylou
Dec 9th 2008, 04:34 PM
I'm sorry I didnt read the entire thread - but is this on a Sunday morning?

I dont know who wants to drink on a Sunday morning, but other than that I think its interesting

Dont know if I'd bring my kids there (if I had any)

tango
Dec 9th 2008, 06:52 PM
So much would depend on the context.

If we're talking a church meeting in a function room that happens to be in a bar/pub, I see no great issue with that.

If we're talking mingling with regular drinkers and trying to conduct praise and worship, I'd have more reservations. It's hard to sit in quiet reflection in a place that isn't normally conducive to peace and quiet. Some people, for whatever reason, feel uncomfortable in such settings and that alone is enough reason to seriously consider whether any given location is suitable.

Personally I don't have a problem with visiting bars in my own time, but when some folks within the church consider alcohol to be sinful and others are struggling with the demons of past addictions, putting it right in their face when they are suppoed to be worshipping has to be a Bad Thing.

James of Sunshine
Dec 9th 2008, 09:19 PM
Bars would certainly be a good place to find lost souls. Having some kind of legitimate Christian service in an open bar is foreign to my experience for sure. Having said that I can imagine that it's been done before. I saw a documentary once years ago where a hardboiled ex-con was preaching services in prisons and his method of outreach was to use the vernacular common to criminals i.e., he cursed like a sailor during the course of his message. He may have been able to make a point somewhere with some of them but like I say, seems strange to me. Must be a different kind of bar for the proprietor to even allow it. Peculiar. Come out from among them and be ye separate.

carissadawn
Dec 10th 2008, 03:25 AM
Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

The church itself may not be doing anything wrong, per se, but just the APPEARANCE of possibly doing something wrong/being in an innapropriate place could make the church questionable to others...I think it's a nice idea in theory but I imagine there are more biblical ways to "take it to the streets"?