Pastor in a bar

On Friday night Sherri and I went to a local sports bar to meet a new friend and connect with a musician. This isn’t the first time I’ve met people in a bar, and I never walk away unchanged. I’ll share more about that later.

As we sat surrounded by smoke, profanity, and brokenness I had one thought consistently stay with me – “I want these guys to know God! I want to pastor a church where they would be likely to attend and participate.”

Anyhow, I twittered some of the experience as it unfolded. Here are my “real time” thoughts:

  1. @ a bar to meet a new friend & musician… he just introduced me to the whole bar as “pastor in the house.”
  2. now he just dedicated a song to sherri & me! oh… now i’m starting to hear about peoples religion stories. adventures of a pastor…
  3. now he’s singing “here i am to worship”. i wonder when the last time that was played in a bar?

Some further reflection upon these tweets:

  • The patrons were blown away and kind when they realized a pastor was in the house. I didn’t even have to pay for refills on our Pepsi’s (though I did leave a nice tip). Disclaimer: not everyone was sure how to respond and many didn’t, but the ones who did were splendid.
  • Everyone has a religious story. Most people are willing to tell it, and not ashamed of it either… even in a bar. How can we help people explore and share their stories? How can we help them connect to The Author?
  • I wonder if more worship would occur in unlikely places if God’s people were willing to show up in unlikely places?
  • People in a bar act as surprised when a preacher shows up as people in a lot of churches act when a pagan shows up. That’s bad on both counts.

So that’s my experience. What do you think? How far are you willing to go to connect with people?

BTW, you can follow the journey through Twitter by clicking here and then clicking “Follow.”

3 thoughts on “Pastor in a bar

  1. To categorize that “people in a bar” can’t possibly be religious or even know Jesus and that “people in a church” of course do is one of the biggest mistakes that we can make (from both sides). When we do, it’s an “us” vs “them” mentality (again, from both sides)

    I know a lot of church attenders who do a lot worse things than going to a bar! Maybe if we took off the “judgment hats” and began to see the people God created who are all on a journey together, people would not only find Christ, but also begin to live like Him.

    Are we afraid that people will consider us “one of them” if we step outside the bubble? When we fear what others will think, the focus is on us, and not on the people that we want to connect with! Wouldn’t it be nice if a pastor going to a bar to reach people wasn’t a big deal and “pagans” going to a church were welcomed and comfortable?

    Keep busting down those walls–I’m right there with ya!!

  2. It is funny that you right this because I pass a bar called “Riders” every night to work. They play darts there. I started thinking of practicing, then going in there and hanging out with the guys and building relationships.

    Rock on Paul, you keep me inspired and thinking. Keep it up.

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