Jul 24 2008

Can the Church Be More Like the Neighborhood Bar?

clay

Over the years I have heard various people who used to be in the bar scene before becoming Christ-followers say they would never go back to a life apart from Christ, but that they do miss the community they experienced with their drinking buddies.  Consider these words:

The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give his church.  It’s an imitation, dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is permissive, accepting, and inclusive fellowship.  It is unshockable.  It is democratic. You can tell people secrets and they usually don’t tell others or even want to.  The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because god has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.

With all my heart I believe that Christ wants his church to be… a fellowship where people can come in and say, “I’m sunk!  I’m beat!”  “I’ve had it!” (Bruce Larson and Keith Miller quoted in David: A Man of Passion and Destiny, Swindoll, p. 80)

What do you think?  How does it happen?  How does the church become that type of fellowship?