Expand

Pastor Launches a Beach Bar Church Movement

Here’s an interesting look at Florida-based pastor Jack Kale, who has launched his own “Beach Bar” church movement “based on simple worship and an organic lay leadership structure.” Four years ago he founded the “Worship at the Water" with the Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church, and now, after leaving the UMC, he’s set out to launch the all new “Central Waterside Church at Bimini Beach Bar.” According to Kale, the outdoor services that take place at a Tiki-bar-like setting are meant to draw crowds that wouldn’t typically be attracted to traditional churches (probably like hardcore Jimmy Buffett fans). “God is moving in a church without walls where people are already comfortable. People who will never go to a regular church will go to a beach bar church … I think that beach bar and restaurant based worship centers are the future for Christian worship settings and I am excited to be leading the way with Central Waterside!" …

10 Comments

Edwin

4

Edwin commented…

Esther- I'm not diving into this bar scene venue yet. Every pastor bears the burden of reaching the lost and we feel the pressure from pop culture to be innovate and cutting edge, but to what end. We can blurr the boundaries so much that we don't look biblical anymore. I know that we can point to the verses where Jesus challenged the status quo by rejecting the conventional religious establishment and hanging out with the marginalized, however, I never saw the apostles blurr the boundaries of christianity to reach the popculture.

I want to mention two things about this trendy expression of Christianity. First of all as a pastor I have stood bedside to several tragedies that families have experianced as a result of alcohol. My sisters life was nearly ruined by the bottle and a few months ago I was driving by our church and I saw the chalk line of a body in the middle of the street where one innocent man was hit by an alleged drunk driver. I could place a bottle of Dos Equis or a Bud Light in our church pews and I could attract a large crowd to our church- but would I be achieving the long term goal of discipleship or just drawing a crowed.

Secondly, I stand with pastors who feel the pressures of pop culture to be something different than we are called to be. I stand with you in courage and kneel with you in prayer, knowing that the church has been effective in standing on the Written Word- the Bible and the Living Word-Jesus. Let's not change gears now!!!!

E H +

Reade Arneson Gosen

8

Reade Arneson Gosen replied to Edwin 's comment

Hey Edwin!

First of all, thank you for your entry; this is an issue that Christians really ought to spend time thinking about and so I appreciate you getting us thinking! However, I think we need to rethink what the biblical "boundaries of Christianity" are insofar as alcohol is concerned. Jesus' first recorded miracle in John was supplying a wedding party with wine. Strong, good wine at that, after people had already drank up all the wine at the party. Jesus used wine as a means of explaining the Kingdom in parables. Jesus used wine in his institution of the Last Supper.

Of course this isn't to say that, if we greenlight the use of alcohol and allow its presence within a Christian worldview at the most basic level, we don't need to apply prayer and discretion as we sort out what a faithful and submissive use of alcohol will look like or how our use of alcohol will affect ourselves or others. The bible also contains passages that promote self-constraint where alcohol use is specifically spoken to, and we should pay attention to such passages! But to make a blanket statement saying that alcohol and following Jesus have nothing to do with each other is unbiblical and an overreaction to an otherwise good instinct.

I, like you, have both immediate and extended family members who continue to struggle with alcohol abuse, so please don't paint me as ignorant in this area. Concerning alcohol abuse, let's pay attention to the word 'abuse'. It seems implicit that if you can abuse something, it is also theoretically possible to engage it without abusing it. Granted, there are some of us for whom it is better to abstain from using alcohol altogether. But the flaw here isn't with alcohol, the flaw is with us. And we all have flaws, whether they center around alcohol abuse or something else.

If we carry out this absolutist logic, we might make the statement that people shouldn't have sex on the grounds that rape and prostitution exist. Biblically, sex, like alcohol, has appropriate uses and harmful ones. Even more abstractly, you could also think of something totally random like a rope; a rope has many ethically permissible uses and promotes life and health when you use it to draw water out of a well or to save a person who's drowning. On the other hand, if you hang somebody with a rope then you've perverted a thing whose very basic existence is not evil.

Now, I don't know the heart of this pastor or how alcohol is being used at the gatherings he facilitates. But, given the information at hand, for us to sit here and say absolutely that he's watering down or cheapening the gospel simply because alcohol is present at his gatherings is both divisive and pharisaical.

Jesus didn't come to modify our behavior, he came to modify our hearts. Jesus continually condemned the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day for having an approach to righteousness that was completely backwards; they sought to attain it by a careful arrangement of their outward actions. Jesus just wanted people to know God. He knew that this transformation starts not on the outside of a person, but in a person's deepest and most inwards parts.

So, I think a much better thing to do would be to pray for the guy, that he might humbly and confidently and clearly communicate the good news of Jesus. We should pray for the people who are showing up at his gatherings as well, that they might hear the gospel and believe it!

Jeremy Olson

6

Jeremy Olson commented…

great, that's all we need. more watered down christianity. Where is the revererance??

Jason Barnes

19

Jason Barnes replied to Jeremy Olson's comment

I don't think having a beach bar church is watering down Christianity at all, he's not advocating alcohol or excessive drinking in anyway. Think how many people will be reached by this awesome concept. Paul went to worse places, Bible says, he went to Corinth where EVERYONE was into idolatry. God uses it to save just one person thank Him! it will be interesting to see how it works out. God used the Roman Empire for the furthering of the Gospel, don't underestimate HIm!

Edwin

4

Edwin replied to Jason Barnes's comment

Jason,
Hold on a bit! First of all Jeremy's comment was a little sharp, but he has a point. As a pastor in urban Southern California, I feel the pressure to be "cutting-edge" and innovative- that pressure is counterbalanced by a conviction that we need to be christian and biblical- if we compramise our values to draw a crowd what did we accomplish? I remember a sister church could not find a place to meet and they had to meet in a pool hall and a night club and God's spirit moved and transformed hearts. It was a glorious work and the church is the largest church in the city now and one of the largest in California.

Now what if that church opened a bar and a night club to have church, or a church opening a bar to supplement income? That is absurd!!! Let God's Spirit grow the church. The church has survived through enormous obstacles by trusting the inspiration of the Spirit.

Why should we change now?

EH +

Reade Arneson Gosen

8

Reade Arneson Gosen replied to Edwin 's comment

Hey Jeremy!

First of all, thank you for your entry; this is an issue that Christians really ought to spend time thinking about and so I appreciate you getting us thinking! However, I think we need to rethink what the biblical "boundaries of Christianity" are insofar as alcohol is concerned. Jesus' first recorded miracle in John was supplying a wedding party with wine. Strong, good wine at that, after people had already drank up all the wine at the party. Jesus used wine as a means of explaining the Kingdom in parables. Jesus used wine in his institution of the Last Supper.

Of course this isn't to say that, if we greenlight the use of alcohol and allow its presence within a Christian worldview at the most basic level, we don't need to apply prayer and discretion as we sort out what a faithful and submissive use of alcohol will look like or how our use of alcohol will affect ourselves or others. The bible also contains passages that promote self-constraint where alcohol use is specifically spoken to, and we should pay attention to such passages! But to make a blanket statement saying that alcohol and following Jesus have nothing to do with each other is unbiblical and an overreaction to an otherwise good instinct.

I have both immediate and extended family members who continue to struggle with alcohol abuse, so please don't paint me as ignorant in this area. Concerning alcohol abuse, let's pay attention to the word 'abuse'. It seems implicit that if you can abuse something, it is also theoretically possible to engage it without abusing it. Granted, there are some of us for whom it is better to abstain from using alcohol altogether. But the flaw here isn't with alcohol, the flaw is with us. And we all have flaws, whether they center around alcohol abuse or something else.

If we carry out this absolutist logic, we might make the statement that people shouldn't have sex on the grounds that rape and prostitution exist. Biblically, sex, like alcohol, has appropriate uses and harmful ones. Even more abstractly, you could also think of something totally random like a rope; a rope has many ethically permissible uses and promotes life and health when you use it to draw water out of a well or to save a person who's drowning. On the other hand, if you hang somebody with a rope then you've perverted a thing whose very basic existence is not evil.

Now, I don't know the heart of this pastor or how alcohol is being used at the gatherings he facilitates. But, given the information at hand, for us to sit here and say absolutely that he's watering down or cheapening the gospel simply because alcohol is present at his gatherings is both divisive and pharisaical.

Jesus didn't come to modify our behavior, he came to modify our hearts. Jesus continually condemned the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day for having an approach to righteousness that was completely backwards; they sought to attain it by a careful arrangement of their outward actions. Jesus just wanted people to know God. He knew that this transformation starts not on the outside of a person, but in a person's deepest and most inwards parts.

So, I think a much better thing to do would be to pray for the guy, that he might humbly and confidently and clearly communicate the good news of Jesus. We should pray for the people who are showing up at his gatherings as well, that they might hear the gospel and believe it!

Rachel Moore

1

Rachel Moore commented…

So having church where the people are is wrong? Alcohol is never served at the Worship on the Water services. It is a way to get people to church who would otherwise not attend. Jack's messages are heart felt and wonderful. I love these services and not because of where they are but because they arent in a stuffy old building. And the argument that having church in a bar (it is just a building or no building) will not make people turn to alcohol. If one is going to abuse alcohol they are going to do it no matter what. Jesus held his services where ever the people were most comfortable. To have a service go from 100 people to 400 plus just shows that it is an area that needs to be served. Many people wont go to service if it is in a church building because you have to get dressed up and it always seems very stuffy. Having service outside is a wonderful way to go and draws in those who otherwise would not go. And Jack's services are not watered down, it is just a relaxed atmosphere to learn the Gospel. We should reach out to people and bring them in where ever they will come in to hear the Gospel.

Glenda

27

Glenda commented…

I think those who oppose the concept may not be really clear about how it works. I visited two different venues in the UK that kind of embraced this concept. One was a weekly Hillsong meeting for young adults in a Bar in London. They rented out the bar for the night and held a mixer (where you could buy drinks) followed by a profound, reverent and effective Bible study (many answered the altar call at the end). As it has been repeated over and over again, the purpose is to reach those who would not likely step into a church and to provide an opportunity for community. The other place I visited is a not a bar per se, but it is on the beach, Tubestation in Cornwall, during the summer they have to take the service out of the church bulding (which serves as a restaurant, game room and has a skating ramp in place of a pulpit) because so many people come, many to reconnect with faith after a long time away, and I am sure they are inspired by the surrounding nature.

Yes, alcohol ABUSE is an issue, reverence is important, but I would not dismiss this concept if truly "biblical" values (and I am not talking about mere tradition or evangelical-conservative-north-american-values) are held.

Michael

1

Michael commented…

Philippians 1:15-18
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter?

The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

Please log in or register to comment

Log In