We have to go where the people in need are at so why not a bar? Crosswalk reports on an original story by the Patriot-News that Chuck Kish, a senior pastor at the Bethel Assembly of God in Carlisle, is launching a program at the Market Cross Pub next month to put chaplains in bars. They will not be there to preach on the sins of excessive drinking nor to evangelize but rather to offer help to people who want it.
And what better place than a bar? True many go to a bar to relax, unwind and spend some quality time with friends. However, many others that frequent bars on a regular basis may be there to medicate problems they are dealing with. A caring bartender has always been a good source for bar patrons to discuss their problems with, so why not a chaplain?
“We’re simply going to be there to help anybody who wants it. Sometimes people really just want somebody they can talk to who is not going to be judgmental, but be sympathetic,” Kish told Patriot-News from the dining room of the Carlisle pub. “Some people may think this would be a strange place to find a chaplain. But we need to go where the people are.”
About five years ago, Kish and a few others became volunteer chaplains for two local police departments. He said he believes that putting chaplains where people’s lives are under stress can help.
I couldn’t agree more. We see a similar trend in many churches who are working to make their services more “seeker friendly” so they can be in a better position to reach the “unchurched” populations in the world.
While Pastor Kish states that the chaplains will not be there to evangelize, they in affect will still be evangelizing as they listen to and care for those who call upon them for help. In that process of listening and caring, I’m sure they will also have the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ which is one on one evangelism in its truest form.
Kish is starting out in one location to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. He then plans to expand the program to other venues in the Carlisle region.