California Church Preaches Gospel at the Bar … Beer Replaces Coffee
Churches, like businesses, are always trying to attract new faces. Some use tactics like providing coffee and sweets, or they boast a variety of different ministries for all age groups. Others have worship bands of rock star proportions and lots of digital technology to keep parishioners entertained. But a new church in San Jose, Calif., has a very different approach – it provides beer for attendees – after the service, of course.
Bill Jenkins, a native Londoner, calls his month-old church plant in northern California Urbanlife. They meet in downtown San Jose in a bar call the Loft Bar and Bistro at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. He told The Christian Post he wants to create “a safe environment for a dangerous message.”
“Most people that come to ours [church] wouldn’t touch a traditional church with a barge pole,” he said.
So he has made Urbanlife as unchurch-like as possible. Their website backs it up. “Urban life is a community of faith with no religious rites, rituals or man-made rules to trip you up,” it states.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t subscribe to any theology, even though the hour-long service doesn’t follow much of an order of worship. It’s simple, with Jenkins preaching a short message and then breaking the 20 or so attendees into small groups to talk, and later return as a large group to discuss what they talked about.
Since Jenkins is a former firefighter, he said his message this past Sunday tied in with the basic principles of fire. To have a fire you need three sides to a triangle: oxygen, heat and fuel. In his message, he compared the Christian life to a triangle, with fuel being the connection to God, oxygen being the connection to other believers and heat what we display to others outside the church.
After the service, people stick around and have a drink at the bar. Jenkins said this is where the real ministry takes place. People want to talk about their faith and their doubts. He likens it to his experiences with local pubs back in England and says he wants to create an atmosphere like it in San Jose. The local pub is “the hub of the community, where people feel comfortable.”
(Smith, "California Church Preaches Gospel at the Bar … Beer Replaces Coffee," The Christian Post, Nov. 01 2011).
[TBC: Jenkins states that there are no "man-made rules to trip you up," but his very philosophy is nothing but manmade rules designed to cater to the flesh. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (2 Timothy:4:3).]