Theology Pubs & Tavern Talks: One of the things I enjoy most is helping to create spaces in public venues for people to gather together and discuss some of the important issues in their lives. I’ve found that one of the settings that helps best with that is a pub. So, at three different churches, I have created Theology Pubs (Tavern Talks was the name of the program at Winnetka). These gatherings have ranged from 4-5 people to 50 people. They have often turned into interfaith gatherings with Christians, Jews, Atheists and others coming together to talk about spirituality and life. It’s been a great way for me to connect with people both in my congregations and those who don’t feel comfortable entering a church. It’s also been a great way to connect with people in the community. You can read more about how he organized the Theology Pub in Ashland here.
Ashes to Go: For similar reasons as mentioned above, I was excited about the opportunity to do Ashes to Go on Ash Wednesday. Instead of assuming and/or expecting that people would just come to them at the church, I thought that the church should be taking the ashes OUT of the church to where people are. David (the senior pastor at Winnetka) and I met people at the train stations in Winnetka (IL) and gave them ashes before work (it was 5º out that morning). I also spent some time in downtown Winnetka in front of the Peet’s Coffee Shop, and ended up giving ashes to people both inside and outside of Peet’s. You can read more about the unique experience here.