A Pub Walk--For Jesus?

Valencia Pub 1.PNGA key concept when Communitas starts new churches is to prayerfully discern where the Holy Spirit is already at work in our city and to join Him there… even if it’s not in traditional places. What if the Spirit is drawing folks toward God—among people interested in craft beer? Would we lay aside any cultural hangups we have about beer in order to follow Him even there? For those of us in Valencia, Spain, this question became very real this year, and our answer was a clear “Yes, Lord!” 

What does it look like to be Jesus’ hands and feet among Millennials and Gen Xers in Valencia, Spain? In a nation of 45 Million, where 1.3% of the population proclaims Christ as Lord (compare that to China at 6% or the United States at 26%; statistics from Joshuaproject.org), redefining what “church” means to the next generations is key. Everyone has a preconceived notion of what “church” is: church equals big buildings and stodgy tradition. And they believe they know that it’s irrelevant to their lives.

Over the last year in our neighborhood in Valencia we have been drawn into relationships with several pub owners within the craft brewing world in Valencia. Our Communitas missional initiative (an emerging church) is deeply engaged in this neighborhood, and the Lord has clearly opened these doors with influential business owners. As we start a Christ-centered church here, our vision includes joining God in taking responsibility for the overall well-being of our neighborhood.  With that in mind, we dreamed of a “Pub Walk” that would connect these business owners with one another in a way that transcended the usual transactional (or even competitive) nature of their relationships. At the same time we wanted to help them by bringing more visibility to their industry in our city. We also used the Pub Walk as an opportunity to enlist these influential friends in a bigger vision for their neighborhood by giving a portion of the profits from the event to a local neighborhood charity that works with marginalized families (mostly immigrant woman and children)—a ministry where our team is already serving.  

The night of the Pub Walk went great! We wanted to offer a unique experience to customers by gathering in community at these local places of community.  What was offered was a half-pint of beer and a tapa (a small Spanish appetizer) at six different establishments and a group of strangers spending 6 hours in our neighborhood together. We were pleasantly surprised at how much everyone seemed to enjoy it--including several non-drinkers! 

Why would we do this? Our Pub Walk showed these influencers in our neighborhood that we care about what they care about… and that we want to help them. As we launch our church in this neighborhood of Valencia, it also opened up dialog about why our missional community is engaged with “the least of these” through the charity the owners supported with the Pub Walk. It clearly gave us a platform to speak our vision and heart alive to our friends as several of them asked why we, as a church, would be doing such a thing. We believe our friends felt cared for in the process and the feedback we received from those who walked the short route with us that evening has been highly positive. One participant even commented, "It's like you guys are going back to the way the church used to be... that’s pretty cool.” 

We recognize that not everyone would feel comfortable supporting craft beer pubs as a missional endeavor. But as Communitas, our heartbeat as we enter any new neighborhood is to seek where the Holy Spirit is already at work—and to join Him there. We believe that was the case even with this Pub Walk and ask you to join us in praying for God’s Kingdom to come here on Earth as it is in Heaven… in our neighborhood of Valencia. 

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