Beer at Church!
This is an older post, from May of last year, by Tony Campolo, about a church near London, England. This church basically has a block party every Saturday night, with a barrel of beer and a barrel of wine.
This is an amazing idea for a couple of reasons:
(1) The church members spend time with “outsiders” on neutral ground.
(2) The church members show that they care for the outsiders by inviting and offering to drive (it is no fun driving with a nasty hangover).
(3) This obviously works to get people to a place where they can learn about Jesus. As a Methodist, I would call this “prevenient ministry.” This is opening up a door and allowing the people to walk through it to be prepared for Justifying Grace, which allows them to make a decision to follow Christ. The key is that the church services, wherein they have 30-40 new people every week, needs to be set up as a Justifying (or decision-making) ministry, and have sanctifying (or discipling) ministries available as well for those who have made the decision to follow Christ. I do not know if that is the way that this church is set up, but I certainly hope it is.
I know that many people believe that alcohol is evil. Sadly, that is a very narrow mindset. If you or a family member or friend have had difficulty with alcohol in the past, I am very sorry. But to push extra requirements upon people in order to become a Christian (such as a no-alcohol stance) is spoken against specifically in the scriptures. If you choose not to drink, I respect that. But don’t try to weight down others with extra rules, for that is what the Pharisees did.