Hi everyone! We hope you are enjoying the fall season and are staying warm. We wanted to send a quick update about our Church In A Brewery activities. Your support has meant a lot to us and this past month in particular significantly helped prepare us for what we are about to do. Below is a videolog I created to share some stories about the people we’re meeting and a little about our mission. It will help you get an idea of where your support is making an impact and how you’re a part of shaping the future of church.
Nexus Church Planter Training Conference: On October 1-3, I was able to take two of our Brewery Ministries leaders to the ThinkNext conference in Dallas with a church-planting organization called Nexus. To say the conference made an impact on us is the understatement of the century. The focus of the conference was on managing the emotional and spiritual health of church leaders. It came at a good time too, because we’ll face a number of significant challenges as we try to establish our first brewery church. The Nexus conference itself was small with only 30 to 40 church-planters. This allowed us to ask more questions and get individual help from coaches, not to mention the support we received from other young church-planters.
The second day of the conference focused on our individual personality types, coping cycles and how to manage the differences on our team. In theory, the healthier we are as a team, the more effectively we can help others. For further study, Nexus recommended a book titled The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero which our team began reading and discussing. If the stories from the video above are any indication, it’s a tough world out there. The people we’re encountering are facing challenges so difficult and overwhelming that sometimes it may be tempting for Christians to just not get involved. Admittedly, it seems like sometimes it would be easier to just start a regular church, but we feel strongly that there’s a need here that God is asking us to help meet and we’re excited about it. It will be essential for us to continue learning to manage our emotional, spiritual and physical health going forward. We’re thankful that we were able to receive training and some tools to help prepare us for these challenges.
Developing Church In A Brewery meeting format and curriculum: In October our team began testing discussion formats for the upcoming public launch in March. A few decisions have been reached. Since many people are in different places in their own spiritual journeys, we decided to take them on two simultaneous journeys; a journey through scripture, and an investigation into the reliability of the Bible. It’s important that others learn who Jesus is but if they can’t trust the Bible, they may not form much of a relationship with Him. To address this problem, we decided to bounce back and forth between reading scripture together and examining the evidence for Christianity, alternating between the two topics every other week. A sample outline of the first few weeks might look like this:
- Week 1: Why are we here? (Who is Jesus? A look at who Jesus was and who He pursued from Mark Chapter 2)
- Week 2: Can we trust the Bible? Evidence for God from the Origin of the Universe
- Week 3: Introduction to the Book of Mark (About the author, reliability, and the bold claim it makes about Jesus).
- Week 4: Information in the Universe – Evidence for the existence of God (where it comes from, DNA, etc).
- Week 5: Mark 1:1-3: Jesus as the Son of God: Old Testament references in Mark 1, and why God came to Earth as a man.
- Week 6: The Existence of Justice and Mercy – Evidence for the Existence of God
- Week 7: Mark 1: The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus – What is temptation/spiritual discouragement?
As you can see in the above outline, we’re designing our curriculum for Church in a Brewery to help people trust what they are reading in scripture as we read it together. It will be flexible based on where the people we’re reaching are at, but hopefully you can get an idea of what we’re doing. We’ve also been testing out discussion formats. Below is an example of what the format of a typical evening will look like:
- Topic introduction – 15 to 20 min (example: Who is Jesus?)
- Discussion Questions – 30 min (attendees discuss three questions in small groups around tables. The questions are designed to help people begin to interact with scripture and evidence for Christianity on a personal level.)
- Q & A – 5 to 10 min (Nathan and the team will field and answer questions)
- Conclusion – 5 min (A short conclusion to help give people the major takeaway of the evening. This section is here to help people move toward viewing scripture accurately. We realize some wild ideas may come out during the discussion. The conclusion is designed to help address those ideas in a positive way, gently guiding people towards an accurate view of Jesus and scripture.)
- Social time – People are free to continue visiting and discussing until close (9 PM)
That brings our meeting to just over an hour in total length. Our test nights have been very exciting and have allowed for some great open discussion. We’re really looking forward to extending these discussions to more people.
Building Relationships with the Local Brewery: Our relationship with the brewery continues to grow. I have been asked to help book bands for events at the brewery including an anniversary party that took place on October 12th, a New Years Eve party and live music for 2020. We’re very excited to see how these relationships develop as our formal launch draws near.
Our team has also been developing a podcast as a way to connect with others who are wrestling with tough spiritual questions. We recently finished two episodes and will be recording a third episode in a couple of weeks. If you’d like to hear the podcast, visit breweryministries.org or look up “Church In A Brewery Podcast” in any podcast app. Also available on iTunes!
Thanksgiving meals – Our team will be cooking Thanksgiving meals for local gas station workers who have to work on Thanksgiving day. This is a way for us to reach out to others in the community and build relationships. We’ll also be cooking meals for the workers at the brewery where our Church In A Brewery meetings will be taking place. Friendships are beginning to develop with the brewery workers and we’re planning to share a meal with them on Thanksgiving Day. We’ll be serving more than 30 meals on Thanksgiving Day and the evening before.
Brewery Ministries to speak at Pastor’s Luncheon: Dec. 10th 2019 Our team was asked to present our vision at a Pastor’s luncheon in early December. This is a great opportunity for us to develop some partnerships with local churches. It’s been a goal of ours to involve established churches in our activities for support and team leadership in the future. The luncheon is a great step toward this goal. While the idea of a brewery church has been well-received by the public, it’s been a difficult concept for some churches to grasp. Meeting at a brewery has challenged traditional thinking. To some, it’s exciting and seems like something Jesus would do. I’m thrilled that my home church is very supportive and excited about our ministry. To others, it’s controversial and has made gaining support from local churches difficult. However, we remain committed to developing relationships with local churches and working towards future partnerships. That being said, we would really appreciate your prayers for our presentation at the luncheon and for future partnerships with local churches.
Thank you all so much for your continued support. We wouldn’t be able to continue without you and believe your support is making a difference in the lives of others! Please feel free to contact me or e-mail us if you have any questions.