Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bibles and Beers! Interested?

Highlands Presbyterian is starting an outreach ministry to engage people who may not be in traditional pews on traditional days but have an abiding interest to understand their relationship with the Divine and with one another.
The church is one of the oldest living models of globalization. Its presence is more ubiquitous than Coca Cola or Chinese restaurants. For some, it is everywhere but for others it is nowhere!
Over more than 20 centuries, the church has passed through transformations and reformations. One thing is certain. With all the current forces at work on the souls of human beings, the church of the next generation will look considerably different than it does today.
Churches expend a lot of energy trying to figure out how to grow. We wring our hands at board meetings and attend special seminars. We design programs and think about new ways to use music and technology. We advertise, evangelicize, and sanitize. And yet the fastest growing segment of the faith is the group that calls themselves “unaffiliated.” Church folk bemoan the fact that these people are not in the sanctuary on Sunday with their children. They don’t follow our idea of church. Yet I know many to be morally upstanding, conscientious parents who support good causes, giving time and money to their community. Many of them are interested in spiritual development.
Recently I facebooked an inquiry. What kind of a spiritual gathering would you take time to attend? Surprisingly in spite of this generation’s technological savvy and all their twittering, texting and social networking, many said they would opt for some good old time hospitality. Some churches have responded to the virtual age by using technology such as PDA’s to question preachers during the service and virtual churches allowing congregants to continue sitting at their computer to “worship” on Sunday mornings.

But the folks who responded to me were looking for time to sit around a circle with friends, enjoying a soft drink or even a beer as they grew their spiritual sensibilities. They wanted a respite from the electronics that characterize their days. As you think about it, they are seeking to return to the days of the early church when people gathered in a hospitable setting, shared a meal and wine and talked, prayed and enjoyed one another.

So we are going to give it a try. Beginning May 16th, Highlands will sponsor a weekly happy hour called “Beers and Bibles.” Anyone (21 years and older!) interested is welcome. Bring an open mind, a desire to listen and learn and enough money to pick up your own tab. We’ll meet at 5:30 till 6:30 at Uncle Charlie’s.  I know this may not be for everybody, but then I know of no single spiritual experience that is.

Rev. Rodger McDaniel is the pastor at Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne. He has a Law Degree from the
University of Wyoming and a Masters of Divinity Degree from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. He may be contacted at

1 comment:

  1. I'm the first commenter? You're kidding! I've had an active, vibrant relationship with God since 1972, and I've covered religion as a journalist since 1973. This may be the most brilliant idea I've heard in all that time. I wish you all the best with this activity, which I heard about on NPR. I'll stop in if I'm ever passing through at the right time!