A few years ago I was an active member of an atheistic, freethinking group in my area. Their honest friendship humbled and challenged me in ways that were deeply formative. In fact, I often found myself growing more in my relationship with Jesus through their group than I did within Christian ministries! I longed to see a similar space created, led by Christians, where deeply formative conversations and relationships could be built with those who do not yet share our faith.
This space was later created when I partnered with a local brewery to start a monthly group in their building. Every month we gathered as many as 35 or 40 people to discuss important topics such as the nature of community, politics, the arts, or climate change. I was thankful for this neutral space and the opportunity to share faith in a natural setting.
Not everyone shared our excitement, however. Many were confused by the intent to go out and do ministry in a place like a brewery. I’ll never forget one conversation I had with an older Christian. After sharing what I believed God was doing through this unique ministry, he antagonistically shot back at me: Well what are you going to do once all these bar people are coming to your church!?