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The Church and Craft Brewing

This video is not about drinking beer but something much bigger than that (think integrity, leadership, character, etc.). What do you think is the important message(s) behind this video? I wonder how it can speak to what the church should do well, and maybe highlight what some of them haven’t done so well.

For me, this eerily parallels how the church can present the gospel in America. What if you substituted “gospel” for beer in this piece? I’m sure it breaks down all over the place, but when I look around and see churches seeking merely to create crowds instead of disciples, offer good advice instead of Good News, run after what “sells” instead of first seeking what is right, lovely and true, this video is both inspiring and haunting. May the Church have as much integrity to what she offers the world as these craft brewers do in their offerings.

What are your thoughts? Any takers? What would be the adjuncts (e.g., corn) that some churches have substituted into the gospel message, thus taking away its power and purpose? How are Gospel-centered churches, in being missional, demonstrating what might be considered counter-intuitive by those around them?

And no, the answer isn’t: Real followers of Jesus refuse to compromise by abstaining from the tasteless, substandard offerings of Budweiser, Coors, Miller and other macrobreweries.

We already know that. 😉

Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

3 thoughts on “The Church and Craft Brewing”

  1. Jason Norcross

    I admire the passion that all of these craft brewers have. You see the same type of passion springing up in the small organic farms that supply farmer’s markets and community sponsered agriculture. I think this type of passion for your craft is fantastic and produces a better product. The success of these institutions is linked to a few things – typcially they are small to medium and they emphasize their connection to the local community. They also seem to be more collaborative within the company and between companies. I’d guess that the head guy at a craft brewery probably knows most of his employees. In the end, these companies won’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

    The difficulty is figuring out how to grow and maintain all of these qualities. If you look at a craft brew or an organic farm that has a national/international distribution, they almost always have to sacrifice something – localness first, knowledge of the employees, knowledge of the customers, then maybe quality of ingredients, then best practices. And one by one, these craft brewers become more like Bud and Coors and lose what made them special in the first place.

    I see some of the same challenges in the local church as it grows. A successful local church probably sprung out of the mission to get back to the gospel and not be encumbered by religion and bureaucracy. And yet, it seems that as a church grows, many of the these elements creep back in. It’s a challenge.

    In the end, it seems to indicate that beer, church and farms are best served in a local environment and that trying to increase your distribution beyond these boundaries often fails. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but there probably is a better way.

  2. So true, Jason. The local food and cafe movement is also catching on. It started with craft brewing, and it’s spreading to our food supply and restaurant industries. Although capitalism brings out the American creativity and variety, it also provides a breeding ground for greed, manipulation and dishonesty. The people are waking up to artificial everything – Gospel included. Delicious video to spread the word 😀

    I’ll toast my Shiner Smokehouse to that! Here’s to the innovation of mesquite smoked hops in my beer. Cheers!

  3. It seems to me the hardest thing to maintain in a growing modern non-denominational church is true community. Most if not all have gone to “home group” methods over traditional “Sunday School”. Unfortunately, I find that leaves out a LOT of people that truly desire the community. Our case in point, the home groups are typically during the week and last from 7-9 pm. We have a 7 yo, 5 yo, and 15 mo old. Even thought they provide child care (either in the home or at church) how do you justify sacrificing the rest your children need (especially on a school night) so you can spend time developing community. I truly believe the new churches that are outgrowing their physical plants so quickly will also rapidly outgrow their ability to minister, disciple, and equip their members for faithful community. I’m very fearful of what the future holds for this model of discipleship.

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