In what many call the emerging church, there is an attempt to meet people where they are and offer them Christ, especially people who have never known the love of God, or people who have been involved with church and left out of frustration, ie. the “nones and the dones.” In my research of how different groups are approaching this attempt to reach the nones and the dones, I ran across an organization known as Beer and Hymns. Apparently, these groups exist in numerous places across the United States, and are held everywhere from a tent, to a festival, to a local tavern. And I was intrigued by what I saw.
Raw and real fellowship. I am not ashamed to admit that I sat in my college office and cried as I listened to “Be Thou My Vision” from one of these events. No expectations. No judgement. Just joyful voices raised together in praise of God. I can only imagine that the sound is glorious to the Creator’s ears to hear people singing God’s praises who maybe haven’t done that in a very long time.
This is the emerging church. Meet people where they are and give them what they need. No bulletins. Spontaneous prayer. So simple, and yet exactly what Jesus modeled for us when he taught and ate with sinners. It might not be perfect, but it is definitely worth a look. And it might just be the heart and soul of outreach which so many churches have been looking for.
“We gather. We socialize (including drinking, but no pressure, water and sodas are available as well). We sing. We meet new people. We are friendly to each other.” Beer and Hymns Nashville, TN
“Beer and Hymns Orange County is a casual gathering of people who like the idea of singing old-school hymns over a beer (or soda if you’re sober.) It’s an all-inclusive space for people from all walks of life.” Beer and Hymns Orange County
“The Gathering is an idea that is becoming a reality. An eclectic group of people from all walks of life — at different points in their journey — coming together, seeking a community that loves God and neighbors alike, as Jesus taught.” Beer and Hymns Fargo ND
17 When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”