View Full Version : Go to Church: Have a Beer!

02-01-2007, 02:31 PM
Apologies if this has been posted before. With all the religious slanted posts we've been wrestling with on the CP lately, I found this story to be quite interesting. A freind of mine from St. Louis sent it to me from last Saturday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A branch of the Missouri Baptist Convention has started a ministry aimed at 20-somethings that have discussion groups in a brewery, and they DRINK BEER!

Imagine, church people in St. Louis drinking beer....

Anyway, I thought this was a very interesting article. Would you be OK with your church youth group meeting in a bar? Discuss!

Beer and the Bible

By Tim Townsend
Saturday, Jan. 27 2007

In a back room at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood, about 50 people gathered
on a recent Wednesday night to talk rock 'n' roll.

Why are Bob Marley and Kurt Cobain considered by some to be messiahs? When did
rock music lose its edge and become another product manufactured and marketed
by huge conglomerates such as Viacom?

It was a conversation perfectly suited to the setting. Beer-stained wooden
tables and the smell of hops complemented a free-flowing, spirited debate among
hip young people in scruffy beards and T-shirts.

In 2007, this is church.

Theology at the Bottleworks is run by a wildly successful congregation of young
St. Louisans called The Journey. The Schlafly program is part of the church's
outreach ministry. And it works.

Every month dozens show up at the brewpub to drink beer and talk about issues
ranging from racism in St. Louis to modern art controversies to the debate
about embryonic stem cell research. First-timers are invited to check out the
church on Sunday, and Journey leaders say many have. Theology at the
Bottleworks is just one of The Journey's ministries, but it has helped the
church grow from 30 members in late 2002 to 1,300 today.

The Rev. Darrin Patrick, The Journey's founder and lead pastor, says its
nontraditional approach is aimed at those who are not likely to attend church.

"We want to go where people are," he said. "We don't expect them to come to

For nearly two years, the beer ministry has brought new members to the church.
Now it's being called unbiblical. The Journey defines itself as an
interdenominational church, but it has a working relationship with the Missouri
Baptist Convention. That confederation of Baptist churches is the state arm of
the largest Protestant denomination in the country, the theologically and
socially conservative Southern Baptist Convention.

In 2005, The Journey borrowed $200,000 from the Baptist organization to help
buy and renovate a former Catholic church in St. Louis. In December Baptist
leaders began questioning the church's methods of attracting worshippers,
specifically its use of alcohol.

At last year's annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, members
overwhelmingly reaffirmed their traditional stance on alcohol by passing a
resolution that expressed "our total opposition to the manufacturing,
advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages." Baptists
within the denomination who oppose such a strict view of alcohol use argue that
the Southern Baptist position is based on denominational tradition, not

A different appeal

The Journey is part of what sociologists of religion call the emerging church

"Emerging congregations offer a radically different style of worship that
appeals to certain kinds of young folks," said Scott L. Thumma of the Hartford
Institute for Religion Research.

The Rev. Bill Edwards, chairman of the Missouri Baptist Convention's church
planting subcommittee, said he had received a number of calls from Missouri
Baptists complaining about The Journey's website, some pages of which depict or
suggest drinking beer and wine. Last month, the organization's executive board
formed a committee to investigate The Journey and assess the Missouri Baptist
Convention's position on the emerging church movement.

Kerry Messer, a member of the Missouri Baptist Convention's executive board,
said that he had attended The Journey's December Theology at the Bottleworks
program and that what he had seen worried him.

"Beer being served as part of a church presentation sends mixed messages to the
community and causes confusion," Messer said. "Had we known about this before
the loan was approved, I would have openly spoken out against a financial
relationship being established."

The Journey, he said, represents "a movement that compromises the positions,
beliefs and doctrines of the Baptist church in order to attract people to

Praise for pastor

At the Missouri Baptist Convention's annual meeting in October, the
organization had a very different take on The Journey.

Executive director, the Rev. David Clippard, singled out the church in front of
1,200 Baptist leaders as an ideal model. Clippard noted The Journey's median
age of 29 and its explosive growth, raining praise on Patrick.

Patrick, 36, is a former star high school athlete from Marion, Ill., who found
himself in trouble one week in his junior year at Marion High. The
self-described "party jock" had been bounced from the football team for
drinking, suspended from school for fighting and believed his girlfriend was
pregnant. That's when Patrick turned to Jesus.

At Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., Patrick found he had a talent
for talking to people about God. He noticed that members of some crowds
particularly athletes and artists who were searching for spirituality didn't
connect with the traditional church structure.

After Patrick received his master's of divinity at Midwest Baptist Seminary in
Kansas City, his church there agreed to pay his salary for three years so
Patrick and his wife, Amie, could start The Journey.

The couple didn't know anyone in St. Louis, so Patrick spent months trawling
open-mike nights in Soulard for musicians and approaching strangers in
coffeehouses to ask if they'd like to come to church in his basement.

By late 2002 they had a core group of 30 members. By the end of 2003, the group
had grown to 120. The congregation had moved to rented space at the Center of
Clayton, then moved again to space at Hanley Road Baptist Church, also in
Clayton. Membership doubled in each of the next three years.

In December 2005, The Journey put down $425,000 to buy Holy Innocents Catholic
Church, west of Tower Grove Park, for $1.65 million, and spent another $500,000
to renovate the interior. Nearly half the down payment came from the Missouri
Baptist Convention loan.

Patrick and his congregation moved into their new church in May and have
already outgrown it. Two packed Sunday morning services are supplemented with a
Sunday evening service back at Hanley Road Baptist Church. Another Sunday
morning service will begin in west St. Louis County next month.

The Journey also starts, or "plants," new churches outside The Journey brand
name. In September it planted the Refuge Church in St. Charles; it is scouting
sites in Illinois.

Sense of belonging

On a recent Sunday, 500 twenty-somethings, dressed in jeans and fleece jackets,
carried Starbucks cups and dog-eared Bibles into The Journey's nave before the
11 a.m. service, greeting each other with hugs and handshakes.

The music of Sufjan Stevens poured through the sound system as church notices
flashed on the big screen above the sanctuary and the four wide-screen plasma
monitors hanging above the pews. As the service began, a six-piece worship band
played a few rousing tunes and then Patrick, dressed in khakis and a brown
sweater, began to preach.

For an hour, Patrick cited Genesis, Proverbs, Ephesians and 1 Corinthians to
drive home his message for this Sunday: Men like risk. Men need to be
challenged, and a "less-than-masculine" church is doing little to challenge
them. Men need to take responsibility for their lives, their families, their
spiritual well-being.

The goal of many pastors in emerging churches is to make Christianity relevant
to young people. In his sermon, Patrick touched on a subject not often broached
from a traditional pulpit, telling married men in his pews, "The hottest sex in
St. Louis should be in your bedroom."

Its leaders' willingness to take on issues that directly relate to their lives
attracts many young people to The Journey.

"Younger people are looking for a sense of belonging," said church member Jason
Froderman, 25.

Patrick said all the Journey campuses were united in one mission: to serve the
poor in the city of St. Louis. That work puts The Journey and the Missouri
Baptist Convention on the same page, according to Patrick.

"We look at the Missouri Baptists as a group that wants to start churches and
help the poor," he said. It was this common mission that led to the $200,000
from the Baptist organization, which Patrick said was an unsolicited loan.

Despite opposition from some Missouri Baptists, Patrick said he would continue
working with the organization.

"When you partner with other people you invite conflict," he said. "But if
we're both going in the same general direction, why not link arms?"


02-01-2007, 02:38 PM
Bottleworks is a good place for HH in spring/summer/fall.
good patio bands....

02-01-2007, 02:42 PM
I go to Chabad some Friday evenings for services and dinner. Wine, beer and vodka is readily available after services during dinner and the rabbi gets smashed. :)

02-01-2007, 02:43 PM
I go to Chabad some Friday evenings for services and dinner. Wine, beer and vodka is readily available after services during dinner and the rabbi gets smashed. :)

Purim at the Chabbad House is off the hook

02-01-2007, 02:44 PM
My kind of church.

02-01-2007, 02:50 PM
Meh.....the Catholic church has been serving wine every Sunday for hundreds of years.

02-01-2007, 02:54 PM
I got a buddy in the Knights of Columbus in St. Charles and all they do is go to worship and get wasted.

NJ Chief Fan
02-01-2007, 03:56 PM
I will tell you this much, I do not worship the porcelain God.

02-01-2007, 04:11 PM
Better yet. Just go have a beer.

Pitt Gorilla
02-01-2007, 04:37 PM
I don't understand the Baptist affiliation. Perhaps they should look to Methodists or Catholics.

02-01-2007, 04:39 PM
My kind of church.
Here's another branch you might want to check out:

Dr. Johnny Fever
02-01-2007, 06:38 PM
I've drank beer along with several other people from my church, at our ministers house several times. He has a few bbq's a year.

We're a pretty laid back church in some ways.

chief husker
02-01-2007, 07:45 PM
Religion is the opiate of the masses - My dog Karl Marx